Apple’s iPadOS 14 update for the iPad, iPad Air, iPad Mini and iPad Pro brings the iPad closer to the Mac without losing what makes the iPad unique. These are the features you should try out on iPadOS 1
The widget layout on the home screen is the same on iOS 14, but there are new widgets to check out. Swipe right on the home screen to access them. You can also pin them to the sidebar.
The process of adding widgets and the different types available are also different. You can now add small, medium or large versions of the same widgets. To start, just tap and hold an empty area on the home screen, then tap the plus sign (+).
The widgets you use on your iPhone home screen can also be accessed on your iPad. You can get started with these 10 great widgets.
RELATED: 10 great iPhone home screen widgets to get you started
With iPadOS 14, the operating system design is maturing. With the Spotlight-style universal search, the iPad acts more like a Mac and in this particular case, that’s a good thing!
Whenever you press Command + Space or swipe down on the home screen, you will see the new universal search bar.
Here you can type a search for anything, and it will search the web too! App results are immediately highlighted – just hit Enter to open one. You can do the same for any website you have previously visited.
RELATED: Open apps, websites, and shortcuts from Search on iPhone and iPad
Write in any text box
iPadOS 14 also brings the Apple Pencil more to the fore. If you’re a fan and prefer to write rather than type, you’ll love the new Scribble feature.
This function allows you to write in any text box. Just tap on a text box with the Apple Pencil (not your finger) and a little pencil icon will appear. Write whatever you want and it will be converted into typed text.
You can select text by circling it. Deleting something you’ve written is as easy as scraping it away. For more information on customizing and using the Scribble feature, check out our guide.
RELATED: How to write in text boxes with your Apple Pencil on iPad
Copy handwritten text
After writing text by hand, you can also copy and paste it as typed text through the Apple Notes app.
To give it a try, navigate to a handwritten note and double-tap a word to select it. Drag the selection to include all handwritten text.
In the popup, tap on ‘Copy as text’. Now you can paste it as typed text in any app.
RELATED: Copy and paste handwritten text as typed text on the iPad
Draw perfect shapes in the Notes app
If you ever write notes by hand in the Notes app, you sometimes need to draw shapes. Whether it’s a flowchart or a series of squares, iPadOS 14 lets you turn your drawings into perfect shapes.
To try it out, open the Notes app and use the Apple Pencil or your finger to select the Pen, Pencil, or Highlighter tool. Draw a shape, then hold the Apple Pencil or your finger on the end of the shape for a few seconds.
The figure you drew automatically changes into a perfect shape.
RELATED: How to Draw Perfect Shapes on iPhone and iPad
Learn to use the new sidebar in apps
iPadOS 14 also offers a collapsible sidebar and a three-panel user interface for most of Apple’s apps. Many third-party apps are also starting to use it.
The new sidebar drastically changes how certain apps behave; a good example is the Photos app. You now need to use the sidebar to navigate between tabs, browse albums, or see different types of media.
You can tap the sidebar button to expand or collapse the sidebar. You can also edit the sidebar and add or remove features.
The best example of a customizable sidebar is in the Files app. Tap the menu button, then tap Edit Sidebar.
Here you can delete and rearrange your “Favorites” and “Tags” all in one simple interface.
Set default email and browser apps
Another way the iPad is more like a Mac is that you can now set default apps for email and browser clients. You can set Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Firefox and more as your default browser. You can also change your default email client to a third-party option such as Spark, Gmail, Outlook and more.
After you change your default browser, any links you tap in an app will open directly in that browser instead of Safari.
To change your default browser or email client, open the Settings app and navigate to the respective app you want to change
Tap “Default Browser App” or “Default Mail App” depending on the app you want to change.
Select the app you want to use from the list.
That is it! You have now set a third-party app as your default email or browser app.
RELATED: How to Change Your Default Browser on iPhone and iPad
Open Universal Search from anywhere with AssistiveTouch
What if you want to open Universal Search from an app, but don’t have a keyboard connected? You can fix this by using the AssistiveTouch feature.
AssistiveTouch adds a floating software Home button to the iPad screen. You can then assign single, double or triple tap shortcuts to the AssistiveTouch button. We recommend adding Spotlight as a double tap gesture. Then, at any time, you can double-tap the AssistiveTouch button to open Universal Search.
To set this up, open the Settings app on your iPad and go to Accessibility> Touch> AssistiveTouch. Turn on AssistiveTouch at the top of the menu, then select Double Tap.
Here, tap on ‘Spotlight’.
Whenever you double-tap the AssistiveTouch button, a floating universal search menu appears over any app you use.
Quickly open apps in split view with Universal Search
In addition to convenience, the floating universal search function offers another advantage. Since it opens on top of any app you use, you can also use Universal Search to find an app and add it to the split view.
You don’t have to use the Dock or go to the Home screen to add apps to Split View. This works best if you use your iPad with a keyboard. However, as we discussed above, you can also use AssistiveTouch to open Universal Search with a touch gesture.
To start, open the first app you want to add to the split view. Press Command + Space or use AssistiveTouch to open Universal Search, then type the name of the second app you want to add to Split View.
When the app appears in the search results, tap and hold the icon to get it.
Then drag it to the right edge of the iPad screen and release to add the app to Split View.
You now have two apps open in Split View. When done, exit split view as you normally would.
Disable private address for Wi-Fi networks
iPadOS 14 has a new security feature called Private Access for Wi-Fi networks. It creates a random MAC address every time you connect to a Wi-Fi network. Usually a MAC address is bound to a device. Companies and websites also use it to track you around the web.
A random MAC address increases your privacy when connecting to public Wi-Fi networks, but it can be a problem for some people. For example, if your home or work network uses MAC address filtering, you may be prompted to disable this feature. This can be done per network.
To turn this option on or off, open Settings on your iPad and go to the Wi-Fi section. Tap the Info button (i) next to the Wi-Fi network you are currently connected to.
Enable or disable the “Private address” option. Tap “Rejoin” in the popup to complete the process.
RELATED: How to Disable Private Wi-Fi MAC Addresses on iPhone and iPad
While not a new feature on iPadOS 14, the mouse and trackpad support now available on all iPads provides a powerful way to get more done on your iPad. See what you can do with it here.
RELATED: Everything you need to know about the new iPad mouse and trackpad cursor