The latest iPadOS 16 beta brings Stage Manager to older iPad Pro models

Probably the biggest change Apple announced with iPadOS 16 earlier this year is Stage Manager, an all-new multitasking system that adds overlapping, resizable windows to iPad. This feature also works on an external display, the first time iPads could do anything other than mirror their screen on a monitor. Unfortunately, the feature was limited to iPads with the M1 chip — that includes the 11- and 12.9-inch iPad Pro released in May 2021, as well as the M1-powered iPad Air that Apple released earlier this year. All other older iPads have been left out.

That’s changing with the latest iPadOS 16 developer beta, which just released. Now Apple is making Stage Manager work with a number of older devices: it works on the 11-inch iPad Pro (first generation and later) and the 12.9-inch iPad Pro (third generation and later). Specifically, it will be available for the 2018 and 2020 models, which will use the A12X and A12Z chips and not just the M1. However, there is one notable missing feature for the older iPad Pro models – Stage Manager only works on the iPad’s built-in display. You cannot extend your display to an external monitor.

Apple also says that the iPadOS 16 developer beta 5 will remove external display support for Stage Manager on M1 iPads, which has been present since the release of the first iPadOS 16 beta a few months ago. It will be reintroduced in a software update later this year. Given that some of the iPad community has been quite vocal about issues with Stage Manager, particularly when used with an external display, it makes sense that Apple is taking a little more time to work on this further.

Of course we’ll have to try Stage Manager on an older iPad Pro before we can say how well it performs, but the A12X and A12Z chips are still very powerful, so hopefully the experience shouldn’t be any different than on an M1 iPad . It’s a shame external monitor support isn’t included, but this should still be welcome news for people who’ve bought Apple’s most expensive iPads in recent years.

Apple provided Engadget with the following statement regarding this update:

We introduced Stage Manager as a whole new way of multitasking with overlapping, resizable windows on both the iPad display and a separate external display, with the ability to run up to eight live apps simultaneously on the screen. Delivering this multi-display support is only possible with the full power of M1-based iPads. Customers with 3rd and 4th generation iPad Pros have expressed great interest in experiencing Stage Manager on their iPads. In response, our teams have been hard at work finding a way to provide a single-screen version for these systems, supporting up to four live apps simultaneously on the iPad screen.

External display support for Stage Manager on M1 iPads will be available in a software update later this year.

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