iPadOS 16 brings desktop multitasking to Apple's tablets - a laptop replacement at last?

iPadOS 16 Stage Manager
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple's dominance in the tablet market is completely unquestioned, but it isn't resting on its laurels and continues to push the platform forward with a series of new features coming in iPadOS 16 announced today at WWDC 2022.

By far the biggest of these announcements is a dramatic change to multitasking, a feature that has held back the iPad for many power users that would love to rely on the iPad, iPad or iPad Pro as a true laptop replacement. Here's a look at how the new multitasking works along with the other highlights that iPad owners will receive this fall.

New collaboration features will allow you to instantly start working on shared documents or files by simply sharing in Messages from the share sheet. You can also trigger a FaceTime call with everyone in the group directly from the document. The new collaboration features are available in Notes, Safari and more with an API opening up support to 3rd party apps.


Apple also gave us a sneak peek at a new app for iPadOS 16, Freeform. It's another collaboration tool that acts as an endless whiteboard that you can share with your colleagues and use as a project management tool. More information on Freeform will be coming this fall.

iPadOS 16 Reference Mode

(Image credit: Apple)

Reference Mode

Apple is enabling a new Reference Mode that will help to ensure that your iPad display is perfect for content creation on the go by allowing you to match the color to your MacBook Pro, iMac or Studio Display.

Stage Manager

Stage Manager is the new multitasking paradigm for iPadOS 16. It allows you to resize windows, overlap windows on one another and arrange them exactly how you want them. Plug your iPad into an external display and you have a powerful desktop experience.


Sean Riley

Sean Riley has been covering tech professionally for over a decade now. Most of that time was as a freelancer covering varied topics including phones, wearables, tablets, smart home devices, laptops, AR, VR, mobile payments, fintech, and more.  Sean is the resident mobile expert at Laptop Mag, specializing in phones and wearables, you'll find plenty of news, reviews, how-to, and opinion pieces on these subjects from him here. But Laptop Mag has also proven a perfect fit for that broad range of interests with reviews and news on the latest laptops, VR games, and computer accessories along with coverage on everything from NFTs to cybersecurity and more.