Stage Manager on iPad: How it works in iPadOS 16

Apple launched the new Stage Manager feature with iPadOS 16.1 for select iPads and with macOS Ventura on the Mac to help “make focus on tasks and move between apps and windows easier and faster than ever before.” Follow along with us to find out how to run Stage Manager on iPad, how it works, what iPads are supported, and how to use the polarization feature.

A new and controversial feature for compatible iPad and Mac devices in iPadOS 16.1 and macOS Ventura, here’s Apple’s description of how Stage Manager works:

Stage Manager automatically organizes open applications and windows so users can focus on their work and still see everything at one glance. The current window users are working in is displayed prominently in the center, and other open windows appear on the left side so they can switch between tasks Quickly and easily. Users can also group windows together when working on specific tasks or projects that require different applications.”

It was a polarizing feature from many angles including how it works (and what not), bugs and quirks, and what iPads are supported. Apple eventually extended the feature to older iPad Pro models, but it has removed external full-screen display support from all iPads for now. But still, here’s how to try it out.

Stage Manager on iPad: How it works in iPadOS 16

Run Stage Manager on iPad

  1. Running iPadOS 16.1 on M1, A12Z, or A12X iPad, open Control Center (Swipe from the top right corner of the screen or tap in the top right corner)
  2. Click on theater manager button (3 small square icon and 1 large square icon near the bottom right corner)
  3. The first time you enable Stage Manager, you should see a splash screen with a brief explanation and a button Turn on the stage manager
  4. After the first time you launch Stage Manager, you can quickly turn it on and off with a single click in Control Center
  5. Stage Manager is automatically added to Control Center on iPads compatible with iPadOS 16.1 but you can also rearrange the button’s location by heading to Settings > Control Center

Here’s what the process looks like on the iPad:

in use

  • Once Stage Manager is up and running an application, find the black, curved line in the lower right corner of the window to resize it
    • If you switch to an app and it’s full screen, change the size in the lower right corner
  • You should see your other open apps on the left side – move your iPad cursor to the far left if your other apps are hidden
  • You can drag multiple apps into one space of the stage manager
  • Tap the three-dot icon in the top middle of the app to close and zoom out and get other options
  • Currently, support for external full-screen viewing has been withdrawn in Stage Manager
    • Coming later to iPad M1 and M2, but not older iPad Pro models

Take a closer look at Stage Manager on iPad in my colleague Fernando’s in-depth video below!

And for super in-depth coverage, check out Federico Viticci’s full review of Stage Manager on iPad at MacStories:

How do you feel about Stage Manager on iPad? Is it something you use or are excited to use? Or is she disappointed? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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