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Opinion: Stage Manager on iPad doesn’t deliver on promise (iPadOS 16)

It’s one of the great new features of iPadOS 16: Stage Manager on your iPad. Yet we (and others) are not entirely convinced. Read why in this article.

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Apple bets on multitasking with Stage Manager

Just like your iPhone with iOS 16, your iPad will receive a major update to iPadOS 16 this fall. In this new version of the operating system, Apple is fully committed to multitasking. This makes your iPad even more of a computer. This is mainly due to the new Stage Manager feature. This makes multitasking a lot easier.

However, we find several things very unfortunate about Stage Manager. In this article, read our take on Stage Manager on the iPad after more than a month of use. Apple reportedly wants to take some more time to develop iPadOS, and Stage Manager is there for a reason. So there may be improvements to come.

How does Stage Manager work for your iPad?

Stage Manager makes it possible to use multiple apps at the same time. This makes your iPad a step less of a ‘big iPhone’ and the Apple tablet comes closer to, for example, a MacBook. Especially if you use it in combination with a Magic Keyboard.

If you have an app open, the iPad immediately ensures that it is displayed centrally in the screen. The apps that you (temporarily) do not use are shown on the left of the screen. With a click on an app on the sidelines you open it. This way you can easily open them again.

You can also open a larger app window. The rest of the apps will then remain in the background. Thus it is possible to easily drag files between the windows. In addition, you can create groups of apps that you always use in combination with each other. However, the functionalities of Stage Manager on the iPad take a bit of getting used to.

Stage Manager iPad m1

Why Stage Manager is a bit disappointing

Our first (and biggest disappointment) is that Stage Manager is only available on the iPad Pro 2021 and iPad Air 2022. These two new models have an M1 chip on board and support a special option called ‘Memory Swap’. Unfortunately, other iPads cannot do this. Unfortunately, both of these iPads are on the pricey side. That makes this cool function inaccessible for the majority of users.

In addition, the interface of Stage Manager feels a bit awkward. We get it; Apple wants to make the iPad its own product. It’s not a MacBook and it’s not an iPhone. That is why the controls must also be idiosyncratic.

However, Stage Manager also makes the interface often feel chaotic and cumbersome. Apple is often known for an intuitive interface, but Stage Manager on the iPad doesn’t fit in seamlessly. For example, apps open automatically in a thumbnail view. If you have a page full screen If you want to open it, it takes just a little too much effort. Grouping different apps is also often an obstacle rather than providing relief.

stage manager on ipad mini

Fortunately, we are not the only ones with these concerns

Fortunately, we are not the only ones who noticed this. Recently, a video was released by renowned tech journalist Marques Brownlee (MKBHD), who voiced our concerns in a little more detail. He talks about the fact that the new possibility to connect an iPad to a second screen is great.

It is then disappointing that with Stage Manager on the iPad you cannot easily move the tabs to the second screen. No, you have to tap a few times on the iPad to open a menu to get your app on your second display. When you close the iPad, your second display also turns off. This one clamshellfunction we find extremely useful with the MacBook.

The iPad's Odd New Feature

In addition, Brownlee also talks about the integration of iPhone apps on the iPad. If you really need to make the iPad its own product, you should also require apps like Instagram to make a special iPad app. In Stage Manager on the iPad, this Instagram app has been reduced to a mini screen and doesn’t work seamlessly with the other apps on the sidelines. It is often “overshadowed” by the other Stage Manage apps.

iPad OS 16

Here’s even more new in iPadOS 16

Stage Manager is not all doom and gloom. Maybe we just need to get used to it a little longer. Fortunately, Apple unveiled many more cool features with iPadOS 16! This new software version focuses on collaborating with others. For example, you can work together on a document. This doesn’t require clunky invite links, just one button press.

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