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Home / Tips and Tricks / IPad Pro’s new camera feature is a video call game changer. This is how it works

IPad Pro’s new camera feature is a video call game changer. This is how it works

iPad Pro M1 2021

Apple’s new iPad Pro does more than just provide speed boosts.

Scott Stein / CNET

Apple is new iPad Pro models have a long list of impressive updates. By using the same M1 processor as the Mac line, including Thunderbolt / USB 4 support, and a new display type that’s pleasing to the eye – there’s a lot to like about the new tablets. However, there is another feature that is sure to have a big impact on how you use the iPad Pro on a daily basis.

The first time you make a FaceTime call on the 2021 iPad Pro, you’ll immediately notice the front camera tracking you as you move to keep you centered in the shot. With Center Stage you can even get up and walk around the room and it will still follow you. When a loved one enters the room and joins the conversation, your iPad Pro’s camera will zoom out so that you are both in the frame and you don’t have to squeeze together.

When I first started using the new iPad Pro, I was a bit confused as to when Center Stage would work and how to find the settings. Below I’ll break down everything you need to know, but before that, here’s a fun clip from Scott Stein showing how Center Stage works:

Check out how Center Stage works with FaceTime

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

Move around in your seat to watch him follow you. Get up and walk around to find the boundary of where it no longer follows you – after all, the iPad Pro doesn’t get on wheels. Have people walk into the shot and join you, and let them leave the shot.

It’s fun, if not downright interesting, to see how quickly the iPad Pro adapts to something like shifting your weight in your chair.

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

iPad Pro M1 2021

Scott Stein / CNET

But what about Center Stage in other iPad apps?

There is good news and bad news. Let’s start with the bad news: Center Stage is not working in Apple’s Camera app. That means you cannot 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 on a developer part in all video calling apps without any work. I should say because there are always outliers it won’t work with for some reason.

I have 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 like I normally do, and the camera immediately started tracking me.


The setting to turn off Center Stage is not where you would think it is.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani / CNET

Don’t like 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 have to do it app-by-app. There is not a single toggle or toggle that you can go to in the camera settings and turn it off.

Instead, open it Settings app and scroll down until you get to the list of apps. Tap the app you want to stop using Center Stage in, and you should find a Center Stage option there. Slide the switch to from position.

For example, for Zoom you go to Settings > Zoom > Central stage. Or for FaceTime where you would go Settings > FaceTime > Central stage. Again, you have to do this for any app that uses the front camera.

The new iPad Pro comes with iPadOS 14.5, of 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 get to know more about it until now WWDC kicks off June 7.

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