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What Is iPadOS? Everything You Need To Know About Apple’s iPad Operating System

Since its infancy, the Apple iPad has come a long way. It has undergone numerous changes throughout the years and is now the crowned king of tablets. But for a while, it was constrained by iOS, a mobile operating system that struggled to match the iPad’s computing power as time went on. iPadOS is its replacement.

In 2019, Apple released iPadOS, a fork of iOS designed for tablets. Since then, iPads have all run iPadOS rather than iOS. But how does iPadOS differ from iOS, and what exactly is it?

What is iPadOS?

Apple distinguishes iOS releases using straightforward number increments. The OS release is more recent if the number is higher.

Historically, Apple has stopped supporting older versions of iOS when it releases a new major version. This has changed, though, ever since iOS 14 was replaced by iOS 15. Apple kept providing iOS 14 updates after iOS 15 launched and initially made upgrading to iOS 15 optional. Additionally, the company provided security updates for devices running iOS 12 but was unable to upgrade to the most recent version.

While it’s wonderful to see Apple continuing to support older devices with the most recent iOS updates for a while and even offering updates for older versions, eventually the company will have to stop supporting outmoded devices. To see what devices the most recent version is compatible with, scroll to the bottom of Apple’s iOS information page.

The iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, which were released in 2015, are the earliest devices on the list for iOS 15. It was possible to upgrade from iOS 13 to iOS 14 on all compatible devices, and vice versa for iOS 14 to iOS 15. We can extrapolate from this to determine the typical lifespan of an iPhone.

When you can upgrade to a new device if your older phone is still running iOS 12 or an earlier version. To keep your mobile life secure, you should switch to a modern device because Apple won’t continue to provide updates for outdated models.

iPadOS features

All of the essential iOS features are included in iPadOS, but a few features distinguish it from the mobile operating system. Some of the key iPadOS features are listed below.


The biggest shift from iOS to iPadOS is multitasking. To open two apps simultaneously, there is the fundamental Split View option. You also get a Slide Over feature that enables you to stack other apps to switch between them while keeping the third app open in a floating window on the screen. Additionally, you can open multiple instances of the same app and use the App Exposé feature to list each one.

There are differences between this and multitasking on a desktop OS. However, it outperforms the fundamental iOS multitasking features.

File management

The Files app has been slowly but surely changing how file management has traditionally been on iOS. The Files app for iPadOS has a few upgrades over the iOS version. A few features from the macOS Finder app were added to the Files app in the most recent iPadOS 15 updates. This includes, among other things, the capacity to group files and folders, support for drag and drop, and a marque tool for file selection with a trackpad or mouse.

Additionally, several iPad models now support USB-C, and the Files app now includes read-only NTFS support and a file transfer progress indicator.

Home screen and Widgets

You can choose between a roomy app layout and a smaller one on the iPad OS home screen. Up to six columns and five rows of apps can be added. Since the first release of iPadOS, widgets have been available, but with iOS version 15, Apple added them as well.

As with iOS, iPadOS 15 allows you to stack widgets anywhere on the screen, not just on one side of the home screen.

Support for a mouse, keyboard, and an Apple Pencil

Support for a mouse, keyboard, and pencil separates iPadOS from iOS. Only iPadOS offers support for the Apple Pencil, and you now have access to the handwriting-to-text function known as Scribble. Although iOS does support a mouse and keyboard, the support for iPadOS is far superior because first-party accessories are readily available.

On iPadOS, mouse support results in a round assistive cursor rather than a conventional pointer cursor that snaps to screen elements to facilitate navigation. When a keyboard is connected, keyboard shortcuts start working for an improved user experience.


A supported iPad can be used with Sidecar as a second monitor for a macOS device. The crucial aspect of this is that Sidecar will enable Apple Pencil interaction with macOS. If you’ve invested in the Apple ecosystem and use your setup for creative work, this is especially helpful.

the features of apps
Some app-specific features are exclusive to iPadOS. For instance, the iPadOS version of Safari behaves in some ways like a desktop browser, loading desktop versions of websites by default and having a functional download manager. Additionally, some third-party applications, such as Photoshop, have unique iPadOS versions.

Similar to this, poorly functioning apps like Instagram are just the iPadOS port of the iOS version.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: Will iPadOS run on every iPad?
A: Although not all iPads can run iPadOS, most of them can, except some really old first-generation models. View the complete list of supported iPads up top.

Q: Will an iPhone be compatible with iPadOS?
A: No, an iPhone cannot run iPadOS because it is only compatible with iPads.

Q: Does the iPad support macOS?
A: The iPad is unable to run Mac OS. Even though Apple’s iPad Pro uses the same M1 processor as some of its MacBooks, it still runs iPadOS rather than macOS.

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The article above was written by the BestTopReviewsOnline team, which includes many of the US’s most knowledgeable technical experts. Our team includes well-known writers with extensive experience in mobile phones, computing, technology, photography, and other fields.

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