How to Use Apple Stage Manager

Quickly organize open apps and windows on iPad or Mac to see everything at once

What to Know

  • On macOS: Click the Control Center > Stage Manager
  • On iPadOS: Swipe up to open the Control Center, and tap Stage Manager.  
  • Stage Manager requires macOS Ventura or iPadOS 16.

This article explains Apple Stage Manager and how to use this useful feature in both macOS and iPadOS. Stage Manager for Mac requires macOS Ventura.

How Stage Manager Works on a Mac

Stage Manager on a Mac is a window organization tool that allows you to see all of your windows at once without losing focus on the app you’re currently using. It works by opening all of your active windows and placing them on the side of the screen, and featuring the app you’re working on at the moment in a place of prominence. Clicking any other app from your dock, or a window on the left, brings that window or app into center stage, while the previous app is shuffled off to the wings.

Here’s how to use Stage Manager on a Mac:

  1. Click the Control Center on the menu bar.

    The Control Center icon highlighted on a Mac.
  2. Click Stage Manager.

    Stage Manager highlighted in the Control Center.
  3. The active window will appear in the middle of the screen, with your other windows on the left. Click a window thumbnail on the left to move it to the middle.

    To view your desktop, click the desktop. Click a folder or file on your desktop or an app on your dock to make it your active window.

    Windows thumbnails highlighted in Stage Manager on a Mac.
  4. Click the green button on the main app, and it will fill your screen.

    The green maximize icon highlighted on a window with Stage Manager active.
  5. The app will expand to fill the full screen, and the window controls will disappear. Move your mouse cursor to the top of the screen to bring the controls back.

    Arrow pointing to the top of the screen
  6. Click the green button again and the app will return to Stage Manager mode.

    The green restore button highlighted in an app with Stage manager active.
  7. To stop using Stage Manager, open the Control Center, click Stage Manager, and click the toggle.

    The State Manager toggle highlighted on a Mac.

How Stage Manager Works on an iPad

Stage Manager on an iPad works a lot like Stage Manager on Mac. It brings your currently active app to center stage, with other apps visible in small windows to the left of the screen. With Stage Manager active on your iPad, you can resize the main app window, drag the window around, and even overlap multiple windows on the screen at the same time.

If you connect your iPad to an external display, Stage Manager allows you to have up to eight apps on the screen at once, and you can group different apps together for easier management. The interface is very similar to Stage Manager on Mac and brings a desktop-like experience to the iPad.

Stage Manager for iPad requires an M1 iPad and iPadOS 16.

Here’s how to turn on and use Stage Manager on iPad:

  1. Swipe down from the top left corner of the display to open the Control Center. Tap Stage Manager (three vertical dots next to a rounded square).

    When Stage Manager is active, the icon appears white.

    Stage Manager (three vertical dots next to a square) highlighted in Control Center.
  2. To resize the current app, press and hold the resize indicator at the bottom right corner of the app.

    Drag your finger to resize the app. To move the app window around, press and hold the top center of the window and drag. Lift your finger to stop moving the window.

    The resize icon (bottom right corner) of an iPad window highlighted.
  3. To group apps, open one of the apps you want to group, then drag and drop a second app to the first app.

    You can drag an app from the recent apps on the left or from the dock.

    Dragging an app to group with another app on iPad with Stage Manager.
  4. To ungroup an app, tap the three horizontal dots on the top middle of the app you want to remove.

    The three dots icon highlighted at the top center of a Safari window on an iPad.
  5. Tap the dash icon to ungroup the app.

    The Dash (-) inside a box icon highlighted on an iPad with Stage Manager.
  6. To enlarge an app so it fills the full screen, tap the three horizontal dots on the top middle of the app, then tap the filled box icon.

    To return to Stage Manager mode, tap the three horizontal dots > filled box icon again.

    The filled box icon highlighted on an app on an iPad.

What Is Apple Stage Manager?

Apple Stage Manager is a multitasking feature that makes it easier to see all of your active windows and switch between them. macOS has other multitasking features, like Mission Control, that are designed to help you swap between active windows, but Stage Manager actually places your most recent windows on the screen right next to your active window.

Stage Manager organizes your app windows in addition to just displaying them. If you have multiple windows open of the same app, like multiple instances of Safari, they appear in a stack instead of separately. You can also group multiple windows together in ways that make sense to your own workflow by dragging window thumbnails into the center of the screen and then clicking on one.

Stage Manager is also available on iPad, and it has all the same features as the desktop version. If you plug your iPad into an external display, it works much the same as the desktop version, allowing you to view multiple apps on-screen at once, overlap app windows, and group windows together for easier multitasking.

  • What apps does Apple Stage Manager work with?

    All official Apple apps support Stage Manager, and so do most popular third-party apps like Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, and Zoom.

  • How do I use the iPad Task Manager?

    To open the iPad Task Manager, go to Settings > General > Multitasking & Dock and make sure Gestures in enabled. Then, double-click the Home button and swipe up from the bottom of the screen.

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