At Apple’s recent WWDC event, Apple formally announced iPadOS 15, along with several new features that promise to improve the overall user experience, such as more robust widgets, Quick Notes, split screen, and a vastly improved multitasking experience.
All the new features are designed to help you do more and do things easily and quickly. Count on improved organization, increased productivity and more.
Widgets and App Library
Now you can place a widget anywhere between your apps on your home screen, not just on the side. The iPhone got this feature last year with iOS 1
There’s a new, larger widget layout that works better for iPads, four by two, which is perfect for widgets for photos, games, AppleTV, and even files. The app library is also being rolled out here, bringing the functionality to iPad users. It helps you keep your home screen neat and tidy by hiding apps you rarely use or no longer need in an automatically categorized folder. It’s also docked, which is nice, and you can reorder your screens on the App Switcher page.
Multitasking and Split View
The Multitasking feature got a major overhaul. A new control panel is available with a tap of a finger at the top of each app, revealing the Multitasking menu. You can use one app in full screen or two apps at once in Split View. The Slide Over feature lets you slide an app to the edge of the screen. In Split View, you can view the home screen where you can choose a second app to use. You can also disable an app without exiting Split View if 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. This is perfect for when you’re in Mail, for example, and you can still access the Multitasking menu there too.
The new Shelf feature that lets you see every app you’ve opened. Swipe down on an app to minimize it, and it will stay in Shelf until you want to use it again. Looking at the M1 chip on the new iPads, this is a really great feature, as it can keep a bunch of apps open at once, so you don’t have to close and open them all the time.
Previously, if you wanted to open an app that wasn’t in Multitasking (and wasn’t in your dock), you had to open that app, swipe up to Multitasking, then long-press that app and bring it to 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.
The notes app just got even better. Now you can add entries, which you can use to tag a person in a collaboration document. This will send them a notification that will link back to the document so they can see exactly what to look for. You can also add tags to a note and use the tag browser to quickly find a specific word.
However, Quick Notes is the big ticket feature for Notes and it makes creating 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 looks like a sticky note will appear. It’s perfect for jotting down a phone number or appointment information while you’re on a call, and you can also just swipe it away when you’re done and it’ll be saved.
Quick Notes is also app-aware, allowing information from the other primary app you’re using can be copied and pasted. So when you’re in Safari, you can add a page’s URL to your note, or you can highlight text and add it to your note with a few taps. In addition, all your Quick Notes are stored in Notes; just open that app to see all your notes in one place, whether you’re on your iPad or Mac.
Translate is now available on the iPad and can even be used in Split View. The new Live Translate feature makes it easier to talk to people around the world while maintaining a natural conversation flow. System-wide translation also allows you to translate text anywhere – just select text and tap translate.
Now you can build iPad apps directly on your iPad with Swift UI. You have full access to UI components and documentation, and there’s even a guide for new students creating their first app. You can run your app in full screen on the device and once it’s done you can even send it directly to the App Store.