Later this fall, Apple will launch a brand new version of iPadOS that brings a bunch of new changes to its iconic tablet. Here’s everything that you’re getting, how to get it, and whether your iPad will be able to get it.
What are the new features?
The biggest change you’re going to see on your iPad is with apps. Apple is bringing a refined design language to the iPad, with sidebars, pull-down menus, and toolbars that look more like Mac apps than ever before.
Many of Apple’s own apps, including Photos, Music, Shortcuts, Voice Memos, Calendar, Notes, Files, Mail, and Contacts have new drag-and-drop sidebars that make navigation and organization easier, and streamlined toolbars in Files, Calendar, and other apps keep things simple. Also, you’ll see Mac-like popovers when doing things like picking emoji and pull-down menus that distill buttons down to a single tap.
Widgets took on greater prominence in iPadOS 13 when they were given a spot on the home screen, but in iPadOS 14 they’re getting even better. Just like in iOS 14, widgets on the iPad have been completely redesigned to be more versatile, informative, and intelligent. Widgets now come in multiple sizes so you can choose how much information to show, and a new gallery will help you discover new widgets, even if you haven’t installed the app yet.
In iPadOS 14, search is more like it is on the Mac. For one, it has a new compact design that lets you start search from anywhere—on the home screen or in an app—and doesn’t take over your whole screen. But far more importantly, search has been completely rebuilt, with better organization, typing suggestions, and strong when searching. You’ll be able to locate and launch apps quickly, call contacts, get answers, and find just about anything on your iPad no matter where it’s hiding.
Apple Pencil may be known as a drawing tool, but in iPadOS 14 it’s picking up some serious skills for writers too. Apple is enhancing Apple Pencil’s text capabilities by bringing the Apple Watch’s Scribble tech to the iPad for enhanced handwriting recognition and conversion in all text fields. So you can use your Apple Pencil as a primary input device now.
Scribble is more than a keyboard replacement, however. In addition to text conversion, you can scratch out something you’ve written to erase it, circle something to select it and copy or move it, and paste handwritten notes as if they were text. And on-board AI recognizes addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, and other data in handwritten text just like like it does with typed text so you can call someone after jotting down their number.
And Scribble isn’t just limited to text. Apple’s handwriting engine will also help you draw geometrically perfect lines, arcs, and shapes. So if you’re really bad at drawing, you can make something that kind of looks like a circle or a star or even an arrow, and and your iPad will convert it to its “ideal form.”
When you draw a shape with your Apple Pencil, the system will recognize it and make it “geometrically perfect,” while data detectors can distinguish phone numbers, dates, and addresses in your own handwriting. And you can also select words and sentences to move them or change the color all in your personal handwriting. You can also select handwritten notes as text and the coolest feature of all: scratch something out to delete it.
Like the Mac, Apple is bringing major enhancements to its browser on the iPad. Not only is it faster, but it's also easier to navigate. You can see more tabs at once thanks to its streamlined design, and active tabs are no longer blank. In iPadOS 14, favicons appear by default so you can quickly switch between them. You'll also be able to translate entire web pages with a tap ( English, Spanish, Chinese, French, German, Russian, or Brazilian Portuguese only), and you'll get an alert when one of your passwords might have been involved in a data breach. Then you can either change your password or switch to Sign in with Apple for tighter security.
Apple’s AR ambitions are literally laser-focused on the iPad with the iPad Pro’s new LiDAR Scanner, and it’s only getting more powerful in iPadOS 14. Apple’s new ARKit 4 is loaded with new APIs that will fuel the next generation of AR apps, including Depth, Location Anchors, Extended face tracking support and object occlusion, and video textures
What about iOS 14’s features?
Along with these specific features, the iPad is also getting many of the cool new features in iOS 14, including a compact interface for Siri and calls, App Clips, which let you start using an app without downloading it, and on-device dictation, which is speedier and more private than before. But you’re not getting everything. Most notably the App Library and Translate app aren’t making their way the the iPad, but you can find the full list of what you’re not getting here.
Which devices are supported?
If your iPad can run iOS 13, it’ll also be able to run iOS 14. Those devices include:
iPad Pro 12.9-inch (4th generation)
iPad Pro 11-inch (2nd generation)
iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd generation)
iPad Pro 11-inch (1st generation)
iPad Pro 12.9-inch (2nd generation)
iPad Pro 12.9-inch (1st generation)
iPad Pro 10.5-inch
iPad Pro 9.7-inch
iPad (7th generation)
iPad (6th generation)
iPad (5th generation)
iPad mini (5th generation)
iPad mini 4
iPad Air (3rd generation)
iPad Air 2
How can I get the iPadOS 14 beta?
Apple will release the iPadOS Public Beta in July. Once it lands, you can go to Apple’s Beta Software Program site on your iPad to sign up, download a new profile, and install it inside the Settings app. Then updates will arrive as they usually do via the Software Update tab, but you’ll get them far more often than usual. And once iPadOS arrives for everyone, you’ll continue to get betas unless you opt out.