Stage Manager: Apple makes iPhone apps more usable on the iPad

There is a useful innovation in the new iPadOS 16 beta. Programs not previously adapted for the tablet look much better in window mode.

 Stage Manager: Apple makes iPhone apps more usable on the iPad

iPhone apps on the iPad are a crutch so far: they can currently only be displayed in full screen mode with a huge black mourning border. The only configuration option is to enlarge it, which hardly improves the user experience. Multitasking options like Split View, available since iPadOS 14, are not supported here. However, with the new window management tool Stage Manager, all that is set to change.

Stage Manager works with iOS apps

Like users of the latest iPadOS beta – it’s the third Developer Preview – Stage Manger now recognizes iPhone apps and turns them into windows. This means that the notorious Instagram app, which has remained without an iPad version for years, can then be used adequately. The user interface is correctly sized and no space is wasted with black borders. Instead, an iPhone app with Stage Manager is just one window among many. It can be placed anywhere within the Stage Manager and divided into a window group.

In practice, this means that iPhone apps can benefit from the usual multitasking functions on the iPad. They feel much more natural in the window than in the annoying full screen. The approach is reminiscent of iPhone apps on the Mac, where, thanks to Catalyst technology, they run on M1 and M2 machines if developers do not explicitly block this. Here, too, an iPhone app ends up in a normal window and can therefore be used comparatively integratively.

One problem remains

Apple’s new integration of iPhone apps in Stage Manager shows that the Group continues to work on the feature in beta mode. There is now also a new information window on Stage Manager for new users who previously had to search for the activation of the window management in the control center. There are also small and useful tweaks in other areas.

What remains a problem, however: Apple limits Stage Manager to iPads with an M1 chip – i.e. iPad Pro and iPad Air 5. The manufacturer claims that this has technical reasons, the performance of the new SoCs is necessary. However, Apple itself is said to have an internal switch that allows Stage Manager to run on non-M1 iPads such as the iPad mini 6. In addition, the fully windowed macOS 13 aka Ventura runs smoothly on Apple’s ARM developer machines. These do not contain an M1 chip themselves – but the now completely outdated “A12Z”.

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