Video: Testing Stage Manager on iPadOS 16 With an External Display

With iPadOS 16, Apple introduced Stage Manager, a feature that's designed to improve multitasking through a more Mac-like multi-window experience. Apple also added full external display support, so for our latest YouTube video, we thought we'd test out both of these features to show MacRumors readers what the iPad experience is like in ‌iPadOS 16‌.


Both Stage Manager and external display support are limited to the iPad Pro and iPad Air models that are equipped with M1 chips, which includes only Apple's most recent devices. Apple's decision to limit Stage Manager to ‌M1‌ iPads has been highly controversial because many people have older iPads and are unable to use some of the best multitasking updates we've seen in years, but Apple has maintained that it was not possible to deliver an acceptable multitasking experience on iPads that don't have the power of the ‌M1‌ chip.

If you're lucky enough to have an ‌M1‌ ‌iPad Pro‌ or ‌M1‌ ‌iPad Air‌, Stage Manager is a useful multitasking update. You can activate it through Control Center, and once on, you'll see a tiled view of your open apps off to the left side of the app with the main app available center stage.

You can resize the windows and move them freely around on the ‌iPad‌, which is a new experience. Previously, Split View and Slide Over were the only available multitasking options, and were limited to two apps or app windows at a time.

Stage Manager works with the aforementioned external display support, and that's where the feature is best shown off, as it allows for a much more Mac like experience. With an ‌iPad‌ alone, Stage Manager is capable of handling four apps at once, but with an external display, you can use up to eight.

‌iPadOS 16‌ allows an ‌iPad‌ to take full advantage of the external display rather than mirroring the ‌iPad‌, and it's like using a display with a Mac. You can move windows from the ‌iPad‌ over to the display, and adjust the arrangement between the two as you would in macOS.

Stage Manager isn't perfect as we're still early in the beta testing process, so some apps aren't working well on the external display, but there's plenty of time for Apple to make refinements and updates. Stage Manager is likely going to make for a much more pleasant working experience for those who like to use an ‌iPad‌ in lieu of a desktop computer, but it is a shame that it is limited to the newest iPads.

Have you tried Stage Manager? Let us know what you think of it in the comments below.

Related Roundups: iOS 16, iPadOS 16

Top Rated Comments

CC77 Avatar
2 weeks ago
Everyone in 2021: Why won't Apple take full advantage of the m1 chip in iPads??

*Apple releases literally one m1-only feature*

Everyone in 2022: How could you do this to me personally
Score: 70 Votes (Like | Disagree)
citysnaps Avatar
2 weeks ago

Everyone in 2021: Why won't Apple take full advantage of the m1 chip in iPads??

*Apple releases literally one m1-only feature*

Everyone in 2022: How could you do this to me personally
Yup. Expressing oversized personal outrage at the drop of a hat is now the new normal. Can't imagine embarrassing myself in such a whiney manner on a public forum.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
No5tromo Avatar
2 weeks ago
I don't know why Apple struggles so much with window management, even in macOS it feels like they have no idea what they're doing, window management is my #1 reason for considering going back to Windows. Using an iPad as a main computer doesn't look like it's something that Apple wants us to do, the hardware is there but the software is embarrassing and I can only assume it's on purpose.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
wonderings Avatar
2 weeks ago
Looks frustrating to me, like they are so close to giving us a full Mac OS from an iPad when connected to an external screen, but they stopped just a little too soon before getting there. To me this is a no brainer and Microsoft had this great idea years ago and did it with their Windows phone. Plug your phone into a screen and get a normal version of Windows running on your computer (think it was an arm version, but looked and ran like Windows). Here we have an iPad with an M1 chip, plenty fast enough to run Mac OS, but instead of letting you do that they give what looks like a frustrating user experience instead. I say frustrating because it is so very close to letting us use an iPad like a normal computer. Personally I think they are not going to go this route because I am guessing it would eat into their laptop sales.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
HiRez Avatar
2 weeks ago
Maybe I'm missing something but I just can't see why they're making such a big deal about this. What can I do with Stage Manager that I can't do by selecting apps int he Dock or using Option-Tab fast switching? I tend to use apps in full screen (or at least window sized full) anyway so seeing a bunch of small windows just means less space for the current app.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
CarAnalogy Avatar
2 weeks ago
OK now that I've seen it in action I really don't care that it's not coming to my 2020 iPad Pro. I don't even really see how this is better than Mission Control. Even the name Mission Control is better.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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