The iPadOS Versions Guide

The iPad operating system breaks away from iOS

iPadOS is the operating system for Apple’s wildly successful tablets. iPadOS 13 was the first iteration of the OS, and iPadOS 15.5 is the latest. Get the details about each version.

iPadOS 15: New Multitasking Features and App Redesigns

iPadOS 15 iPad App screen

Released: September 20, 2021

iPadOS 15 debuted a newly designed Home screen featuring integrated widgets and an App Library. App redesigns include a new tab bar design for Safari and new FaceTime features like voice isolation and spatial audio. New system features include QuickNote, which lets you jot down notes quickly and easily no matter what application you're using, and Live Text, which lets users recognize text in photos.

iPadOS 15 focuses on multitasking, introducing a multitasking menu that lets users easily enter Split View or Slide Over to get more done quickly and work more efficiently within multiple apps. In addition, enhanced widget options allow users to place widgets with apps on their Home screens. Users can also access the App Library from the Doc to effortlessly access and organize apps.

Other notable iPadOS 15 changes include the introduction of Focus, which lets users filter notifications and apps so they can focus on the task at hand, and the Translate app, which can detect when someone is speaking in another language and automatically translate what they're saying. If you're a power user, you can now use your iPad to build apps and submit them directly to the App store.

iPadOS 15 offers many improvements to the user interface, general controls, and built-in apps that create an enhanced user experience.

iPadOS 16 is expected to launch sometime in the second half of 2022. Rumored enhancements include features that take advantage of the M1 chip, floating app windows, and more interactive widgets.

iPadOS 14: Redesigned Widgets and a New Scribble App

iPadOS 14 redesigned widgets.

Released: September 16, 2020
Final version
: iPadOS 14.8. 1

This version of iPadOS featured several refinements to the interface, redesigned apps, and augmented reality. It also added more privacy information in the App Store and delivered a privacy report for the websites you visit. When using Airpods, iPadOS 14 offered battery notifications and let you switch seamlessly from your iPad to your iPhone and vice versa.

iPadOS 14 introduced the Scribble app, which converts handwriting to text, and let you use your Apple Pencil in any text field. It also introduced the ability to scratch to erase and circle to select text

Apple's Today View widget was redesigned to fit more information on your home screen. Apps were enhanced with sidebars and pull-down menus for easier navigation.

iPadOS 14 introduced the feature where when you make or receive calls through your iPhone, Facetime, and other calling apps, the call information displays in a compact design that takes up very little of the screen.

The Messages app got pinned conversations, inline replies, and the ability to type a name to send them a direct message. Finally, cycling directions and electric vehicle routing were conveniently added to Maps.

iPadOS 13: Widgets, Dark Mode, Gestures, and More

Apple Pencil and iPadOS 13 panel
Apple Inc

Released: September 24, 2019
Final Version: iPadOS 13.7

iPadOS 13 let users fit more apps on the screen at once, and it also introduced the new Pinned Widgets feature. 

This iPadOS also added improvements to Slide Over and Split View. You can have several apps open in Slide Over, making it much faster to switch between them in the right-side column Apple puts them in. Split View was able to bring up two “Spaces” with the same app, so you could, for example, open two Pages documents at once.

iPadOS 13 introduced improvements for Apple’s fancy stylus, the Apple Pencil. The latency of the device was decreased for less lag between when you put the tip down on your iPad and when the screen is affected. It also debuted a whole new palette for Apple Pencil, handy for full document markup, and made extending the screen of your macOS Catalina-powered Mac more useful.

iPadOS 13 added a few more gestures, specifically tailored to text editing. Users could use the three-finger pinch to copy, three-finger spread to paste, and three-finger swipe to undo. Double three-finger pinch and you could cut text just as easily.

The Safari browser was also redesigned to identify itself to web servers as a Mac to bring users a computer-optimized website the first time around. This was a fantastic addition for users of web apps like Google Docs or WordPress. 

The much-anticipated Dark Mode arrived in iPadOS 13, and not just for inverting colors. It was created from the ground up and integrated across the whole system. 

iPadOS 13 came with Apple Arcade, a premium game subscription service, a new Siri voice, smarter maps and ways to share your stuff with other people, improved Notes, an all-new Reminders app, and the ability to add fonts, privacy-focused Sign In with Apple, and much more.

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