Apple just dropped another beta of iPadOS 16.1 (known as the third beta of 16.1 and the 10th beta of iPadOS 16, at least according to my iPad), and in it is support for Stage Manager on older iPad Pros. Initially, Apple planned to only ship the feature on iPad Pro models with an M1 processor, but now, the feature works on devices with A12X or A12Z chips, found in the 2018 and 2020 versions of the Pro-grade iPads. The discovery was first reported by Engadget, who also obtained a statement from Apple on the matter.
We introduced Stage Manager as a whole new way to multitask with overlapping, resizable windows on both the iPad display and a separate external display, with the ability to run up to eight live apps on screen at once. Delivering this multi-display support is only possible with the full power of M1-based iPads. Customers with iPad Pro 3rd and 4th generation have expressed strong interest in being able to experience Stage Manager on their iPads. In response, our teams have worked hard to find a way to deliver a single-screen version for these systems, with support for up to four live apps on the iPad screen at once.
Stage Manager has been a point of controversy for iPadOS 16 for many months now. When it debuted in June of 2022, many believed it could open a world of new multitasking capabilities on the iPad, given how it would provide floating windows on the iPad for the first time. However, throughout each beta, Stage Manager has remained a buggy, unstable mess. It’s never seemed to work well for users who have tried it out, and its implementation has led to confusion and frustration thanks to its somewhat complicated set procedure and gesture controls.
Notably, none of that seems to be improving with the latest iPadOS 16.1 beta. In fact, the feature remains exactly the same, minus one feature: external display support. Apple has pulled the functionality from iPadOS entirely, meaning you can now only mirror your iPad’s screen to a monitor instead of utilize the extra space for more apps. This goes for every iPad Pro model, mind you, not just the lower-end ones.
According to Engadget, external display support for Stage Manager will return in a future iPadOS update. Hopefully, by then, Apple will have patched up all the bugs plaguing the feature as a whole.
External display support for Stage Manager on M1 iPads will be available in a software update later this year.
It’s unclear when Apple intends to ship iPadOS 16 after separating it from the release of iOS 16 earlier this month. It’s likely that it’ll arrive some time next month as rumor has it, new iPad Pros are on the horizon.