Apple’s latest iPadOS 16 developer beta brings Stage Manager to older iPad Pro models, as an M1 chip is no longer required. Stage Manager, which offers easier multitasking and switching between apps, was previously only compatible with the M1-powered iPad Air and the 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models released last year. Now, the feature will also be coming to third and fourth-generation iPad Pro models. The news was first reported by Engadget.
However, the older iPad models won’t be able to extend their display to an external model, which means Stage Manager will only work on the iPad’s display.
In addition, external display support for Stage Manager is getting delayed to a future software update later this year. Given that some people have shared their concerns about Stage Manager’s external display feature, Apple is likely looking to take more time to fine-tune the functionality.
Apple provided TechCrunch with the following statement regarding the changes:
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.
External display support for Stage Manager on M1 iPads will be available in a software update later this year.
Apple’s decision to open up Stage Manager to more iPads is a notable change, considering that the company previously said that the feature requires an M1 chip. Apple SVP of Software Engineering Craig Federighi told TechCrunch in June that the availability of memory led Apple to limit Stage Manager to M1 iPads. Federighi had also noted that the M1 supports connectivity that its previous iPads don’t.
Last month, Apple rolled out iPadOS 16.1 beta to enrolled developer devices, which marked a break from the standard release cadence, which has tied together the tablet operating system with its smartphone counterpart, iOS, since its first release in 2019. This meant that Apple decided to skip the iPadOS 16.0 release in the fall and go straight to 16.1. It’s likely that the reason Apple is going straight to 16.1 is due to the changes revealed today.