Apple has clearly been listening to feedback with Stage Manager on iPadOS 16, with a 'close' button arriving in the latest beta, making it easier to manage your apps on iPad.
Stage Manager is Apple's newest attempt at solving multitasking on iPad. While it's only available on M1 iPads, such as the latest iPad Pro and iPad Air, it enables you to resize and place apps almost anywhere on the display, alongside being able to hook the tablet up to an external display.
However, there's been reports from developers, who have been trying out the betas of iPadOS 16, that the feature is less than ideal for now, with windows disappearing, icons poorly labeled, and apps crashing when being resized.
Yet beta 3 looks to be fixing these bugs, while making it easier for a user to close these apps, making us wonder if the public beta is coming soon.
Analysis: Stage Manager is good, not great, for now
If we're counting, this is the third attempt from Apple in looking at how multitasking works on the iPad. iOS 9 brought the ability to have two apps in a split-screen view, followed by iPadOS 13 bringing 'Slide Over', which would allow you to have an additional app 'float' on top of the two apps you were using.
It got to the point where users wondered if this was it for the iPad, especially as Apple had been pushing the idea that the tablet could do the same, or better, than a regular computer.
Updated multitasking menu in iPadOS 16 beta 3. All the options are labeled now. pic.twitter.com/ILriOaPwQcJuly 6, 2022
However, Stage Manager looks to solve it, and while it does bring benefits, there's still some work to do, but beta 3 is helping towards that.
At the top of every window in iPadOS, there are three dots, which can allow you to minimize the app, make it full screen, or open a new window of the same app.
Yet a lack of labels would previously confuse new users with this way of multitasking on iPad, but no more. Beta 3 clearly labels what these do, and, finally, there's an additional label to directly close a window.
That will quickly cut the steps in managing up to four apps that Stage Manager allows on an iPad, but there is a way to go. The feature still seems confusing, and the fact that there's an invisible grid when arranging windows, so apps don't place exactly where you want them to be, may add to some users' frustrations.
Regardless of this, we're still in the beta period, and feedback is crucial during this time when more refinements can occur. We wouldn't be surprised to see the public beta arrive soon, where more users can try this and iOS 16 out. For now though, it's encouraging that Apple is refining one of the biggest features to come to the iPad in years.