How to use Stage Manager on iPad

Stage Manager is one of the most important new features to arrive on iPadOS 16. Available on M1 iPads or later only, the feature provides a fresh way to multitask. Currently making its way through the developer and public beta process, the feature is expected to arrive this fall with the first official iPadOS 16.1 release, with Apple likely skipping iPadOS 16.

Here’s more about Stage Manager on iPad and how to use it.

Apple occasionally offers updates to iOS, iPadOS, watchOS, tvOS, and macOS as closed developer previews or public betas (opens in new tab). While the betas contain new features, they also contain pre-release bugs that can prevent the normal use of your iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV, or Mac, and are not intended for everyday use on a primary device. That’s why we strongly recommend staying away from developer previews unless you need them for software development, and using the public betas with caution. If you depend on your devices, wait for the final release.

Activating Stage Manager on iPad

Stage Manager isn’t activated with the well-received iPadOS 16 by default. Instead, you must turn it on through the Settings app or Control Center.

Using Settings app

  1. Click on the Settings app on your iPad. 
  2. Choose Home Screen & Dock.
  3. Tap Stage Manager at the bottom of the Home Screen & Multitasking screen.
  4. Toggle on Use Stage Manager on iPad.

To turn on Stage Manager on iPad: Click on the Settings app on your iPad Pro, then choose Home Screen & Dock. Tap Stage Manager at the bottom of the Home Screen & Multitasking screen. Toggle on Use Stage Manager on iPad.

(Image credit: iMore)

In iPadOS 16, Stage Manager arranges your current apps into a strip on the left side of the display for quick access. When you hide Recent Apps or the Dock, your apps appear larger on the tablet’s display. You can turn these settings on/off with ease. 

  1. Check or uncheck Recent Apps.
  2. Check or uncheck Dock.

Check or uncheck Recent Apps and Dock, according to your preferences.

(Image credit: iMore)

Using Control Center

You can also activate Stage Manager using Control Center on your supported iPad Pro. 

  1. Pull your finger down from the top right of the screen to bring up the Control Center.
  2. Tap the Stage Manager icon to activate.

To turn on Stage Manager from Control Panel on iPadOS 16: Pull your finger down from the top right of the screen to bring up Control Center. Tap the Stage Manager icon to activate.

(Image credit: iMore)

If you hard-press the Stage Manager icon on Control Panel, you can turn Recent apps and the Dock on/off.

  1. Check or uncheck Recent Apps.
  2. Check or uncheck Dock.

To adjust Stage Manager settings through Control Panel: Check or uncheck Recent Apps. Check or uncheck Dock.

(Image credit: iMore)

Once you activate Stage Manager, you’ll see icons representing your four most Recent Apps on the left side of the display.

Turning off Stage Manager

You can deactivate Stage Manager anytime in the Settings app or Control Center. However, the easiest way to do so is through Control Center. To do so:

  1. Pull your finger down from the top right of the screen to bring up the Control Center.
  2. Hard-press the Stage Manager icon.
  3. Tap Turn off Stage Manager.

Turn off Stage Manager on iPad

(Image credit: iMore)

Resizing apps using Stage Manager

One of the key features of Stage Manager is the ability to resize the apps on the screen. By doing so, you can bring order to a sometimes chaotic iPad screen.

To resize apps:

  1. On the currently active app, press and hold the indicator shown at the bottom right of the app.
  2. Use your fingers or mouse cursor to adjust the size of a window.

To resize iPad windows with Stage Manager: On the currently active app, press and hold the indicator shown at the bottom right of the app. Use your fingers or mouse cursor to adjust the size of a window.

(Image credit: iMore)

Grouping apps with Stage Manager

Most likely, you plan on using more than one app simultaneously on your iPad. This is possible thanks to grouping apps with Stage Manager. To do so:

  1. Open the first app you wish to group.
  2. Next, drag and drop the second app from the Recent Apps section OR the Dock into the main screen.

To group apps with Stage Manager: Open the first app you wish to group. Next, drag and drop the second app from the Recent Apps section OR the Dock into the main screen.

(Image credit: iMore)

To group apps with Stage Manager: Open the first app you wish to group. Next, drag and drop the second app from the Recent Apps section OR the Dock into the main screen.

(Image credit: iMore )

Your apps are now grouped and overlapped. And yes, you can group more than two apps!

Ungrouping apps with Stage Manager

If you no longer wish to group apps on your iPad, you can ungroup them in just a few steps:

  1. Tap the app you wish to ungroup.
  2. Choose the three horizontal dots at the top middle of the app.
  3. Tap Minimize to remove the app from the group.

To ungroup apps: Tap the app you wish to ungroup. Choose the three horizontal dots at the top middle of the app. Tap Minimize to remove the app from the group.

(Image credit: iMore)

External display support

In iPadOS 16, Stage Manager can also be used with external displays. In doing so, you can use a supported iPad Pro or iPad Air with an external display, with resolutions up to 6K. You can also view multiple apps on both your iPad and external display, and drag and drop files and apps between screens.

External display support using Stage Manager

(Image credit: Apple)

Apple silicon requirement

Stage Manager for iPad will only work with tablets that use Apple silicon. To date, this only includes the iPad Air (5th generation), 11-inch iPad Pro (2021), and 12.9-inch iPad Pro (2021). This limitation hasn’t gone over very well with many, especially those with the 2020 iPad Pro models. Unfortunately, this means the feature WON’T work on all of our recommended iPads.

We’ll continue to cover Stage Manager and the rest of the iPadOS 16 beta process in the coming weeks. If anything changes before iPadOS 16.1 gets released to the public this fall, we’ll let you know by updating this post. 

Updated August 25, 2022: Includes latest information about iPadOS 16.1. 

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