Apple split iOS and iPadOS back in 2019 into two separate yet similar operating systems. It marked that tablets were different from phones and the upcoming updates developed tablet features exclusive to the larger display of the iPad. It includes most of the same features available for its iPhone counterpart and delivers excellent performance all-around. Some redesigned interfaces for Widgets and changes to Siri make up for a complete look and experience for the iPad.
However, iPadOS is missing the App Library, which was added to iOS 14. The feature is handy and provides an overview of all the apps you have installed. Some apps like Photos and Files have been improved with excellent changes and make iPadOS a unique, less intrusive experience. So, if you’re looking to get an iPad or already have one then, go through our guide to make your iPadOS journey the best it can ever be.
Which devices are supported with iPadOS?
iPadOS is no surprise supported for all iPads, including the upcoming 2021 iPad Pro lineup. The latest revision is iPadOS 14, which has a redesigned interface to improve productivity and make the display much more clutter-free. So read on to find out all the exciting features and tools that can make your experience a lot more seamless.
An Overview of what we’ll be looking at today
- iPadOS Review
- iPadOS UI
- Productivity and Design with iPadOS
- iPadOS Widgets
- Media with iPadOS
- iPadOS for Gaming
- Pros and Cons of iPadOS
1. iPadOS Overview
Apple’s tablet operating system improves what the iPad is based on – a large screen tablet for productivity and an impressive media experience. iPadOS provides you with smooth gestures and multitasking features and has improved features such as Apple Pencil integration and a mouse or trackpad. iPads and iPadOS are powerful enough (with caveats) to challenge laptops as a platform for productivity, and it shows with the inclusion of the M1 processor and the Magic Keyboard. The “Search” has improved, and it is now comparable to Spotlight on macOS. Siri also works better, takes less space, and Sidecar enhances productivity by making your iPad work as a secondary screen for your Macs.
The iPadOS is excellent and all, but we still feel that it could improve with more features, especially with the gestures. Don’t get us wrong, the motion for the gestures feels good; it’s the way you activate them needs tidying up. You see, the iPad comes with Split View and Slide Over, which helps you multitask, taking advantage of the massive display. However, the implementation feels like an afterthought, as many different things can happen depending on how you swipe up from the bottom. You may just close the app you’re on by swiping up too fast, or you may just run it full-screen instead of the “Slide Over” mode. There is no foolproof way to get to it, as you could in a desktop OS, and it is a tricky thing to learn for beginners. However, once you’re comfortable with the system, everything will feel amazing, as having multiple windows is helpful for things like moving files around or writing an email response while doing something entirely different on the other app.
In Short: we feel these are the primary takeaways from iPadOS:
- Faster and Better Multitasking with Slide Over and Split View
- Improved productivity features such as Sidecar
- Support for essential accessories like the Magic Keyboard
- Impressive performance with the M1 chip
The iPad brings many features and functions to the table, and the following points below make that much more apparent than ever.
2. iPadOS UI
Apple has made several design changes to the iPad’s UI over the years. Essentially, it all boils down to providing a better and smoother experience. This means that interface elements take less space and are only in use when you need them. For example, Siri no longer needs to take up the entire massive screen and instead just pops up on the bottom corner of your iPad, making it much more space-optimized and efficient. Similarly, Music and Notes change their placement are much more space-optimized. It has also made multi-tasing a better and more friendly experience. The larger display also means that the icons and UI elements are more significant, and you can pin tabs in separate halves of the display and use both simultaneously, effectively using the large panel.
This compact and efficient design shift helps the iPad feel less like the iPhone and presents a much more complete system. It’s an extension of the changes and updates that we started seeing with the introduction of iPadOS 13. The ability to pin widgets, the compact Siri, the compact phone call design, and more all point at a faster and much more compatible tablet OS. In a way, software and tools like search and the app design were refined for the larger display, and much of iPadOS 14 hinges on improvements to existing iPhone experiences.
In Short: you would be greeted with these features and aesthetics:
- Better Optimization for a larger display
- Widgets, apps, and notes pinning
- Siri takes up a small space on the screen
- Designing and Productivity apps like Word or Photoshop feel much more natural
This lands us the right to the third point for productivity and design.
3. Productivity and Design with iPadOS
Productivity and design with iPads are incredible and are much more relatable with Magic Keyboard and Apple Pen owners. This allows them to efficiently and effectively use apps like Word, Notes, and Sketch. The keyboard will enable you to type quickly without issues (essentially making it a laptop replacement for some people). The Pencil makes for a smooth sketching experience, and you could also use it to take notes which makes it perfect for students stuck with online classes due to the pandemic. The newer iPads also bring in a LIDAR sensor which helps map 3D environments and structures, which will be great for designers and creative professionals alike.
However, if you’re not getting any accessories and we can understand, the prices are ridiculous. You can still get a lot more work done on your iPad than your iPhone. The bigger screen allows for faster data research, and the on-screen keyboard helps you get mails done faster. Notes are also incredibly well designed and can help you make to-do lists, and the templates are perfect for school. Scribble is also built into the Notes app and allows you to write anywhere and save it as a note for further use. The larger display also allows you to display a lot more content, making stuff like reading ebooks a breeze and delivers a lovely overall media experience.
In Short: the following features and accessories make iPads a productivity beast:
- Magic Keyboard for an excellent typing experience (Word and Notes)
- Apple Pencil for drawing, sketching, and jotting down stuff (Sketch and Photoshop)
- Large display for multitasking and quick and easy typing with the on-screen keyboard
- LIDAR for 3D designers and editing tools
- Templates for Notes and optimized software for apps such as Music and ebook readers
4. iPadOS Widgets
The redesigned and improved widgets of iPadOS provide more data than before, and several widgets like the Weather and News widget update at regular intervals to keep you up to date with the world. All of the new widgets from Apple and other third-party apps can quickly be viewed in the Widget Gallery. This can be located by long pressing on the display and then tapping the “+” button, which will land you on a page full of widgets. The widgets come in small, medium, and large sizes, which provide more information depending on the size, and the location is also customizable, making it more personalized than ever before.
You can also stack up to 10 widgets on top of one another, helping you utilize space better and provides an option to swipe between them to access other widgets. Apple has also included a “Smart Stack” tool that uses machine learning and AI to predict the most relevant widget based on the person’s time, user activity, and location. This is also baked in with apps and recommends the perfect app for what you’re doing. In our testing, we noticed that the feature worked great, and it recommends apps such as Maps while driving and YouTube at the dinner table.
In Short: the Widgets are much more defined and provide features such as:
- Fast real-time updates with news
- Easy and compact integration
- AI and Machine Learning for prediction
- Quick access to multiple apps
5. Media with iPadOS
As we already know, the largest iPad, the 12.9-inch variant, is basically comparable to a small laptop in the display size and performance. This helps iPads become a great media machine with touch support for easy access to Netflix, YouTube, and Spotify. You could download and watch movies and listen to songs on the go or stream on the cellular network. It’s all up to you, and you can customize your preferences for an easy and seamless experience. The large display also comes in handy with managing files and photos, as you can see and select many more than the iPhone.
The upcoming iPad Pro will also come with a Mini-LED display panel which is comparable and a little better than most OLED displays on the market. This ensures that you would get fantastic colors, contrast, and saturation levels, and the cherry on top is the support it will bring for HDR. HDR lets your movies and videos shine with sharp tones and resolution-making your media experience that much better. If you ever feel that you need to get some reading done, the large panels help that too by displaying a lot more content with no ads in the “Reading Mode” available on all iPadOS 14 equipped devices.
In Short: you should expect the following features:
- Brilliant colors and saturation
- Impressive contrast and brightness levels
- Instant streaming with Netflix and Spotify
- Amazing sharpness and clarity
- HDR support for future-proofing and upcoming HDR content
6. iPadOS for Gaming
iPads have always been the champs with gaming, and as the pandemic has made people approach more and more games, the iPads have consistently delivered on all the promises. But wait, there is a lot more that is coming that you wouldn’t have expected. The new iPad Pro lineup has an M1 chip in it which with iPadOS 14 breaks all graphs and records and makes high-end gaming a much better alternative. It also has a USB-C Thunderbolt port, allowing you to connect your keyboard and mouse to make it a fully-fledged gaming machine.
Games such as Genshin Impact and PubG have revolutionized the mobile gaming industry and made it much more accessible to a lot more players. However, if you don’t have a USB-C equipped iPad, you could still connect your controllers with Bluetooth and play all the games present on the device. Microsoft and Google are also working on game streaming applications such as X-Box Game Pass (X-Cloud) and Stadia, making iPads an excellent gaming machine that can play PC games. So, if gaming is a high-priority feature in your list, give the iPads a shot.
[ Related: Best iPad and iPad Accessories for Gaming ]
In Short: this is all you need to know about Gaming on iPad:
- PubG and Genshin Impact has changed the mobile/portable gaming industry
- M1 iPads are phenomenal and can play any game at the highest graphics
- Game streaming services such as X-Cloud and Stadia are bringing PC games to mobile devices
- Controllers can be connected via Bluetooth
- USB-C port allows you to connect your keyboard and mouse for a full-fledged gaming experience
7. Pros and Cons of iPadOS
- Has improved UI changes
- Streamlined for the large display
- Gaming, Productivity, and Entertainment at it’s best
- Supports trackpads, mouse, and Thunderbolt devices
- Rough gesture controls
- Sidecar needs you to own a recent Mac and iPad
- Limited by the OS compatibility
- It can amount to an expensive purchase with everything included
iPadOS is not much different than your regular iPhone OS, but it has some quirks that make the experience much more satisfying and better to use. You could enable high-fidelity gaming to make your day marvelous or use the built-in productivity tools to bring that new spark to your work life. So, try out the features and apps mentioned above to make your iPad experience much better and utilize all that it can deliver.