In Depth

iPadOS: iOS 13 differences, supported device list and how to download

Apple splits mobile strategy for a more computer-like tablet software

Apple’s new iPadOS tablet software is now available to download, bringing with it a revamped home page and a host of computer-inspired features.

The company is breaking with tradition by launching a dedicated version of iOS for iPads, as opposed to a single version covering both tablets and iPhones.

While Apple’s newly-launched iOS 13 underpins the software, iPadOS introduces a range of exclusive features that could make it the more comprehensive package that iPad fans have been calling for.

Here’s what sets iPadOS apart from iOS 13 and how users can update to the revamped software:

How is it different to iOS 13?

As reported by Macworld, iPadOS “gets all the changes you find in iOS 13” - and a few additional features.

This means tablet users get the new dark mode, which swaps out brightly coloured menus with a dark grey tone, as well as improved security features and a revamped camera app with more advanced settings. 

Among the major changes coming exclusively to iPadOS are a new home screen, featuring a “tighter” app grid that lets users “fit more on the screen” and reduce the amount of “dead space on the display”, notes TechRadar

The new grid also allows users to see the new “Today View” menu, the tech site notes. This mode displays a range of information, from weather to upcoming appointments that are logged in your calendar.

Next up is Sidecar, which essentially turns your iPad into a second screen when using a Mac that’s running the new macOS Catalina software, says MacRumors. With Sidecar, iPad users can either “mirror the content” from their Mac on to their tablet, or use the second screen for “extra screen real estate”.

Throw the Apple Pencil stylus into the mix and the iPad can be used as a “graphics tablet”, the website says. It means that users can make fine adjustments to photographs and graphic designs on their iPad and the results will appear on the Mac’s display. 

Other notable differences are an array of new gesture controls, such as copying text with a three-finger pinch and swiping left to undo your work, Cult of Mac reports.

How to update to iPadOS

The install process for iPadOS is the same as it would be for those looking to upgrade their iPhones to iOS 13. 

To update, simply go to the Settings menu on your iPad, then press the General tab and click on Software Update. Here, you’ll be given the option to download and install the software, as well as activate automatic updates.

Compatibility list

The iPads compatible with the new software are as follows: 

  • iPad Pro 12.9in first and second generation
  • iPad Pro 10.5in
  • iPad Pro 9.7in 
  • iPad Pro 11in
  • iPad Air 2 
  • iPad Air 3 
  • iPad fifth generation
  • iPad sixth generation 
  • iPad seventh generation
  • iPad Mini 4


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