Apple iPadOS: A cheat sheet



Apple’s new OS for iPad includes several features that make it easier to use the iPad as a laptop replacement. Here’s what you need to know.


Image: Apple

Since the launch of the first-generation iPad in 2010, Apple has dominated the tablet market. Originally launching with iPhone OS 3.2, the first-generation 9.7″ iPad was architecturally akin to a large iPhone. With successive models, Apple has differentiated the iPad from the iPhone by adding support for input methods such as the Apple Pencil, and different screen sizes, such as the 7.9″ iPad Mini, and the 10.5″, 11″, and 12.9″ iPad Pro.

As the iPad product lineup has expanded into a wholly separate product category, Apple announced at WWDC 2019 that it has rebranded iOS for iPad as “iPadOS” (starting with iOS 13) to highlight and target the features that differentiate the iPad from other devices. This follows Apple’s naming trend of watchOS for Apple Watch, and tvOS for Apple TV.

TechRepublic’s cheat sheet for iPadOS is a quick overview to how iPadOS differs from iOS, as well as a “living” guide which will be updated periodically as new information becomes available.

SEE: All of TechRepublic’s cheat sheets and smart person’s guides

What is iPadOS?

iPadOS is the upcoming system software that powers the iPad. Effectively, it is a rebranding of iOS, though the change brings some new features. iPadOS brings the iPad closer to feature parity with the entry-level MacBook, making it more possible to use as a laptop replacement.

Copy, paste, and undo can now be performed using three-finger gestures, with three-finger pinch to copy, three-finger spread to paste, and three-finger swipe to undo, available for first-party and third-party apps.

The iPadOS home screen now supports persistent widgets, similar to widgets on Android tablets since Android 3.0 (Honeycomb), as well as split-screen, also previously available on Android.

iPadOS also brings improvements to the Files app, adding a column view similar to Finder on Mac OS. Support for SMB shares, as well as USB drives and SD cards are now supported in Files, making it possible to plug in to an iPad directly without needing third-party program or intermediary Mac for file management.

A feature called Sidecar allows users to extend their Mac OS desktop onto the iPad as a second display, or mirror content between both displays. Sidecar also allows users to use Apple Pencil input on the iPad seamlessly, and can be used via a wired connection, or within 10 meters wirelessly.

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How is iPadOS different from iOS?

iPadOS is tailored to the larger screen and multi-finger gestures made possible with the larger screen, as well as improved support for the Apple Pencil, lowering latency from 20ms to 9ms.

iPadOS also brings 30 new keyboard shortcuts.

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What devices can use iPadOS?

iPadOS is coming to the 12.9″, 11″, 10.5″, and 9.7″ iPad Pro, the 5th and 6th generation iPad, the 4th and 5th generation iPad mini, and 2nd and 3rd generation iPad Air.

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When will iPadOS be available?

Announced at Apple WWDC 2019, a developer preview of iPadOS is available starting Monday, June 3, 2019 for registered Apple developers.

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How do I get iPadOS?

iPad models compatible with iPadOS will receive a system update in Autumn 2019, when the update reaches general availability.

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