With iPadOS 13 in 2019, Apple developed a separate operating system for the iPad that differed from the iPhone. The iPadOS is a tweaked version of the iPhone OS, with additional tools and features that support the way people use tablets. iPad OS 14 was released on 16 September 2020 and was updated to iPadOS 14.4 on 27 January 2021.

But when will iPadOS 15 arrive? In this article, we'll discuss what we know about the iPadOS 15 release date, which iPads will get it and what its best new features are.

iPadOS 15 announcement

iPadOS 15 and many of its features were announced at Apple’s WWDC keynote on 7 June, 2021.

iPadOS 15 release date

iPadOS 15 will be released in the autumn of 2021. But its developer beta will launch first, with a public beta following later in June or early July.

Will my iPad be able to get iPadOS 15?

Many iPads will be updated to iPadOS 15. Here's a full list of compatible devices:

  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (5th generation)
  • iPad Pro 11-inch (3rd generation)
  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (4th generation)
  • iPad Pro 11-inch (2nd generation)
  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd generation)
  • iPad Pro 11-inch (1st generation)
  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (2nd generation)
  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (1st generation)
  • iPad Pro 10.5-inch
  • iPad Pro 9.7-inch
  • iPad (8th generation)
  • iPad (7th generation)
  • iPad (6th generation)
  • iPad (5th generation)
  • iPad mini (5th generation)
  • iPad mini 4
  • iPad Air (4th generation)
  • iPad Air (3rd generation)
  • iPad Air 2

New features in iPadOS 15

Here are some of the best new features that were announced.

Widgets

Widgets are getting a big update. They can now be placed wherever you like on the home screen, among apps. They will come in a new, larger format to allow you to see documents, pics and more within each category at a glance. Find My, Contacts, Game Centre, App Store and Mail will all have new widgets.

The Contacts widget will allow you to contact friends and family with just a tap.

Widgets

App library 

The App Library is now on iPad and accessible from the dock. It'll reorganise your apps automatically into useful categories. You'll easily be able to hide apps you no longer use.

Multitasking features

There will be a new control at the top of the screen, allowing you to access a multitasking menu. Choose a multitasking layout and you'll get access to your Home Screen, where you can select apps to work from at the same time.

It will be possible to easily create a split screen view to display apps side-by-side. The App Switcher will allow you to create Split View spaces by simply dragging one app over another.

Split screen on the iPad

Quick Notes and Notes

There's a new feature called Quick Note that'll make taking and accessing Notes easier than ever. Just swipe up from the corner of the screen and you can jot down a note using the Apple Pencil or add links, Safari highlights, tags and mentions.

Quick Notes on your iPad will automatically be transferred to your iPhone and Mac.

If you highlight text in Safari, or add a link from an app, you'll see a Quick Note thumbnail the next time you visit the site. It can take you right back to what you were reading. 

Quick Note

If you tag a note with a hashtag symbol and a keyword, you can find it later in the tag browser. If you shared the note, you can use the Activity view to see what other people have added and notify them with mentions.

SharePlay and new FaceTime features

SharePlay lets you keep talking to people while you watch films or TV programmes together, or listen to music. You can even share your screen with your friends or family, so you can browse photos or websites together. 

FaceTime will also have a new grid view, so you can see everyone on a call at the same time. The new Spatial Audio features will make voices sound as though they're coming from their relative positions on the screen, allowing you to better follow a group conversation.  

Meanwhile, a new Portrait mode will put the focus on the speaker, not the background, and you can opt for Voice Isolation to minimise background noise.

You can also send links to connect on FaceTime - even to Windows or Android users.

Live Text

You'll be able to pull text from photos to copy, or add to emails. You can even call phone numbers directly from images.

Live Text understands seven languages: English, French, Chinese, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish.

The Visual Look Up tool will let you highlight objects and scenes in photographs so you can, for example, identify plants, landmarks and artworks.

Translate

Maps

There are plenty of new features on Maps, including redesigned city layouts that show elevation and key buildings. New transport features will display nearby stations and show train and bus times. You'll even be able to pin often-used routes. 

There's also a new, interactive globe.

Swift playgrounds

You can now build iPad apps on your iPad. Learn to code, build apps with SwiftUI and see live previews as you work. There is improved code completion, so you can start typing and add in a suggestion to your code.

You can then submit your work straight to the Apple Store.

Privacy

New privacy features give you more insight in what data apps access from you - and more protection, allowing you to choose what to share.