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Home / Tips and Tricks / iPad Pro now a king for video calls with Apple’s new feature. This is how it works

iPad Pro now a king for video calls with Apple’s new feature. This is how it works

iPad Pro M1 2021

Apple’s new iPad Pro is transforming video calls.

Scott Stein/CNET

The iPad Pro models for 2021 are fully loaded with tons of features and processing power. In fact, both tablets use the same M1 Apple Silicon processor used in the latest MacBooks and iMacs. This processor supports Center Stage, a feature that is sure to change the way you use FaceTime on the iPad Pro for video calls.

The first time you place a FaceTime call on a 2021 iPad Pro, you’ll almost certainly notice the front camera following you as you slide into your seat, zooming in on your face and keeping you centered in the frame. . You can even get up and walk across the room and the camera will follow you. If someone else walks into view of the camera, it will even zoom out to add them to the video call so you don’t have to squeeze.

When I first started using the new iPad Pro, I was a little confused about when Center Stage would work and how to find the settings. Below I explain everything you need to know.

How Center Stage works with FaceTime on iPad Pro


Brett Pearce/CNET

The easiest way to try Center Stage is to open the FaceTime app. You don’t have to call; the feature starts working the moment you open the app and can preview what the front camera sees.

Move around to see how it follows you. Get up and walk around to find the limit of where it stops following you — after all, the iPad Pro doesn’t come on wheels. Have people walk into the shot and then leave. It’s fun, if not downright interesting, to see how quickly the iPad Pro adapts to something as small as shifting your weight in a chair.

For fun, you can place a FaceTime call and see how long it takes the person on the other end to see the camera move.

What about Center Stage outside of FaceTime?

There is good news and bad news. Let’s start with the bad news: Center Stage doesn’t work in Apple’s Camera app. That means you can’t use it to record videos that keep you in the frame. It’s something Apple should consider adding — a little toggle in the Camera app to turn Center Stage on and off would be enough.

Okay, now for the good news. Central stage should work without any developer work in all video calling apps. I say should because there are always outliers that it doesn’t work with for some reason.

I personally tested and confirmed that Center Stage works in the WebEx, Zoom, and Google Meet apps. I didn’t have to do anything to turn it on — I just joined the conversations as I normally do, and the camera immediately started following me.


The setting to disable Center Stage is not where you might think.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Not a fan of iPad Pro’s Center Stage? You can turn it off

Whether you find Center Stage distracting or just don’t like using it, you have the option to turn it off. But you’ll have to do it on a per-app basis: there’s no toggle or toggle in the camera settings to disable it.

Zoom recently updated its iPad app with support for Center Stage and added a button to turn the feature on or off when you’re on a video call. Even if you’ve been using the Zoom app and Center Stage was working before the update, you’ll find that you need to enable it before it starts working. During a video call, tap the Central stage button in the top left corner of your screen. You will be asked to confirm that you indeed want to enable the auto-tracking feature. After the initial setup, you can enable or disable it as you wish.

Not every video calling app has been updated with official Center Stage support yet, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have options. Instead of a setting or switch in your favorite app, you can control Center Stage by using the by Settings app and scroll down to the list of apps installed on your iPad. Tap the listed app you want to stop using Center Stage in, where you have a Central stage choice. Slide the switch to the Off position.

For example, for Microsoft Teams, go to: Settings > Microsoft Teams > Central stage. For FaceTime go to Settings > FaceTime > Central stage. Again, you have to do this for each app.

The new iPad Pro comes with iPadOS 14.5, which we included numerous features that contribute to its usefulness. There are even hidden features that help you take it to the next level. We’re certainly looking forward to what Apple has in store for it with iPadOS 15, but we’ll know more about it later WWDC starts June 7th.

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