iPadOS 18: The New Updates Coming to Apple iPads From WWDC 2024

iPadOS 18: The New Updates Coming to Apple iPads From WWDC 2024

It’s Apple season; the time of year when Apple debuts software updates for its product range, and typically shows off a fun new thing. Last year it was the Vision Pro, and this year it was Apple Intelligence. However, don’t be fooled into thinking AI was the whole show; iPadOS 18 was shown for the first time, with a lot of cool features on the way.

Take my hand, and let’s go through the changes rolling in for iPadOS 18.

Groundbreaking, all-new, first-ever Calculator app for iPad

With the power of the M4 chip, Apple has finally cracked it: the company has put the calculator app on iPad for the first time in the device’s history.

I’m just joking; the calculator will be rolled out to non-M4 iPads, and obviously it’ll have all the functionality of the phone version. However, it also introduced a ‘Notes’ feature, that allows the user to write down equations, and have the device solve the equations for you as you write them to be completed. It can even generate graphs for you based on the input.

Handwritten notes get a buff

On top of the math notes feature for the calculator, your handwritten notes on iPad are getting a subtle improvement. Now, when you go to write handwritten notes, a new feature called ‘Smart Script’ will be operating in the background, adjusting and touching up your words to be more legible, while retaining your handwriting style. Collapsable sections and new highlight colours are also being added to the Notes app for iPad.

Make it pretty

iOS 18 includes some of the most systemic customisation options to grace the Apple ecosystem in years, and iPadOS 18 does much of the same. With the coming update, you’ll be able to switch your icons to an Apple-made dark mode, basically swapping the bright colours for more light-sensitive shades. On top of this, you can add a colour gradient, and you can drag and place your apps to anywhere on your iPad Home Screen.

You’ll also be given ample choice when customising Control Centre, the menu that appears when you swipe down from the top right of the screen. You can now enlarge or remove icons, so you can prioritise or axe what is important to you or unused.

A new Tab Bar is also being added to some apps, which merges with the sidebar when prompted. You can drag and drop shortcuts to the Tab Bar for easier navigation to your most used sections.

The Photos app gets some love

The Photos app, just like on iOS 18, is getting a significant redesign with iPadOS 18. The grid is staying familiar, but Apple is adding collections so that you can sort your photos and find them with greater ease. There’s also a new carousel that shows off highlights, cycling through your photo library.

Small changes across the board

And now, for some smaller updates. The Messages app is getting text formatting tools, like bolding, underlining, italics, and new animated text effects. You can also schedule messages to send at a later time. Safari is getting some changes; adding highlights and a more user friendly reader tool.

iPads will also be getting new privacy features, such as the ability to lock apps, for when you hand a phone to a friend or family member. Apps can also be limited to certain contacts when asking for access to your contact list. Bluetooth is also getting a small upgrade, to allow your iPad to directly pair with compatible devices, without pinging other devices.

A new app called Passwords is also being added to house all your logins in one place. SharePlay is getting an update for screen sharing, and now users can draw things on others screens to show what they need to click (users can also request permission to remote control a device.A Game Mode is being added to iPads, Calendar is getting better Reminders displaying, Apple Maps is getting deeper functionality for showing walking tracks, and Eye Tracking and Vocal Shortcuts are being added to the device.

You can expect iPadOS 18 to go public in September this year.

Oh yeah, AI

We wrote about Apple’s new AI features in a dedicated article over here, but the top-line features are the addition of AI-generated text prompts and editing, a new app called Image Playground for generating images, and an overhaul for Siri.

You can read about everything announced at WWDC 2024 here.

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