The first release of iPadOS 16 for the iPad, iPadOS 16.1, arrived on Monday, October 24, and it’s a big update. Along with iOS 16 features including editing sent Messages and Passkeys, many new iPad-only features are coming as well to help Apple’s tablet progress from being a bigger version of the iPhone to its own device.
That progress comes with some compromises, however, the main one being that some of the new features will work only on iPads that use an M1 or M2 chip instead of an A-series processor. In other words, you’ll need one of the newest iPad Pros or the latest iPad Air to run several new iPadOS 16.1 features—and some have even more stringent requirements. Here’s a look at the features that require an M1 or M2 processor or other hardware requirements.
Stage Manager is a new multitasking UI and the premier feature of iPadOS 16.1. Apple originally said it requires an M1 iPad, however, it recently softened those restrictions so that it now can work on iPad Pros that use A12X (2018) and A12Z (2020) chips. However, those A-series iPad Pros will still not be able to run Stage Manager on an external display, and it sounds as if Apple has no plans to make it work in a later update.
External display support
External display support works on iPad Pros with an M1 or M2, and it will work at resolutions up to 6K. Apps will be accessible through the external display, drag and drop will function between the display and the iPad Pro, and Stage Manager is supported. However, Apple recently announced that full external display support will not be available when iPadOS 16.1 is released. Instead, it will be included in an iPadOS 16 update later this year.
Reference mode, a feature on M-series Macs, is the ability to display reference color, which is needed in high-end production environments. iPadOS 16.1 has a new Reference mode as well, but it requires a Liquid Retina XDR display, which is only available on the 12.9-inch iPad Pro.
Magnifier Detection Mode and Door Detection
Magnifier in iPadOS 16.1 will have an Accessibility feature called Detection Mode, which provides descriptions of doors, people, and images. Door Detection goes further and can read signs around a door, as well as figure out how to open it. To use these new detection tools, you’ll need a 4th-, 5th- or 6th-generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro or a 2nd-, 3rd-, or 4th-generation 11-inch iPad Pro with an A12Z, M1, or M2 processor.
Virtual memory swap
This feature allows the M1 and M2-based iPads to allocate SSD storage space for use as RAM, up to 16GB. However, to use this feature on an M1 iPad Air, the device needs to have at least 256GB of storage. The iPad Pros don’t have such a restriction.