I've been using Apple's new iPad software for the past week — here are my 5 favorite things about it so far (AAPL)


Apple iPad 4

  • iPadOS, the software update coming to Apple’s tablets this fall, will bring a host of  new features that make it easier to multitask and get things done.
  • After using the beta version for a week, I came across five new features that I found particularly useful.
  • Such features include the ability to open the same app in more than one window and pin widgets to the home screen.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories. 

Come this fall, your iPad will be getting a major upgrade.

That’s when Apple will be launching iPadOS, the new software for its tablet line that the company announced during its Worldwide Developers Conference in June. Until this point, Apple’s iPhone and iPad software upgrades were both grouped into the same iOS update.

But the company is separating the two platforms for the first time in 2019, a sensible move considering it’s releasing so many new features that are iPad-specific. Many of these capabilities are designed to help the iPad function more efficiently as a productivity device.

I’ve been using the beta version of iPadOS for the past week, and these are the features that have stood out to me as being the most useful so far. 

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A new home screen

The iPad’s home screen hasn’t changed all that much since Apple unveiled the device in 2010. Sure, the company made minor changes like expanding how many apps you can pin to the dock, but the overall layout has largely remained the same.

That will no longer be the case with iPadOS. When the new software launches, you’ll be able to pin your favorite widgets to the home screen alongside your app icons in landscape mode, making better use of the iPad’s more expansive display. I’ve found that this makes it much easier to quickly see more information, like my next calendar appointment and the weather, while switching between apps. Previously, such information could only be accessed by swiping to the right of the home screen.

Android devices have always made better use of the home screen than Apple’s gadgets in my opinion, letting you access information and tools like the weather, directions, reminders, and a Google search bar right on the home screen. Bringing the ability to pin widgets to the home screen is a step in the right direction for Apple’s mobile software. 

Read more: AirPods have become a millennial status symbol, and Apple’s earnings suggest they could be its next big thing after the iPhone

The ability to view the same app in multiple windows

Features like split view and slide over certainly made multitasking easier on the iPad. But even with these additions, jumping between multiple files, apps, or types of content still hasn’t always been as simple as it should be. 

Luckily, the iPad is getting a big upgrade when it comes to productivity and multitasking, and among the new features coming in iPadOS is the ability to view the same apps in multiple windows on screen. That means you’ll be able to take certain parts of an app and open them up in either split view or slide over mode.

So if you’re drafting an email but need to keep another message on screen as you’re working, you’ll be able to pull out the compose window so that it fits nice and neatly alongside your inbox. It’s bound to be hugely useful for anyone trying to get work done on the iPad that’s more complex than sending a simple email or taking notes. 


New copy and paste gestures

Although the iPad is becoming more laptop-like than ever before, Apple has always maintained that its tablets and notebooks are two completely separate ecosystems. That’s largely because although you might use a laptop and a tablet for some of the same tasks, the way you interact with them is generally pretty different. 

People may choose an iPad over a laptop for certain tasks because they want to touch, tap, and swipe rather than click and scroll, and the iPad is getting some new gestures that make getting work done even easier using those actions.

In iPadOS, you can copy a chunk of highlighted text just by pinching up from the screen with three fingers. To paste it, you would simply pinch down with three fingers in the spot at which you’d like to place the text.

It might sound complicated, but it works fluidly when you actually use it. It mimics the action of picking something up, and placing it back down. 

Bookmark a group of tabs in Safari

If you often use your iPad for browsing the web, you’ll appreciate this new feature. Safari in iPadOS supports the ability to bookmark a group of tabs at once under a specific name, making it easy to jump right back into a browsing session without having to individually save each tab or link. This can be especially useful if you typically use your iPad for things like work-related research or vacation planning — projects that often require you to open multiple tabs and reference them again later. 

Open multiple apps in slide over and swipe to switch between them

Slide over, the iPad feature that lets you open a second app in a smaller window alongside another app, is getting a big upgrade in iPadOS. You’ll soon be able to keep multiple apps open in slide over mode and switch between them by swiping alongside the bottom of the app. It’s a helpful addition for those times during which you might want to focus on one main app, but check the occasional message or reminder without navigating out of your current project.