iPadOS 15 was revealed by Apple at WWDC 2021 in June, detailing a plethora of new features coming to the iPad later in the year. Apple has since confirmed that the update is due to drop today, so what should you expect from the latest iPadOS update?

We outline release date details, supported apps and some of the most exciting features of iPadOS 15 right here. If you’re looking for details on iOS 15, we delve into the latest iOS 15 news separately. 

When will iPadOS 15 be released?

As revealed at Apple’s September Event, iPadOS 15 is set to be released today, 20 September 2021. While timings are yet to be confirmed, Apple tends to push out new updates at around 10am PDT/1pm EDT, or 6pm BST for those of us in the UK. 

Which iPads will get the iPadOS 15 update?

The good news is that iPadOS 15 is set to come to a slew of iPads, going all the way back to the iPad Air 2 - a tablet first released in 2014!

  • iPad Pro 12.9 (5th gen)
  • iPad Pro 11 (3rd gen)
  • iPad Pro 12.9 (4th gen)
  • iPad Pro 11 (2nd gen)
  • iPad Pro 12.9 (3rd gen)
  • iPad Pro 11 (1st gen)
  • iPad Pro 12.9 (2nd gen)
  • iPad Pro 12.9 (1st gen)
  • iPad Pro 10.5
  • iPad Pro 9.7
  • iPad (9th gen)
  • iPad (8th gen)
  • iPad (7th gen)
  • iPad (6th gen)
  • iPad (5th gen)
  • iPad mini (6th gen)
  • iPad mini (5th gen)
  • iPad mini (4th gen)
  • iPad Air (4th gen)
  • iPad Air (3rd gen)
  • iPad Air 2

What’s new in iPadOS 15?

iPadOS 15 brings a few key features from iOS 14 to the big screen, along with a number of new features exclusive to the iPad experience. 

Widgets

Widgets got a massive overhaul on the iPhone with iOS 14, and Apple has now extended that to the iPad with iPadOS 15, freeing your widgets from the side of your display.

There will be a bevvy of third-party apps with widgets already available, thanks to the fact that most developers have spent the last year making them for the iPhone, and Apple will also include larger format widgets that allow you to see more documents, photos and other data at a glance. 

You’ll also be able to easily re-order widgets within Smart Stacks, Apple’s contextual widget window that shows you different widgets at different times of day depending on what it thinks you want to know, and it’s now smart enough to suggest various Siri Shortcuts (like opening an app or controlling a smart device) too. 

App Library

Another feature originally introduced on the iPhone in iOS 14, the App Library is also coming to the iPad with iPadOS 15.

As with the iPhone variant, App Library gives you a place to store all your apps, automatically organised into different categories including Apple Arcade, Photography, Games and Productivity. That allows you to remove apps from the main Home Screen without deleting them, allowing you to only keep the apps you use regularly on your Home Screen. 

Focus

Focus is an interesting new addition to the iPadOS experience, allowing you to set different Focuses for different tasks.

Take the Work focus for example; after a brief setup, you’ll only get notifications from work-related apps and contacts, allowing you to stay on task and not get distracted by incoming social media notifications. You can take it a step further by hiding entire Home Screen windows, completely hiding tempting apps when you’re busy.

There are a few preset Focuses, including a general Do Not Disturb, Personal, Work and Sleep, but you can create custom Focuses too. 

You’ll be able to set allowed interruptions so time-sensitive notifications like text messages, Ring doorbell alerts and more aren’t missed, and the Focus modes sync between each of your Apple devices - as long as they’re all running the latest software. 

We outline how to use Focus modes in iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 separately if you want to find out more. 

New multitasking features

Multitasking has been a big part of the iPad for years, allowing you to run multiple apps on-screen at the same time. The problem is that it has traditionally relied on you knowing about the functionality, with Split View and Slide Over activated by a swipe with no on-screen prompts. 

That all changes in iPadOS 15, which introduces a new dedicated multitasking menu that sits at the top of apps, allowing you to enter Slide Over, Split View, Full Screen and Centre Window with the tap of an icon. Along with the menu itself, there’s also a new multi-window shelf that provides quick access to all currently opened windows for a particular app. 

There are also improvements to the App Switcher, allowing you to drag and drop one app over another to enter Split View multitasking, and you can access Slide Over apps from the switcher too.  

Quick Note

New to iPadOS 15, Quick Note is a feature designed for those times where you need to quickly jot something down - like a phone number or measurements. Instead of opening the Notes app as with previous iterations of iPadOS, you can now swipe from the bottom corner of the iPad display in any app to access a Quick Note.

The Quick Note window can be resized, and just like with the main app, you’ll be able to write, sketch, add photos, links and tags. Once complete, a Quick Note thumbnail will sit in the corner for quick access - ideal if you need to constantly reference something while you’re using the iPad.  

New FaceTime features

As with iOS 15, iPadOS 15 introduces a range of new features to improve the FaceTime experience. One of the most popular will no doubt be Share Play, which allows those on FaceTime to watch videos on TikTok, listen to music on Apple Music and much more, with playback synced between the two devices. If one pauses, so does the other. 

There’s also FaceTime Links, new functionality that lets you schedule FaceTime calls in advance and, more importantly, share a link with anyone to invite them to join the call - including those on Android and Windows. It’s via a web version of FaceTime rather than a native app, and those on other platforms can’t create FaceTime calls, but it’s a start. 

There are also other improvements on the way, including Spatial Audio support for multi-person calls, Portrait mode, grid view, calendar integration, Voice Isolation mode and much more. It’s a huge update that should help Apple regain some of the users that have switched to other video conferencing apps like Zoom or Microsoft Teams. 

Live Text

Live Text is a cool feature that looks to make text within photos more interactive by allowing you to copy, paste, look up and translate text within images in Photos, Safari, Screenshot and Quick Look, allowing you to, for example, tap a number within a photo and immediately call it. 

Swift Playgrounds

A huge update to Swift Playgrounds in iPadOS 15 lets budding app developers fully build, test and even submit iPhone and iPad apps to the App Store without the need for a PC or Mac, encouraging a new generation of app development. There’s also improved code completion, so you can start typing and select one of the suggested options to add it to your code.