According to information Apple gave to Engadget, the newest beta version of iPadOS 16.1 makes the controversial Stage Manager feature available on older iPads with an A12X or A12Z chip.
For now, the beta also takes away the Stage Manager’s ability to work with an external display. This feature is set to come back in a later iPadOS 16 update. What Apple has to say about the matter:
We made Stage Manager a new way to multitask, with windows that can overlap and be resized on both the iPad screen and a separate external screen, and the ability to run up to eight live apps at once. This kind of support for multiple screens can only be done with the full power of M1-based iPads. Customers who have an iPad Pro 3rd or 4th generation have shown a lot of interest in Stage Manager on their iPads. In response, our teams have worked hard to find a way to give these systems a single-screen version that lets up to four live apps run on the iPad screen at the same time.
Stage Manager on M1 iPads will be able to work with external displays after a software update comes out later this year.
During the beta testing for iPadOS 16, Stage Manager has only been available on the M1 iPad Pro models from 2021 and the M1 iPad Air. The feature couldn’t be used on any other iPad, even the 2018 and 2020 iPad Pros with the A12X and A12Z chips. Apple said it couldn’t offer good performance on iPads that weren’t M1 because the feature needs “large internal memory, incredibly fast storage, and flexible external display I/O,” which are only available on M1 iPads.
Reports say that Apple wasn’t happy with how Stage Manager worked on older iPad Pro models. “We would love to bring any new experience to as many devices as possible, but we don’t want to hold back the definition of a new experience or fail to give it the best foundation for the future. And the only way we could do that was to build on the M1, “Craig Federighi of Apple said.
Apple has been getting a lot of criticism for only putting a major feature on its newest hardware. This has led the company to try to find a way to add the feature to older iPads. Apple may be able to offer a good experience on non-M1 hardware because Stage Manager doesn’t support external displays. However, when external display support is added again, it will only work on the M1 iPad models and not on the 2018 and 2020 iPad Pros.
Stage Manager is now available on all M1 iPads, as well as the 2018 and 2020 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models, as long as the latest iPadOS 16.1 betas are installed. Apple calls this test version iPadOS 16 beta 10.