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iPadOS 15 new features, and what will change on your iPad

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iPadOS 15 is now accessible to iPad users. You can actually upgrade to iPadOS 15.6, with iPadOS 16 on the horizon.

The new iPadOS is a sister update to iOS 15. It has many of the same features as the iPhone operating system but includes a few extras to make the most out of the tablet’s form factor.

iPadOS 15 enhances iPadOS14 features and adds some new features that are curiously absent in the 2020 update. We’ve provided a brief guide for how to update your iPad.

We have listed all major updates in iPadOS 15 along with those in iPadOS 15.1 through iPadOS15.6.

Let’s get to the point

  • What is it? It is the third version of iPadOS, an iPad operating system.
  • When was it published? September 20
  • What is the cost of it? It’s completely free

iPadOS 15 Release Date

Apple announced the iPad (2021), and iPad mini (2021), at the September 14th, 2021 event.

We’ve had a number of smaller updates since then, with iPadOS 15.6 (a July 2022 release) being the most recent. This could be the last update before iPadOS 16.

To get the most recent version of iPadOS, go to Settings > General > Software update.

iPadOS supported devices

Apple has confirmed that iPadOS 15 will be available for ‘iPad mini 4, iPad Air 2, and later, iPad Air 3 and later’, iPad 5th Generation and later and all iPad Pro models. What does this mean? All the iPads below are:

  • iPad Pro (2015) / Pro (2017) / Pro (2018) / Pro (2020) / Pro (2021)
  • iPad Air 2 / Air 3 / Air 4
  • iPad (2017)/ (2018)/ (2019/ (2020)
  • iPad Mini (2015) / Mini (2019)

This is also true for all iPadOS 15.x releases. All devices will be able get iPadOS 15.6.

iPadOS 15 features

Many of the new iPadOS 15 features were actually iOS 14 features that have been rejigged. We’ve highlighted some of the most important changes to your iPad below.

iPadOS 15 widgets

iOS 14 added widgets, but they were not locked to the home screen in the panel on the left. This was not the case with iPhones and made it difficult to use the iPad widgets.

This has been changed in iPadOS 15. You can now place widgets anywhere you like. Widgets are available for many apps, including Contacts, Find My and Mail. Additionally, widgets come in different sizes.

Two examples were shown: a Photos app, which shows you small snippets from the photos you have taken, and a Files widget, which is quite large, so you can view many files simultaneously.

iPadOS 15 App Library

The App Library is an iOS 14 feature we finally have on iPadOS. It is a menu that allows you to list all of your apps on a separate screen. This is similar to the Android app drawer.

You can also organize your apps into categories. This is a great way to organize your tools if you are a messy person. Filing your apps by function or frequency of usage will help you keep your tools organized.

To access the app library on iPhones, you must swipe down from your home scree to reach it. However, you can easily bring it up from any page with the dock on iPads.

iPadOS 15 multitasking

Multitasking is another ‘new’ feature, but it isn’t really new. You can double-screen apps and leave them to the side when you aren’t using them.

This is not how it differs from the current split screen feature. The’shelf’, or list of apps you can swap between while multitasking, was already present in previous iPadOS builds.

Split-screen can be enabled in a different way. Instead of drag and dropping apps, you can use a separate menu at top of screen to toggle between Slide Over or Split View.

Split View now has quick access to its home screen. You can also use keyboard shortcuts for switching between Split View or Slide Over.

iPadOS 15 Notes app

It sounds like the iOS Notes app is now Google Docs. You can tag people to documents and see revision history.

Another improvement is the ability of quickly bringing up a Quick Note using the Apple Pencil. This allows you to easily draw a note or write down ideas.

This app can be used while another app is open on the main screen. You can then copy data from that app, such as the URL of a site, from the app you’re currently using.

You can also tag notes in new ways. This means that you can categorize notes and then find them using a new feature called Tag Browser.

iPadOS 15: New apps and other features

Apple’s Translate app is available to iPhones. It works in the same way as Google Translate, but it’s made by Apple.

This app will soon be available for iPadOS. It allows you to convert text and spoken words between different languages. Other apps can also be used to translate, such as emails in foreign languages. Auto Translate will automatically detect the language spoken by an individual and translate it to English without you having to press a button.

FaceTime offers many improvements. The most notable is SharePlay, which allows you to listen together to music over Apple Music and watch TV shows in sync with shared playback controls.

It’s a bit like Netflix Party, which many people used during the Covid-19 lockdowns 2020. However, it’s only available for Apple devices as well as through company services such streaming platforms.

The new Live Text feature recognizes text in photos and allows you take the appropriate action such as calling a number shown in the photo or translating it. This works in conjunction with Visual Look Up which can identify objects within a photo.

Safari updates include a new tab design and Tab Groups for managing and saving tabs.

A new Focus tool is also available. This allows you to block notifications and focus on specific tasks. You might want to ensure that Facebook doesn’t ping you while you work. You can customize this to filter out notifications you don’t wish to be distracted from.

Additionally, notifications summary works in the same way as iOS 15 and will group specific notifications at the times you select. Are you getting too many notifications at work? This can be done with iPadOS 15.

Swift Playgrounds 4 allows you to create your own apps directly from your tablet. You can seamlessly switch between an iPad or Mac using a single mouse. Memories in Photos now has a new look with personalized song suggestions. Maps also features new details and privacy tools.

iPadOS 15.1: SharePlay

SharePlay was the new headline feature in iPadOS 15.1. This feature allows you to stream TV shows and movies, or listen to music while making FaceTime calls. It also makes it possible to keep the content in sync with everyone.

iPadOS 15.2

iPadOS 15.2 offers a few small improvements and features, including an App Privacy Report feature. This allows you to easily see how frequently apps use the permissions that you have granted them.

You can also use the Legacy Contacts feature to assign someone access to your Apple ID and iCloud account, as well as iPad data, after your death. You can also make smaller changes, which we will discuss in our iOS guide. They are the same for iPad and iPhone.

iPadOS 15.3

iPadOS 15.3 was an update that was small and focused on security updates and bug fixes. It was well worth downloading but did not add any new features.

iPadOS 15.4: Universal Control

Universal Control is now available in iPadOS 15.4. Users can connect their iPad to a Mac to use the iPad’s display as an extension of the Mac’s, using one keyboard and mouse to control both devices.

iPadOS 15.4: Other changes

While there are many other changes to iPadOS version 15.4, they are largely the same ones as what we have seen on iOS 15.4 for iPhone. For more information, please visit our iOS 15.4 Guide.

iPadOS 15.5: Apple Podcasts Improvement

iPadOS 15.5 has very little, but there are some changes. One is the new Apple Podcasts setting that allows you to limit the number of episodes on your iPad and delete any older ones.

iPadOS 15.6: a TV update

iPadOS 15.6 is another minor update. It includes bug fixes and the ability to fast-forward/rewind, pause or restart any live sports games currently being played from the TV app.

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