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iPadOS 16.2 beta adds external display support for Stage Manager and includes Freeform

iPadOS 16.2 beta adds external display support for Stage Manager and includes Freeform


It also introduces the new HomeKit architecture

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An image showing external display support with Stage Manager
Stage Manager’s external display support is only available on iPads with an M1 chip.
Image: Apple

Apple’s getting closer to shipping Stage Manager’s promised external display support on iPadOS 16. As pointed out by 9to5Mac, Apple has included the feature with its release of the iPadOS 16.2 developer beta, which comes one day after the company launched iOS 16.1, iPadOS 16.1, macOS 13 (aka Ventura), and tvOS 16.1.

When Apple first announced Stage Manager at WWDC in June, it initially limited Stage Manager to iPads with an M1 chip, claiming older chips just don’t have enough power. While it later backtracked on this decision after facing criticism from users, it did still reserve support for external displays in Stage Manager for iPads with the M1 chip. The feature lets you hook up your iPad to an external display or Mac, giving you more room to work. Apple says it supports resolutions up to 6K and lets you open up to four apps on each screen.

An image showing the iPad’s Freeform app
Freeform lets you take notes and share files on a single canvas.
Image: Apple

Stage Manager is Apple’s attempt to make the iPad a multitasking powerhouse. It’s supposed to automatically organize all your windows and make it easier to switch between apps, but its buggy release had some users frustrated with the feature. David Pierce, The Verge’s editor-at-large, says Stage Manager “still doesn’t work” even after some of the tweaks Apple has made.

In addition to external display support in Stage Manager, the iPadOS 16.2 beta includes one of the other multitasking features Apple touted at WWDC: Freeform. This whiteboard app lets you collaborate with others on a single canvas, allowing you to jot down notes using an Apple Pencil as well as share PDFs, images, and web links. As noted by Apple, you can also communicate with a team while using the app through FaceTime and keep track of any changes made to the canvas in a Messages thread.

As pointed out by MacRumors, the iOS 16.2, iPadOS 16.2, and macOS Ventura 13.1 betas also include the revamped HomeKit architecture that Apple originally planned to release with iPadOS 16. The company introduced a redesigned Home app in iPadOS 16 and iOS 16, coinciding with the company’s adoption of the smart home standard Matter.

Correction October 25th, 5:03PM ET: A previous version of the article stated the iPadOS and iOS 16.2 betas introduced a redesigned Home app, when it actually added the new HomeKit architecture. The redesigned Home app came in iOS 16. We regret the error.