iPad owners should see the update available as iPadOS 16.1 but Apple rather confusingly has announced it as iOS 16 since this is its first release after Apple delayed the operating system update in order to make improvements to Stage Manager. So, this release is the first official version of iPadOS 16 and comes a week after Apple unveiled new M2 iPad Pros and the 2022 entry-level 10th Gen iPad.
The new Stage Manager multitasking feature resizes apps and windows for easy task switching. It allows overlapping windows and offers a new app switching method, and will allow users to connect an iPad to an external monitor to create a second iPad desktop rather than just mirroring the same one.
But when Apple announced it would expand Stage Manager from M1 (and since then M2) iPad Pros to older iPad Pros, it also delayed M1 support for external displays. Apple will enable Stage Manager support for external displays in an update for M1 and M2 iPad models later this year. It will support displayswith resolutions up to 6K and will let users work with up to four apps on iPad and four apps on the external display simultaneously.
In other updates, Messages users can edit, undo, send, and mark conversations as unread.
iPadOS 16.1 also gives users easier sharing options with the iCloud Shared Photo Library as well as Live Activities for real-time sports updates on the lockscreen. This update also brings the familiar iPhone Weather app to the iPad and includes the new Safari Passkeys, a means of signing into websites and apps using Touch ID or Face ID.
Apple notes that later this year it will release a new productivity app called Freeform for sketching and collaborating.
Meanwhile, the Mail app is gaining smart features like a 'remind me' feature to come back to an email later and automatic follow-up suggestions, as well as automatic alerts if the sender has forgotten to include a recipient or attachment.
Another fun trick for the iPad's Camera app is Visual Look Up, which lets users tap and hold on the subject of the image and separate it from the background for sharing in messaging apps. It can recognize people, statues, birds, and insects. Apple's iPadOS Live Text also recognizes text in videos. If the video is paused, users can copy and paste text and translate it.
And like the Home app in iOS, Home in iPadOS is gaining Matter support for controlling Matter-certified appliances across ecosystems. Amazon, Apple, and Google are supporting Matter.