What is iPadOS? Everything you need to know

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Nick Fernandez / Android Authority

The Apple iPad has come a long way from its humble beginnings. Being the crowned king of tablets today, it has undergone many changes over the years. Yet for a long time it was limited by iOS, a mobile operating system that struggled to keep up with the computing prowess of the iPad as the years passed. Enter your replacement, iPadOS.

Apple introduced iPadOS as an iOS fork for iPads, in 2019. Since then, all iPads run on iPadOS, rather than iOS. But what exactly is iPadOS and how is it different from iOS?

Also read: Your guide to the best tablets

What is iPadOS?

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Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

iPadOS is the operating system that Apple created for modern iPads, with a focus on multitasking. Apple introduced the first version of this operating system, iPadOS 13, along with iOS 13 in 2019. Before that, iPads ran on iOS, except that iPads had features added each year that differed from what was available on iOS at the Iphone.

These iPad-specific features on iOS include picture-in-picture, multitasking, drag-and-drop, and a more convenient dock. These differences led the operating system to become a different branch, which is now iPadOS. iPadOS is based on iOS, but it takes some design and functionality cues from macOS.

RelevantApple’s IPadOS 15 is a wake-up call for Android tablet makers

IPadOS Features – iPadOS vs iOS

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iPadOS has all the key features of iOS, but some features set it apart from the mobile operating system. These are some of the important features of iPadOS.

Multitask

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Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Multitasking is the most significant change to iPadOS since iOS. There is the basic split view to have two applications open side by side. Plus, you get a Slide Over feature that lets you keep a third app on the screen in a floating window and stack other apps to switch between apps. You can also have multiple instances of an application open and use the App Exposé feature to list all instances.

This is not the same level of multitasking that you get with a desktop operating system. However, it is a definite improvement over the basic multitasking features of iOS.

File management

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Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

Historically, iOS has had little to no file management, but the Files app has constantly been changing that. The iPadOS Files app gets some improvements over the iOS one. The latest iPadOS 15 update brought some features from the macOS Finder app to the Files app. This includes the ability to group files and folders, drag and drop support, and a markup tool for trackpad / mouse file selection, to name a few.

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