iPad OS 15 Promises Multitasking That Doesn’t Suck, Also Better Widgets

Tim Cook standing in Apple HQ next to iPadOS 15 sign
Apple

In Apple’s recent WWDC event, it formally announced iPadOS 15 along with several new features that promise to improve the overall user experience, like more robust widgets, Quick Notes, split screen, and a highly-improved Multitasking experience.

All of the new features are designed to help you do more and do to things easily and quickly. Count on improved organization, increased productivity, and more.

Widgets and App Library

Now, you can place a widget anywhere among your apps on your home screen, not just off to the side. The iPhone gained this feature last year with iOS 14, but now iPad users can take advantage of it. You can add a widget from the gallery and move it around the screen then place it exactly where you want it to be; any app icons that are in the place of the widget will automatically move out of the way.

There’s a new larger widget format that works better for iPads, measuring four by two, which is perfect for widgets for the likes of photos, gaming, AppleTV, and even Files. The App Library is also rolling out here, bringing the functionality to iPad users. It’ll help keep your home screen neat and clutter-free by allowing you to hide apps you rarely use or no longer need in an automatically categorized folder. It’ll also be located in the dock, which is nice, and you can reorder your screens on the App Switcher page.

Multitasking and Split View

The Multitasking feature received a major overhaul. A new control panel is available with the tap of a finger at the top of any app, which will reveal the Multitasking menu. You can use an app in full screen, or two apps at the same time in Split View. The Slide Over feature lets you scoot an app over to the edge of the display in Split View lets you view the home screen where you’ll be able to pick a second app to use. You can also switch out an app without leaving Split View as needed.

You can touch and hold to bring a note or attachment to the center of your screen without leaving your current Split View setup, as well. This is perfect for when you’re in Mail, for example, and you can still access the Multitasking menu from there as well.

The new Shelf feature that allows you to see every app you have open. Swiping down on an app to minimize it, and it will stay in Shelf until you want to use it again. If you consider the M1 chip on the new iPads, this is a truly terrific feature, as it can keep a ton of apps open at a time so you don’t have to keep closing and opening them.

Previously, if you wanted to open an app that wasn’t in Multitasking (and that wasn’t in your dock) you’d have to open that app, swipe up into Multitasking, and then long-press that app and drag it into the Multitasking view. This update really makes juggling multiple tasks much easier now, especially since you can create a new Split View window from the App Switcher page.

View of lots of the new iPadOS 15 features
Apple

Notes

The notes app just got even better. Now you can add mentions, which lets you tag a person in a collaborative document. This will send them a notification that’ll link back to the document so they can see exactly what you need them to take a look at. You can also add tags to a note, and use the tag browser to quickly find a specific word.

Quick Notes is the big ticket feature for Notes, however, and it makes taking a quick note on your iPad a cinch. All you have to do is swipe up from the corner of the screen with your Apple Pencil and a small notepad that resembles a sticky note appears. It’s perfect for jotting down a phone number or appointment info while on a call, plus you can just swipe it away when you’re done and it will be saved.

Quick Notes is also app-aware, allowing for information from the other primary app you’re using to be copied and pasted. So, if you’re in Safari, you can add a page’s URL to your note or you can highlight and add text to your note with just a few taps. What’s more all of your Quick Notes are saved to Notes; simply open up that app to see all of your notes in one place no matter whether you’re on your iPad or Mac.

Translate

Translate is available on the iPad now, and it can even be used in Split View. The new Live Translate feature makes it easier to talk with people around the world while maintaining a natural conversational flow. Systemwide translation also allows you to translate text anywhere—just select text and tap translate.

Swift Playground

Now you can build iPad apps directly on your iPad using Swift UI. You’ll have full access to UI components and documentation, and there’s even a guide for new learners creating their first app. You can run your app in full screen on the device, and once it’s ready, you can even submit it directly to the App Store.

Suzanne Humphries Suzanne Humphries
Suzanne Humphries is the Commerce Editor for Review Geek. She has over six years of experience across multiple publications researching and testing products, as well as writing and editing news, reviews, and how-to articles covering software, hardware, entertainment, networking, electronics, gaming, apps, security, finance, and small business. Read Full Bio »

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