An Overview of What's New on iPad in iPad OS 13

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team


It's that time of year again. Apple has just released new iPhones and Watches, alongside major software updates for new and existing devices.

This year, Apple has done something a little different though, by creating iPad OS. Fear not though, it's still that familiar iOS you know and love, and includes all the new features and enhancements of iOS 13, but now has its own identity and some additional features all of its own, as Apple looks to make the case for the iPad as a device that customers can use to get real work done.

Below, we will take a look at three of those features unique to the iPad in iPad OS 13 and how they work with VoiceOver.

Today View

You are probably familiar with the Today screen from both the iPhone and iPad. It's that screen to the left of your first home screen page, where you can place widgets for things such as batteries, news, weather, calendar and more.

Now, in iPad OS, it is no longer a full screen. Instead, it is a kind of drawer which slides out from the left, taking up only about a quarter of the screen, while your home screen grid of apps remains on screen too, just slightly smaller.

The gesture has not changed, simply swipe right with three fingers when on your first home screen, or swipe down with one finger on the adjustable page controller above the dock, and the Today view will slide out.

Reverse these gestures, and the Today view will be dismissed, and the home screen returns to full size.

However, if you would like the Today view to be on screen permanently, you can do that too. To do this, open the Today view as described above. Then scroll to the bottom of the view, and select the Edit button. A new window will open. Simply find the option to "Keep on Home Screen" and switch it on. Now, the Today view will be permanently pinned to your first home screen page. It will not though appear on other home screen pages.

Desktop-Class Safari

For a long time now, people who do a lot of work in web environments such as WordPress or Google Docs, have felt that the web experience on iPad was simply not up to the task.

In iPad OS, Apple has taken steps to address this, by providing the desktop version of websites by default in Safari, and making improvements to how those websites work on the device.

Previously you could go into the website options and request the desktop version, though this experience was hit and miss. Now, you get the desktop version by default, and Apple believes the experience is better.

If you do want the mobile version, you can still request it. Select the Format Options button, which is located one swipe to the left of the address bar. There, alongside some other options such as Reader View, you will find an option called Request Mobile Website. Should you wish to receive the mobile version of a particular website every time you visit it, select the option called "Website Settings" and switch off the option to request the desktop version.

Multitasking Improvements

Apple has also improved the multitasking experience on iPad, making it easier and more efficient to work in two apps at once.

To open the dock when an app is open, slide up from the bottom of the screen until you hear the second blip sound. Lifting your finger at this point would take you back to your home screen. Instead, keep your finger on the screen and quickly slide it back down, all in a fluid motion. This is the same gesture used for Reachability on iPhones with no home button, for people familiar with that.

From there you can choose to add other apps alongside the already open app. Simply place focus on an app in the dock, then swipe up or down using the Actions menu in the rotor, to either open the app in slide over, or to pin the app to the left or right.

From there, you can change the relative size of the two apps on screen, drag and drop content, and change the slide over app to another one. You can have two instances of the same app, and even have multiple instances of the same app across multiple windows.

Note, multitasking is not supported by all apps, but most Apple apps, including Mail, Safari, Notes, App Store and Podcasts are supported, as well as some third party apps.

For a more comprehensive walkthrough of multitasking in iPad OS, check out this guide.

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