iPadOS 16.2 launches with Stage Manager external display support, Apple Music Sing, enhanced iCloud encryption and more

The new iPad features in iPadOS 16.2 include external display support for Stage Manager, the Freeform app, Apple Music Sing and more.

On December 13, 2022, Apple released iPadOS 16.2 alongside iOS 16.2 and other updates. iPadOS 16.2 brings support for external displays to Stage Manager.

It also includes many of the cross-device features found in iOS 16.2, including Apple Music Sing, Advanced Data Protection for iCloud, as well as Apple’s new app for ideation processes and collaboration dubbed Freeform.

How to update your iPad to iPadOS 16.2

To install iPadOS 16.2, go to Settings → General → Software Update on your iPad. If there’s more than one update listed, choose Download and Install or Install Now next to iPadOS 16.2. You may need to enter your passcode to continue.

If you don’t want the tablet to automatically install software updates, go to Settings → General → Software Update → Automatic Updates and turn off the Download iPadOS Updates and Install iPadOS Updates.

Be sure to leave the Security Responses & System Files option enabled to enhanced your security. With it on, iPadOS will download critical patches from Apple automatically before they become a part of a future iPadOS update.

What’s new in iPadOS 16.2?

A 12.9-inch M2 iPad Pro connected to Apple's Pro Display XDR, showcasing multitasking with Stage Manager
Stage Manager gets better with external display support in iPadOS 16.2 | Image: Apple

External display support in Stage Manager
Stage Manager is Apple’s new multitasking feature available on M1 and M2 iPads. In iPadOS 16.2, Stage Manager supports external displays with up to 6K resolution. This lets you use four apps at once on the iPad display and four more on the external one, as well as drag apps between displays like in macOS.

In Settings → Home Screen & Multitasking → Stage Manager, you can now adjust Recent Apps and Dock for each display separately under the Layout section (this was previously tucked away under a drop-down menu).

Apple Music Sing
Apple Music Sing is a new lyrics experience in iOS 16.2, iPadOS 16.2 and macOS Ventura 13.1 which uses AI-powered vocal separation to lower the vocals volume. This makes for a better karaoke experience, plus there are new lyric views to explore.

End-to-end encryption for iCloud Backup
Advanced Data Protection makes iCloud more secure with end-to-end encryption for device backups, including Photos and Messages backups. The feature is currently limited to the United States, with a global expansion expected in early 2023.  When enabled, encryption keys are downloaded to your device and deleted from Apple’s servers. For security reasons, you can’t turn on Advanced Data Protection from a new device right away.

The Freeform app
Freeform is a new whiteboard-style app for iPhone, iPad and Mac for real-time collaboration via FaceTime and iMessage, resembling the Endless Paper app. To learn more about the Freeform app, read a post in the Apple Newsroom.

10-minute limit for AirDrop’s “Everyone” setting
AirDrop’s “Everyone” option in iOS 16.2, iPadOS 16.2 and macOS Ventura 13.1 automatically reverts back to “Contacts Only” after 10 minutes. Apple argues that the change prevents unwanted requests from strangers. There’s no way to prevent this behavior.

Older notifications shown by default
In iOS 16.2, iPadOS 16.2 and macOS Ventura 13.1, older notifications are now shown by default in the Notification Center without having to swipe up instead of being hidden. This will prevent missed notifications because iOS will no longer remove a new, unseen notification from the lock screen and send it to the Notification Center.

Modern Home app architecture
The Home app in iOS 16.2, iPadOS 16.2 and macOS Ventura 13.1 has a more modern architecture which should make the app perform faster and control smart home appliances more reliably.


  • The Weather app integrates weather-related stories via Apple News.
  • Messages search now supports object recognition, makes it easy to find animals, people or text in images sent in chats.
  • Game Center supports SharePlay so that you can start a multiplayer game via FaceTime.
  • The new sorting filters in Stocks app include Ticker, Price, Percentage and more.
  • iPads with ProMotion screens now animate SwiftUI layout transitions at 120Hz

Apple’s release notes for iPadOS 16.2

Apple's Freefrom app on iPhone, iPad and Mac
The Freeform app on iPhone, iPad and Mac | Image: Apple

This update introduces Freeform, an app that offers a great place to brainstorm and bring your ideas to life. This release also adds Stage Manager improvements, Apple Music Sing, Advanced Data Protection for iCloud and other features and bug fixes for vour iPad.


  • Freeform is a new app for working creatively with friends or colleagues on Mac, iPad and iPhone
  • A flexible canvas lets you add files, images, stickies and more
  • Drawing tools let you sketch anywhere on the canvas with your finger or Apple Pencil

Stage Manager

  • External display support with resolutions up to 6K available on iPad Pro 12.9-inch (5th generation and later), iPad Pro 11-inch (3rd generation and later) and iPad Air (5th generation)
  • Drag and drop files and windows from your compatible device to your connected display, and vice versa
  • Support for using up to four apps on the iPad display and four on the external display

Apple Music Sing

  • A new way to sing along with millions of your favorite songs in Apple Music
  • Fully adjustable vocals let you duet with the original artist, sing solo or mix it up
  • Newly enhanced beat-by-beat lyrics make it even easier to follow along with the music

Advanced Data Protection for iCloud

  • New option expands the total number of iCloud data categories protected using end-to-end encryption to 23—including iCloud Backup, Notes and Photos—protecting your information even in the case of a data breach in the cloud

Game Center

  • SharePlay support in Game Center for multiplayer games so you can play with the people you are on a FaceTime call with
  • Activity widget allows you to see what your friends are playing and achieving in games right from your Home Screen


  • Improved reliability and efficiency of communication between your smart home accessories and Apple devices

Bug fixes and security updates in iOS 16.2:

  • Improved search in Messages allows you to find photos based on their content, like a dog, car, person or text
  • Tracking Notifications alert you if an AirTag separated from its own is nearby and has recently played a chime to indicate it’s moving
  • Turn Off Hide IP Address setting enables iCloud Private Relay users to temporarily disable the service for a specific site in Safari
  • News articles in Weather display information relevant to the weather in that location
  • Participant Cursors in Notes allow you to see live indicators as others make updates in a shared note
  • AirDrop now automatically reverts to Contacts Only after 10 minutes to prevent unwanted requests to receive content
  • Fixes an issue that causes some notes not to sync with iCloud after updates are made
  • Fixes an issue that may cause Multi-Touch gestures to become unresponsive while using the Zoom accessibility feature

Some features may not be available for all regions or on all Apple devices. For details, visit the iPadOS 16 Feature Availability webpage. For information on the security content of Apple software updates, visit support.apple.com/kb/HT201222.

Should you install iPadOS 16.2?

That’s a strong yes. Stage Manager is still half-baked versus the version Apple demoed at WWDC, and iPadOS 16.2 fixes that with the ability to hook up your iPad to an external display and multitasking with eight apps at once (four on the iPad screen and an additional four on the external display).

Apple has also included quite a few improvements in bug fixes across iOS 16.2, iPadOS 16.2, tvOS 16.2, watchOS 9.2 and macOS Ventura 13.1 that will make those platforms less buggy and more secure. We can’t think of any reason to withhold updating to the latest Apple OS versions unless, of course, your device is jailbroken.