WWDC21: New Productivity Features on iPadOS 15.

Apple previewed iPadOS 15 at WWDC this week, with new features like multitasking using Split View and Slide Over. Notes goes systemwide with Quick Note, and offers new ways to collaborate and organize whether typing or writing with Apple Pencil. New widget layouts for the Home Screen and App Library to personalize organize apps on the iPad. Translate delivers new features for translating text and conversations, and users can now build apps for iPhone and iPad, on iPad, with Swift Playgrounds. iPadOS 15 also includes new privacy controls in Siri, Mail, and more places across the system to further protect user information.

Multitasking and Keyboard Shortcuts
In iPadOS 15, a new multitasking menu appears at the top of apps, letting users go into Split View or Slide Over. Users now have quick access to the Home Screen when using Split View, to navigate through apps. Users can also multitask with apps that have multiple windows like Safari and Pages, as well as preview emails.
The external keyboard allows users to get more done with new keyboard shortcuts and a redesign of the menu bar. Users can quickly set up and switch between Split View and Slide Over with new shortcuts for multitasking right from the keyboard.

iPadOS 15: Split View and Slide Over.

Organise and Customise iPad with Widgets and the App Library
Users can now place widgets among apps on Home Screen pages, providing more information at a glance. Apple designed larger widget sizes for the larger display iPad and new widgets have been added for App Store, Find My, Game Center, Mail, and Contacts.
Also coming to iPad is the App Library, which automatically organises apps into categories like Productivity, Games, and Recently Added, and allowing users to access all their apps right from the Dock.

App widgets in iPadOS 15

Like on iOS 15, iPadOS updates FaceTime to add SharePlay while connecting with friends on FaceTime, including listening to songs together with Apple Music, watching a TV show or movie in sync, or sharing their screen to view apps together. Shared playback controls let anyone play, pause, or jump ahead. Users can extend playback to Apple TV, and watch it on their TV while sharing the moment with friends and family connected over FaceTime. SharePlay also lets users share their screen, perfect for browsing the web together.

SharePlay on iPadOS 15

Safari gets a new tab design that lets users see more of the page as they browse. A new tab bar takes on the color of the webpage and combines tabs, the toolbar, and the search field into a single, compact design. Tab Groups offer a new way to save and manage tabs. Tab Groups also sync across Mac and iPhone, so users can continue their project from anywhere or easily share them with friends and family. Safari on iPad also now supports web extensions, available from the App Store.

Safari redesigned.

Additional iPadOS 15 Features
Universal Control lets users work with a single mouse and keyboard to move between iPad and Mac for a seamless experience, with no setup required. Users can even drag and drop content back and forth between devices — great for sketching a drawing with Apple Pencil on iPad and placing it into a Keynote slide on Mac.

Focus that helps users filter notifications based on what a user is doing. Users can set their device to help them be in the moment by creating a custom Focus or selecting a suggested one based on their context.

Live Text uses on-device intelligence to recognize text in a photo and allow users to take action. For example, a snapshot of a storefront may reveal a phone number and the option to place a call. With Visual Look Up, users can identify objects within a photo.
Spotlight now adds the ability to search the Photos app and web images, and has all-new rich results for contacts with context like recent conversations, shared photos, and their location if shared through Find My.

Live Text within the camera app on iPadOS 15.

Shared with You works across the system to find the articles, music, TV shows, photos, and more that are shared in Messages conversations, and conveniently surfaces them in apps like Photos, Safari, Apple News, Music, Podcasts, and the Apple TV app, making it easy to quickly access the information in context.


Photos includes the biggest update to Memories, with an immersive, interactive interface; and integration with Apple Music, which uses on-device intelligence to personalize song suggestions that bring memories to life.

Privacy is taken to the next level with new protections, transparency features, and controls. Mail Privacy Protection helps stop trackers from snooping on an email, and App Privacy Report provides transparency into how apps are sharing information with other companies.
Siri is designed to protect user privacy. Now, with on-device speech recognition, audio of Siri requests is processed entirely on iPad by default, and performance improves significantly. Siri also adds Announce Notifications on AirPods, the ability for users to share what’s on their screen just by asking.

iCloud+ adds new premium features to iCloud, including Hide My Email, and an innovative new internet privacy service, iCloud Private Relay, at no additional cost. Current iCloud subscribers will be upgraded to iCloud+ automatically later this year. All iCloud+ plans can be shared with people in the same Family Sharing group as well.

The developer preview of iPadOS 15 is available to Apple Developer Program members starting today, and a public beta will be available to iPadOS users next month. New software features will be available later this year, around September, as a free software update for iPad mini 4 and later, iPad Air 2 and later, iPad 5th generation and later, and all iPad Pro models.

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Eddy Ndungu
Eddy Ndungu

Just another papercut survivor.

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