Stage Manager was introduced in iPadOS 16 as an easy way of having multiple apps on screen at once and switching between apps. It’s also been introduced on macOS, but we’ll look at the iPad implementation here.
There are two ways of enabling and disabling Stage Manager on iPad. Stage Manager can be accessed from the Control Centre by swiping down from the top right corner of your ipad and enabling the option. Alternatively, open Settings, click on Home Screen and Multitasking in the menu and choose Stage Manager.
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What iPads Support Stage Manager
If you don’t see Stage Manager as an option, it’s likely because your iPad doesn’t support it or you need to upgrade the operating system. For your iPad to support Stage Manager, you’ll need at least the 12.9inch 3rd gen iPad Pro, the 11 inch 1st gen iPad Pro, or the most recent 5th gen iPad air.
If your iPad is one of these just check you have the latest version of iPadOS installed by clicking on General followed by Software Updates.
Configuring Stage Manager
Having enabled Stage manager you can choose whether to display your most recent Apps on the left of the screen and the dock along the bottom. Removing these will provide you with more screen real-estate but for this demonstration I’l show you what it works like with them both enabled.
How To Use Stage Manager
As soon as you enable Stage Manager you’ll see a handle in the bottom corner of each app used to resize the app window.
Press and drag to resize out of fullscreen mode. You can tap the 3 dots displayed at the top, centre of each app to minimise or close an app or put it back into fullscreen mode.
You can also swipe down from the top of the app, either side of the 3 dots to minimise it and display your home screen..
If you have a few apps open, such as photos, messages, and Safari, you can see how Stage Manager works. On the left you have your recently opened apps menu and you can cycle through each one by tapping on them.
If you press and hold on one of them, you can drag it into the main focus area to display next to the other apps you have in view. Each app can overlap one another and you can tap each app to switch between them and bring them to the front if they are overlapping.
Again, use the handle in the bottom corners of each app to resize them. In the same way you dragged an app into focus, you can move it back to the recent apps menu by pressing and dragging.
You can also combine apps into groups. So if you have two apps on screen and open a new app, you can see how the two apps that were previously on screen are now grouped in the recent apps list. You can bring them back into view at any time by clicking on them.
Finally you can also replace one of the apps on screen by clicking on the three dots, closing this app and then clicking on the three dots from one of the remaining apps and choosing Add Another App. If you click on a blank area of the screen you can choose an app from your Home Screen that isn’t already open.
So that is how to enable and use Stage Manager on your iPad. To be honest, I can’t see myself using this too often. It feels a bit gimmicky to me, and I don’t see how it differs all that much from using Split-Screen mode, which - as far as I can tell - offers pretty much the same features and has been available for some time.