The apps we can’t wait to use with Stage Manager on iPadOS 16

Stage Manager in iPadOS 16
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If you’re an iPad user with an M1-equipped device, then multitasking is about to get a lot more useful with iPadOS 16.

Stage Manager, a new moniker given to Apple’s way of sending apps to the background so you can focus on one task while having another handy is different from the current option to split your screen or slide over an app so it takes up a portion.

It’ll extend to additional displays, too, and features resizeable windows. While the feature is also coming to macOS 13 Ventura, here are some of the best iPad apps we can’t wait to use when we get Stage Manager on our iPads.

What is Stage Manager?

iPadOS 16 two windows in Stage Manager

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Stage Manager is Apple’s new iPadOS 16 feature that lets you move app windows to one side of your screen so you can refer back to them at any time.

Apps can be kept in the sidebar for as long as they’re needed, and those in the foreground (active apps) can be resized in a similar way to macOS windows.

Users can also set apps up in a certain way, and Stage Manager will remember which windows were where when coming back to them. 

Apple’s Stock Apps

iPadOS 16 Stage Manager in multitasking view

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Stage Manager is likely to make it easier than ever to share content to messaging and email apps, starting with Messages and Mail.

While Mail itself is getting a whole bunch of new features, it’ll be easier than ever to take advantage of the iPad’s touch-first interface to grab images, text, and other files to just move them around.

Take a text app like Drafts, or Ulysses, for example. Sure, they offer impressive integrations with iPadOS as a whole, but it’ll arguably be a more enjoyable experience to just flick over to the side and dump whole loads of text in other apps.

Then there’s the Files app, which has always felt like a half-measure that’s not sure what it wants to be. Now, though, it can actually act more like a Finder window from Mac – always ready to receive data, documents, and anything else.

Notes and Research Apps

iPadOS 16 Stage Manager

(Image credit: Apple)

If you’ve ever used an iPad for research, you’ll know all too well the occasional rigmarole that comes with finding web pages or documents and trying to funnel them into the likes of, say, Obsidian.

Having the app, primed and ready, in Stage Manager makes it much easier to drop content straight in or manage complex links back and forth between pages and categories. Then there’s the potential it affords to “read later apps” such as Instapaper or RSS feed apps like Feedbin.

Imagine being able to run through your saved links, plucking out pieces of key information for a project you’re working on, and drop them right into the likes of Goodnotes to come back to later without a complex workflow.

On that note, Apple’s upcoming mind mapping app, Freeform, could be an ideal use case for Stage Manager, letting you collaborate in real-time while pulling in additional data and ideas from elsewhere.

Video apps

iPadOS 16 two windows in Stage Manager

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The joy of the iPad is that it’s just as much a device for play, as much as it is for work, and while picture-in-picture is fine for many users that want to catch up on their latest Netflix obsession, resizeable windows could make things much easier.

With Stage Manager, users will be able to set up a workspace where they can watch a show while chatting about it with a friend in Messages, or do some work while watching a video or two.

It’ll be interesting to see if Google lets YouTube play nicely, with the tech giant having an on/off relationship with picture-in-picture on Apple devices, but here’s hoping.

Calendar Apps

iPadOS 16

(Image credit: Apple)

While we’re fond of Fantastical here, it’d be fair to say that using any Calendar app on iPad at the moment is tricky. If your friend asks when you’re free, you need to gesture between apps, find the date, check it, then gesture all the way back.

Sure, the current multitasking setup works, too, but we’d much rather use Stage Manager to get an almost instant look before heading back.

Also, yes, it’s an Apple Stock app, but having the weather app finally on iPad should make it much easier to plan outdoor activities for the next few days.

“Pro” level editing apps

iPadOS 16 and Stage Manager with an external display

(Image credit: Apple)

Apple may not have ported Final Cut or Logic Pro to the iPad platform, but users of the likes of Ferrite, Lumafusion, or even Photoshop will find a lot to like with Stage Manager.

Being able to drag and drop audio files into Ferrite to edit a podcast, for example, is a lot easier if you can keep Files on your screen while you dig through your local storage or a connected cloud storage account, and the same can be said about importing multiple video files into Lumafusion to then organize on a timeline.

For Photoshop users, Stage Manager could be a game-changer. No longer will you need to fumble with the app’s importing features, and you’ll be able to drag and drop images and PNG files straight into the app for sorting later.

It’s the kind of workflow that’ll make a world of difference for creatives, removing the friction and workarounds that currently feel stifling on the platform.

Lloyd Coombes
Freelancer & Podcaster

Lloyd Coombes is a freelance tech and fitness writer for TechRadar. He's an expert in all things Apple as well as Computer and Gaming tech, with previous works published on TopTenReviews,, and Live Science. You'll find him regularly testing the latest MacBook or iPhone, but he spends most of his time writing about video games at Dexerto.

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