iPad gets more intuitive multitasking, a new Home Screen design with integrated widgets, the App Library, systemwide note taking with Quick Note, SharePlay, a redesigned Safari experience, and new tools to stay focused
Apple today previewed iPadOS 15, with new features that take advantage of the unique capabilities of iPad, helping users be more productive and taking the versatility of iPad even further. iPadOS 15 introduces a multitasking experience that is even more intuitive, making features like Split View and Slide Over easier to discover, easier to use, and more powerful. Notes goes systemwide with Quick Note, and offers new ways to collaborate and organize whether typing or writing with Apple Pencil. New widget layouts for the Home Screen and App Library offer simple ways to personalize the iPad experience and organize apps. Translate delivers new features for translating text and conversations, and users can now build apps for iPhone and iPad, on iPad, with Swift Playgrounds. iPadOS 15 also includes new privacy controls in Siri, Mail, and more places across the system to further protect user information.
“We’re excited to make the iPad experience even better with iPadOS 15,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering. “With more intuitive multitasking, a new Home Screen design with integrated widgets and the App Library, systemwide note taking with Quick Note, Translate designed for iPad, SharePlay, a redesigned Safari experience, new tools to stay focused, and more, users can now be even more productive.”
Get More Done with Multitasking and Keyboard Shortcuts
iPadOS 15 makes working with multiple apps easier than ever. A new multitasking menu appears at the top of apps, letting users go into Split View or Slide Over with just a tap. Users now have quick access to the Home Screen when using Split View, making it easier to get to the right app. Using the new shelf, they can also multitask with apps that have multiple windows like Safari and Pages, as well as quickly preview emails.
The experience with an external keyboard allows users to get more done with all-new keyboard shortcuts and a redesign of the menu bar. Users can quickly set up and switch between Split View and Slide Over with new shortcuts for multitasking right from the keyboard.
Organize and Personalize iPad with Widgets and the App Library
Users can now place widgets among apps on Home Screen pages, providing more information at a glance and offering a more personalized experience. Designed specifically for the larger display of iPad, a new, larger widget size is perfect for showcasing videos, music, games, photos, and more. iPadOS 15 also brings all-new widgets for App Store, Find My, Game Center, Mail, and Contacts.
Also coming to iPad is the App Library, automatically organizing apps into helpful categories like Productivity, Games, and Recently Added, and allowing users to access all their apps right from the Dock.
Capturing Thoughts with Quick Note and Organizing with Tags
Note taking on iPad gets even better with new features that make it easier to capture and organize thoughts. Notes goes systemwide with Quick Note, a fast and easy way to take notes anywhere across the system. Whether browsing in Safari or finding a restaurant on Yelp, users can bring up Quick Note anywhere to jot down a thought and add links, providing an easy way to get back to exactly what they were looking at.
Notes also has new ways to organize, collaborate, and capture information. Tags make it easy to categorize notes and find them quickly with an all-new Tag Browser and tag-based Smart Folders. For users working with others in shared notes, mentions create a way to notify collaborators and link them back to the note, and a new Activity view shows recent updates in the note.
More Natural FaceTime Calls and Shared Experiences with SharePlay
FaceTime helps users easily connect with those who matter most, and with iPadOS 15, conversations with friends and family feel even more natural. Users can now share experiences with SharePlay while connecting with friends on FaceTime, including listening to songs together with Apple Music, watching a TV show or movie in sync, or sharing their screen to view apps together. Shared playback controls let anyone play, pause, or jump ahead. Users can extend playback to Apple TV, and watch it on their TV while sharing the moment with friends and family connected over FaceTime. SharePlay also lets users share their screen, perfect for browsing the web together.
A Redesigned Browsing Experience with Safari
Safari gets a new tab design that lets users see more of the page as they browse. A new tab bar takes on the color of the webpage and combines tabs, the toolbar, and the search field into a single, compact design. Tab Groups offer a new way to easily save and manage tabs — great for planning trips, shopping, or storing frequently visited tabs. Tab Groups also sync across Mac and iPhone, so users can continue their project from anywhere or easily share them with friends and family. Safari on iPad also now supports web extensions, available from the App Store.
Tools to Find Focus
iPadOS 15 delivers powerful tools that help users focus and reduce distractions. Focus is a new feature that filters notifications based on what a user is doing. Users can set their device to help them be in the moment by creating a custom Focus or selecting a suggested one based on their context, like during their work hours or while they’re winding down for bed. Users can also create Home Screen pages with apps and widgets that apply to moments of focus to only display relevant apps and reduce temptation.
A new notification summary offers an organized collection of notifications that can be delivered any time the user chooses, such as in the morning and evening, making it easy to catch up on the day’s activity at their convenience.
On-Device Intelligence Powers New Photo Features
Live Text uses on-device intelligence to recognize text in a photo and allow users to take action.1 For example, a snapshot of a storefront may reveal a phone number and the option to place a call. With Visual Look Up, users can identify objects within a photo, such as a type of flower or dog breed.
Spotlight now adds the ability to search the Photos app and web images, and has all-new rich results for contacts with context like recent conversations, shared photos, and their location if shared through Find My. Leveraging Live Text, Spotlight makes it easy to look up a photo of a public transit map, receipt, or a screenshot of a cooking recipe. Live Text also works with handwritten text — great for searching photos of whiteboards or notes.
Translate Comes to iPad with New Ways to Communicate
The Translate app comes to iPad with new features that make conversations easier and more natural. When using the Translate app, Auto Translate detects when someone is speaking, and in which language, so users can converse naturally without having to tap a microphone button. For even more personal conversations, face-to-face view allows two people to sit across from each other with iPad between them and see translations of the conversation from their own side. Text can now be translated anywhere on iPad by selecting it and tapping Translate, and handwritten text can also be translated. In combination with Live Text, users can even translate text in photos.
Build Apps with Swift Playgrounds
Swift Playgrounds is the best and easiest way to learn how to code. And now with Swift Playgrounds 4,2 users have the tools to build iPhone and iPad apps right on their iPad and submit them directly to the App Store, offering new ways for anyone to create apps and share them with the world.3 Code is immediately reflected in the live preview while building apps, and users can run their apps full screen to test them out. A new open project format based on Swift packages can open and be edited in Swift Playgrounds for iPad as well as within Xcode on Mac, offering users even more versatility to develop apps across iPad and Mac.
Additional iPadOS 15 Features
- Universal Control lets users work with a single mouse and keyboard to move between iPad and Mac for a seamless experience, with no setup required. Users can even drag and drop content back and forth between devices — great for sketching a drawing with Apple Pencil on iPad and placing it into a Keynote slide on Mac.
- Shared with You works across the system to find the articles, music, TV shows, photos, and more that are shared in Messages conversations, and conveniently surfaces them in apps like Photos, Safari, Apple News, Music, Podcasts, and the Apple TV app, making it easy to quickly access the information in context.
- Photos includes the biggest update ever to Memories, with a fresh, new look; an immersive, interactive interface; and integration with Apple Music, which uses on-device intelligence to personalize song suggestions that bring memories to life.
- Maps delivers new ways to navigate and explore the world. Users will experience significantly enhanced details in cities for neighborhoods, commercial districts, elevation, and buildings, new road colors and labels, custom-designed landmarks, and a new night-time mode with a moonlit glow.
- Privacy is taken to the next level with new protections, transparency features, and controls. Mail Privacy Protection helps stop trackers from snooping on an email, and App Privacy Report provides transparency into how apps are sharing information with other companies.4
- Siri is designed to protect user privacy. Now, with on-device speech recognition, audio of Siri requests is processed entirely on iPad by default,5 and performance improves significantly. Siri also adds Announce Notifications on AirPods, the ability for users to share what’s on their screen just by asking, and more.
- iCloud+ combines everything users love about iCloud with new premium features, including Hide My Email, expanded HomeKit Secure Video support, and an innovative new internet privacy service, iCloud Private Relay, at no additional cost.6 Current iCloud subscribers will be upgraded to iCloud+ automatically this fall. All iCloud+ plans can be shared with people in the same Family Sharing group, so everyone can enjoy the new features, storage, and elevated experience that comes with the service.
- New accessibility features are designed to work the way users do. The VoiceOver screen reader now uses on-device intelligence to explore objects within images, enabling users to discover more details about the people, text, table data, and other objects within images. Support for third-party eye-tracking hardware enables users to control iPad using only their eyes. Background sounds play continuously and mix into or duck under other audio and system sounds to mask unwanted environmental or external noise, and help users focus, stay calm, or rest. Sound Actions lets users customize Switch Control to work with mouth sounds. Users can now customize display and text size on an app-by-app basis.
The developer preview of iPadOS 15 is available to Apple Developer Program members at developer.apple.com starting today, and a public beta will be available to iPadOS users next month at beta.apple.com. New software features will be available this fall as a free software update for iPad mini 4 and later, iPad Air 2 and later, iPad 5th generation and later, and all iPad Pro models. For more information, visit apple.com/ipados/ipados-preview. Features are subject to change. Some features may not be available in all regions or all languages.
- Live Text: Live camera feature will be coming to iPad in an update later this fall.
- Swift Playgrounds 4 will be available for iPadOS later in the year. The Mac version will be available in early 2022.
- Developer program membership is required.
- App Privacy Report will arrive as part of a software update to iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and watchOS 8.
- Available on iPhone and iPad with A12 Bionic and later. Requires download of speech models. Audio is sent to Apple servers if user opts in to Improve Siri and Dictation.
- iCloud+ plans: 50GB with one HomeKit Secure Video camera ($0.99 per month), 200GB with up to five HomeKit Secure Video cameras ($2.99 per month), and 2TB with an unlimited number of HomeKit Secure Video cameras ($9.99 per month).