Which iPads Will & Won’t Get Stage Manager With iPadOS 16?

iPadOS 16 is turning the iPad more into a laptop. But not all iPads will get the biggest feature…

Apple has now officially previewed iPadOS 16, the next generation of the operating system that runs on the iPad. It features tons of enhancements, including the much-loved Stage Manager. iPadOS 16 is in developer beta now, with a public beta coming in July and the public release coming in September.

But while iPadOS 16 will support a TON of iPads including the iPad Air 3rd generation and higher, the iPad mini 5th generation and higher, the iPad 5th generation and higher, and all models of the iPad Pro, not all features included in iPadOS 16 will come to all iPads.

As a matter of fact, one of the headline features of iPadOS 16 – Stage Manager – won’t be coming to most of the iPads that are capable of running iPadOS 16. Here’s what you need to know about the iPad, iPadOS 16, and Stage Manager.


What Is Stage Manager?

Stage Manager is Apple’s name for the new multitasking interface found in iPadOS 16 and macOS Ventura. For the iPad, it’s a way for users to organize and navigate between multiple open apps on the iPad with just a few taps.

Stage Manager works the same on both iPadOS 16 and macOS Ventura. It allows you to sort open apps into virtual piles. These piles include apps that are all critical to one of your workflows. For example, you might have a pile of apps for photo editing work, note-taking work, and web design work.

These piles of apps live on the lefthand side of the home screen in iPadOS 16 and you can call any pile up at will depending on which workflow you want to be working in right now. 

Stage Manager in iPadOS 16 is a very cool new way to help you better manage your apps and workflows. It also gives the iPad a more desktop-like experience.

What iPads Can Run Stage Manager In iPadOS 16?

This is the kicker. Barely any iPads that can run iPadOS 16 will be able to take advantage of Stage Manager. As a matter of fact, only three iPads will be able to run Stage Manager – the 2022 iPad Air (5th generation) and the 2021 iPad Pro 12.9-inch (5th generation) and 11-inch (3rd generation).

And do you notice a similarity between these three iPads that can run Stage Manager in iPadOS 16? They all happen to have the M1 chipset. All other iPads that can run iPadOS 16 have an A-series chipset.

Why Do iPads Need An M1 Chip to Run Stage Manager?

So the obvious question is why is the M1 chip needed for Stage Manager? Here’s Apple’s answer, which they gave to tech journalist Rene Ritchie:

“Stage Manager is a fully integrated experience that provides all-new windowing experience that is incredibly fast and responsive and allow users to run 8 apps simultaneously across iPad and an external display with up to 6K resolution. Delivering this experience with the immediacy users expect from iPad’s touch-first experience requires large internal memory, incredibly fast storage, and flexible external display I/O, all of which are delivered by iPads with the M1 chip.”


And as you can see from the Stage Manager demo, this does make sense. Stage Manager is very CPU and RAM intensive so it makes sense that for the most fluid Stage Manager experience, Apple would limit Stage Manager to M1 iPads.

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Michael Grothaus

Apple expert and novelist, Michael Grothaus has been covering tech on KnowYourMobile for the best part of 10 years. Prior to this, he worked at Apple. And before that, he was a film journalist. Michael is a published author; his book Epiphany Jones was voted as one of the best novels about Hollywood by Entertainment Weekly. Michael is also a writer at other publications including VICE and Fast Company.

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