This will be the third iteration of iPadOS, after Apple started making bespoke versions of its smartphone software for iPads in 2019. Both iOS and iPadOS updates come with near-identical features, but iPadOS sometimes has a few extra tweaks to cater for the different ways people use tablets, and for extra Apple Pencil upgrades.
2021’s version of the iPad software is likely to be called iPadOS 15, and it might be a while until we get to use it. Apple’s software typically gets launched towards the end of the year, albeit with betas beforehand.
We’ll find out about the new operating system earlier though, as Apple hosts its WWDC conference in the middle of the year where it unveils its new software.
So what do we know about iPadOS 15 right now? Very little, as there haven’t been any leaks or rumors of what it could bring. We have heard a few iOS 15 leaks, which you can find in our iOS 15 article, and if true these could come to iPadOS 15 too. Until we hear more, though, we’ve come up with a brief wish-list of iPadOS 15 features we’d hope to see.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? The newest iPad software update
- When is it out? Around September, after a mid-year unveiling
- How much will it cost? Absolutely nothing
iPadOS 15 release date
Without any specific details, we’re going to have to rely on precedent to make estimates on when we’ll see iPadOS 15.
It’s highly likely we’ll see the new iPad software unveiled by Apple at WWDC, in June or July, which will quickly be followed by a developer-only beta. In the months after, a full beta could roll out.
iPadOS 15 compatibility
We haven’t heard anything on iPadOS 15 availability just yet, but we’d expect the company will either keep the same list as iPadOS 14, or just drop one or two older devices.
If anything was to go, we’d imagine it’d be iPad Air 2, iPad Pro 9.7 (2016) and iPad Mini 4 that get dropped, as they’re the oldest slates on the list. We’ll post below the iPadOS 14 compatibility list with those models removed, and this is our current guess at the tablets that’ll get iPadOS 15.
iPadOS 15 features
We currently haven’t heard anything about potential iPadOS 15 features – or iOS 15 features in general, for that matter. When news or rumors arise, we’ll update this article.
What we want to see
Here are ideas for new features we want to see in iPadOS 15.
Widgets are arguably the biggest disappointment of iPadOS 14 and iOS 14 – fans were excited to hear Apple were borrowing one of the best Android features, but currently iOS and iPadOS widgets don’t work well, especially on iPads.
Currently, you can’t position iPad widgets to where you want on the slate – you have to leave them in a side-bar on the first menu page, and you can only see a few at once.
On iPhones, you can put them wherever you want on your home pages, but even then few third-party apps support widgets, and this needs to change for widgets to be as useful as they should.
2. Battery optimizations for intensive tasks
While Apple isn’t exactly known for devices which last long between charges, iPad battery life can be poor if you’re using the slate for a battery-intensive task like video editing, gaming or even just streaming video.
We’d like to see optimizations included in iPadOS 15 software that improve battery life, especially for these intensive tasks. It’s hard to recommend an iPad as an on-the-go gadget if it doesn’t last very long.
3. Resizeable Control Center
If you swipe down in the top-right corner of your iPad, it’ll bring up some useful settings like volume, brightness, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and rotation lock.
However, if you’ve got a large-screen iPad, you’ll find these options are quite small, and hidden away to the corner. It can be a little fiddly pressing the correct button or dragging the volume slider bars to the right place.
We’d like to see the option to re-size the Control Center, so it’s easier to press. Perhaps, as with widgets, Apple could open up the possibility of third-party icons too, as well as the admittedly-long list of first-party options you can choose from, to make it even more convenient.