If you loathe Stage Manager, other new iPad features in iPadOS 16.1 include enhanced support for pro apps, changes for Messages, Mail and Safari, etc.
Apple releases iPadOS 16.1 for iPad
Apple released the iPadOS 16.1 software on Monday, October 24, at 10am PT. An over-the-air update can be installed by venturing into Settings → General → Software Update on your iPad.
Just hit the option to download and install the over-the-air update as soon as iPadOS 16.1 shows up in Software Update. Your iPad will restart as part of the update, but you won’t lose any data or settings.
A native Weather app for iPad is finally here!
Apple has finally brought its Weather app to the tablet, and boy is it gorgeous. It takes full advantage of the iPad’s bigger screen and looks just gorgeous. You can touch any one of the different modules to bring up even more information.
For instance, you can now see hourly temperature and precipitation over the next 10 days by selecting the specific module. You also get notifications for upcoming severe weather, with thousands of animated backgrounds showing off precipitation, like heavy or light rainfall, along with the sun’s position and cloud cover.
And thanks to the iPad’s big screen, details such as air quality, temperature and precipitation can be glanced at without scrolling.
Stage Manager arrives
Apple hopes that the Stage Manager feature in iPadOS 16.1 will make it easier to resize and move windows, but it remains to be seen how people react to this controversial multitasking feature. It surely helps that you can now turn the Dock and sidebar on or off when using Stage Manager.
In fact, Stage Manager itself is optional—you don’t have to use it if you don’t like it. Stage Manager is also available on Macs with the macOS Ventura update (which arrived alongside iOS 16.1 and iPadOS 16.1).
iCloud Shared Photo Library
You can now create a separate Photos library to share media with five other people. Everyone can contribute their past photos and videos based on parameters such as start date or people in the photos. Edits are shared across devices, with permissions allowing other people to add, edit, favorite, caption and delete photos.
You can quickly switch between your personal library, your shared one or both in the Photos app. And in Camera, you can save photos straight to the shared library.
Live Activities and better pro apps
iPadOS 16.1 also makes third-party apps better thanks to the Live Activities API that developers can use to add their own live activities for the lock screen, like sports scores, ride-sharing updates and more. With iPadOS 16.1, pro-grade iPad apps like DaVinci Resolve on devices with 256 gigabytes of storage or more can now use virtual memory swap for up to sixteen gigabytes of RAM.
Tidbits: Undo send message, Mail scheduling and more
iPadOS 16.1 shares many of the new features with iOS 16.1 and macOS Ventura. These include the ability to schedule emails in the Mail app, retract or edit a sent iMessage, sort options in Notes, Shared Tab Groups in Safari, support for CAPTCHA-killing passkeys, Live Text and Siri enhancements and so forth.
iPadOS 16.1 release notes
Apple has listed the following fixes and improvements in iPadOS 16.1:
iCloud Shared Photo Library
- Separate library for seamlessly sharing photos and videos with up to five other people
- Setup rules allow you to easily contribute past photos based on start date or people in the photos when you set up or join a library
- Library filters for quickly switching between viewing the Shared Library, your Personal Library or both libraries together
- Shared edits and permissions let everyone add, edit, favorite, caption and delete photos
- Sharing toggle in Camera lets you choose to send photos you take straight to the Shared Library or enable a setting to share automatically when other participants are detected nearby using Bluetooth
- Edit a message for up to 15 minutes after sending it and recipients see a record of edits
- Undo send allows you to recall any message up to 2 minutes after sending it
- Mark as unread makes it easy to come back to a conversation later
- SharePlay in Messages lets you enjoy activities like watching movies, listening to music, playing games and more with friends while messaging
- Collaboration provides a simple way to invite others to collaborate on a file via Messages and get activity updates in the thread when someone makes an edit to a shared project
- Improved search delivers more accurate, complete results and provides suggestions as soon as you begin to type
- Undo send allows you to cancel delivery of a message within 10 seconds of hitting send
- Scheduled send for sending an email at a specific day and time
- Follow‑up surfaces sent emails that have not been replied to, to the top of your inbox so you can quickly follow‑up
- Remind me lets you schedule a date and time to be reminded about an email
Safari and Passkeys
- Shared Tab Groups let you share a set of tabs with others and see the Tab Group update instantly as you work together
- Tab Group start pages can be customized with different background images and favorites for each Tab Group
- Pinned tabs in Tab Groups enable you to pin frequently visited websites for each Tab Group
- Safari web page translation adds translation for web pages in Turkish, Thai, Vietnamese, Polish, Indonesian and Dutch
- Passkeys offer support for an easier and safer sign‑in method to replace passwords
- Passkey syncing through iCloud Keychain makes your passkeys available across all your Apple devices while keeping them end-to-end encrypted
- A new way to multitask on iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd generation and later), iPad Pro 11-inch (1st generation and later) and iPad Air (5th generation)
- Overlapping and resizable windows allow you to adjust the size of your apps and arrange your ideal workspace
- Recent Apps arranged on the left of the screen allow you to quickly switch between apps
- App groups allow you to create sets of apps that you can quickly get back to
New Display Modes
- Reference Mode delivers reference color for popular color standards and video formats on the 12.9-inch iPad Pro with Liquid Retina XDR display and with Sidecar, use it as a reference display for your Apple silicon Mac
- New display scaling setting that increases the pixel density so you can view more in your apps on iPad Pro 11-inch (1st generation and later), iPad Pro 12.9-inch (5th generation and later) and iPad Air (5th generation)
- Weather app on iPad is optimized for the larger display, including immersive animations, detailed maps and tappable forecast modules
- Weather maps show precipitation, air quality and temperature alongside the location view or in full screen
- Tappable modules reveal more detail such as hourly temperature or precipitation forecasts for the next 10 days
- Air quality displays a color-coded scale for air quality, level and category, and you can view air quality on a map to see related health recommendations, pollutant breakdown and more
- Animated backgrounds represent the sun position, clouds and precipitation with thousands of variations
- Severe weather notifications let you know when a severe weather alert has been issued near you
- In-Game Dashboard Activity shows you what your friends are accomplishing in this game and what they are playing and achieving across all games in one place
- Game Center Profiles highlight your achievement and leaderboard activity across all of the games you play
- Contacts integration shows your friends’ Game Center profiles and lets you see what they are playing and accomplishing in games
- Live Text video support allows you to interact with text in a paused video frame so you can copy, translate, look up, share and more available on iPad (8th generation and later), iPad mini (5th generation and later), iPad Air (3rd generation and later), iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd generation and later) and iPad Pro 11-inch all models
- Quick actions let you take action on data detected in photos and videos with a single tap, so you can track flights or shipments, translate foreign languages, convert currencies and more, available on iPad (8th generation and later), iPad mini (5th generation and later), iPad Air (3rd generation and later), iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd generation and later) and iPad Pro 11-inch all models
Visual Look Up
- Lift subject from background isolates the subject of an image so you can copy and paste it into apps like Mail and Messages, available on iPad (8th generation and later), iPad mini (5th generation and later), iPad Air (3rd generation and later), iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd generation and later) and iPad Pro 11-inch all models
- Visual Look Up adds recognition of birds, insects, spiders and statues in your photos available on iPad (8th generation and later), iPad mini (5th generation and later), iPad Air (3rd generation and later), iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd generation and later) and iPad Pro 11-inch all models
- Easy Shortcuts setup makes it possible to run shortcuts with Siri as soon as you download an app with no upfront setup
- A new setting allows you to send messages without Siri asking you to confirm before sending
- “Hey Siri, what can I do here?” helps you discover Siri capabilities in iPadOS and apps just by asking, available on iPad (8th generation and later), iPad mini (5th generation and later), iPad Air (3rd generation and later), iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd generation and later) and iPad Pro 11-inch all models
- Call hang up option for ending Phone and FaceTime calls with Siri by saying “Hey Siri, hang up”, available on iPad (8th generation and later), iPad mini (5th generation and later), iPad Air (3rd generation and later), iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd generation and later) and iPad Pro 11-inch all models
- Emoji support lets you insert emoji using your voice when sending messages on iPad (8th generation and later), iPad mini (5th generation and later), iPad Air (3rd generation and later), iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd generation and later) and iPad Pro 11-inch all models
- All-new Dictation experience supports using your voice along with keyboard or Apple Pencil to enter and edit text, available on iPad (8th generation and later), iPad mini (5th generation and later), iPad Air (3rd generation and later), iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd generation and later) and iPad Pro 11-inch all models
- Automatic punctuation inserts commas, periods and question marks as you dictate
- Emoji support lets you insert emoji using your voice while dictating, available on iPad (8th generation and later), iPad mini (5th generation and later), iPad Air (3rd generation and later), iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd generation and later) and iPad Pro 11-inch all models
- Multi-stop routing supports adding up to fifteen stops along your driving route in Maps
- Transit fares show you how much your journey will cost in the San Francisco Bay Area, London, New York and more
- Redesigned Home app makes it easier to navigate, organize, view and control your smart home accessories
- Home tab now integrates all your accessories, rooms, and scenes into a single tab for a whole-house view, allowing you to see your entire home at a glance
- Categories for lights, climate, security, water, and speakers and TVs let you quickly access all the relevant accessories organized by room, and displays more detailed status information
- New camera view displays up to four cameras front and center in the Home tab, scroll to see any additional camera views in your home
- Redesigned accessory tiles feature more visually recognizable icons that are color-matched to their category, and new behaviors for more precise accessory controls
- Matter, the new smart home connectivity standard, is supported enabling a wide variety of smart home accessories to work together across ecosystems
- My Sports enables you to easily follow your favorite teams and leagues and watch highlights right in the News app
- Favorites give you easy access to the channels and topics you read the most, in a consistent place near the top of your Today feed
- New homepages deliver visually updated and easier to navigate topic feeds for local news locales, sports teams and leagues, and more
- Improved child account setup makes it easier to create an account for a child with the right parental controls, including age‑appropriate media restrictions
- Device setup for a child lets you use Quick Start to easily set up a new iOS or iPadOS device for your child with your selected parental controls in place
- Screen Time requests in Messages make it even easier to approve or decline requests from your child
- Family Checklist gives you tips and suggestions like updating a child’s parental control settings, turning on location sharing, or just reminding you to share your iCloud+ subscription with everyone
- Customizable toolbars allow you to add the features you use most often in your apps
- Menus provide additional context for actions such as close, save and duplicate, making it easier to edit documents and files in apps like Pages and Numbers
- Find and Replace is available in apps across the system, including Mail, Messages, Reminders and Swift Playgrounds
- Availability view in Calendar shows availability of invited participants when you create meetings in Calendar
- Safety Check is a new section in Settings to help people in domestic or intimate partner violence situations quickly reset the access they’ve granted to others
- Emergency reset lets you quickly take action to reset access across all people and apps, including disabling location sharing via Find My, resetting privacy permissions for apps and more
- Manage sharing and access helps you review and customize which apps and people can access your information
- Door detection in Magnifier locates a door, reads signs and symbols around it, and gives you instructions for how to open the door
- Live Captions (beta) automatically converts audio into text for users who are Deaf or hard of hearing to follow along more easily with calls and media content
- Buddy controller helps users with cognitive disabilities get support from a caregiver or friend while playing a game, by combining inputs from multiple game controllers into one
- VoiceOver is now available in over 20 new languages and locales, including Bangla (India), Bulgarian, Catalan, Ukrainian and Vietnamese
- Voice Control spelling mode gives you the option to dictate names, addresses or other custom spellings letter by letter
This release also includes other features and improvements:
- New Watercolor, Monoline and Fountain pens in Notes
- AirPods Pro (2nd generation) support, including Find My and Precision Finding for the MagSafe Charging Case as well as Personalized Spatial Audio for a more precise and immersive listening experience, also available on AirPods (3rd generation), AirPods Pro (1st generation) and AirPods Max
- Handoff in FaceTime allows you to move FaceTime calls seamlessly from your iPad to your iPhone or Mac, and vice versa
- Memoji updates include more sticker poses, hairstyles, headwear, noses and lip colors
- Translate camera lets you translate text around you using the camera in the Translate app
- Duplicate detection in Photos identifies duplicate photos so you can quickly clean up your library
- Pinned lists in Reminders helps you quickly navigate to your favorite lists
- Search on the Home Screen enables Spotlight to be accessed directly from the bottom of the Home Screen, making it easy to open apps, find contacts, or get information from the web
- Rapid Security Response gets important security improvements to your devices even faster, as they can be applied automatically between standard software updates
Additional tidbits can be found on Apple’s iPadOS 16 Overview page.
You can check out detailed release notes for all iPadOS 16.x updates in Apple’s support document titled “About iPadOS 16 updates”. Apple also provides detailed information about the security contents of iPadOS 16.1 and other software.
Is iPadOS 16.1 worth installing?
If you don’t care about Stage Manager or don’t own an M1 or M2-powered iPad, it’s probably safe to pass on this update. We need to see how subsequent updates will address Stage Manager complaints. If Apple doesn’t come up with a better idea, it should just ditch Stage Manager and get back to the drawing board.
Stage Manager is so bad that it caused Apple to skip iPadOS 16.0 and go straight for iPadOS 16.1. Stage Manager doesn’t seem like the right answer for iPad multitasking woes. If Apple didn’t sell you on other new features in iPadOS 16.1, you’d be wise to postpone upgrading until subsequent updates improve the experience.
Your thoughts on iPadOS 16.1
What are your favorite changes and improvements in iPadOS 16.1? Let us know by chiming in with your thoughts in the commenting section down below.