By Gregory Morford
As iPadOS 13 begins to roll out to Manheim Township students, many are now wondering what this long-awaited update actually does. iPadOS 13 is one of Apple’s most feature-rich updates, and it contains system-wide changes from a redesigned home screen to an overhauled file manager.
A Word of Warning
As with all new software, iPadOS 13 still has some problems. While most major issues like the battery draining bug have been fixed as of the 13.1.3 update, some small features like Schoology’s document viewer remain broken. If you use your iPad daily, consider holding off on updating until the OS is more stable.
The Home Screen
One of the most obvious changes implemented by iPadOS 13 is the home screen redesign. iPadOS 13 allows you to place up to thirty apps on one page, an increase from twenty maximum on iOS 12. Additionally, widgets no longer have their own page but instead show up on the first page of apps when you swipe to the right. While normally it is only possible to see widgets when you swipe, you can make these widgets always visible on the first page by scrolling to the bottom of the widgets, tapping the “edit” button, and enabling the “Keep on Home Screen” setting.
The flagship feature of both iOS 13 and iPadOS 13 is the addition of the long-awaited dark mode. This dark mode shows up in all elements of the operating system, including Apple apps such as News or Safari. Dark mode is automatically enabled on other apps that support it, though not all do.
The files app has been given a complete overhaul. It now acts and feels much more like Finder, its macOS equivalent. New features include the ability to create folders in the “On My iPad” directory, download files from the internet and save them to your iPad, and the zipping and unzipping of .zip archives. If you have the appropriate lightning to USB dongle, you can also connect flash drives and other storage media to your iPad. Swiping down on any directory in the Files app will now reveal advanced sorting and view options, as well as the choice to create a folder in the current directory.
As part of the overhauled multitasking added to iPadOS 13, it is now possible to have multiple instances of the same app open at once. You can access the multi-window menu by opening an app and tapping once on its icon in the dock while still in the app. The plus button in the top right corner creates a new window, while existing windows can be swiped away just like normal apps in the app switcher. Support for this feature is app-specific, and many important apps such as Google Docs currently lack this functionality.
Slide Over is the multitasking feature that allows you to overlay an app onto another one. While Slide Over itself was introduced in iOS 11, it has been upgraded in iPadOS 13 to allow switching between multiple apps in slide over. In order to use this new feature, drop multiple apps on top of each other while you are already in another app; then switch between them by swiping up on the bottom of the slide over window.