Apple’s expected to delay iPadOS 16 until the M2 iPad Pro

iOS 16 is ready for prime time and the iPhone 14 launch, but the iPad OS still needs more work

Stage Manager in iPadOS 16
(Image credit: Apple)

We're only a few weeks away from the launch of iOS 16, which will coincide with the (expected) launch of the iPhone 14. I've been using the beta versions of it and of iPadOS 16, the iPad version of Apple's mobile OS, and it's pretty obvious that while the iPhone version is in great shape the iPad one isn't. So I'm not entirely surprised to hear that Apple may have put back the release of iPadOS 16 to later this year, most likely until the M2 iPad Pro is ready.

The news comes via Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, who says that while the new OS for the iPhone and for the Apple Watch will still launch in September, iPadOS 16 isn't now coming until at least October. The reason? There are too many issues for Apple to fix in the next few weeks.

What's wrong with iPadOS 16?

In two words: Stage Manager. The new multitasking interface for M1-powered iPads such as the 2022 MacBook Air (it won't be available for older iPads with A-Series processors, presumably because of issues connecting to external displays, a key Stage Manager feature) has been getting a lot of lukewarm reviews from beta testers. It's buggy, it's only available to a select few iPad owners and the interface is pretty confusing. I'd agree with all three. I think the iPad's existing multi-tasking has a lot of room for improvement, but I'm not convinced Stage Manager is there yet.

Apple appears to have taken this on board and decided that its engineers have too much on their plate to get iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 ready for the same launch date in September. Instead, it apparently plans to put out the iPhone OS first and then get everybody onto the iPad OS to solve its problems. By tying it to the launch of the expected M2 iPad Pro in October, which is expected to be launched alongside a new, faster entry-level iPad with USB-C, Apple can avoid a potential PR disaster. Hell hath no fury like an Apple owner whose software doesn't "just work."

Stage Manager is also coming to Ventura, the next release of the macOS operating system, but that apparently isn't suffering from the same issues as its iPad equivalent. Ventura was apparently already scheduled for an October release.

If you don't mind risking beta software I think the iOS 16 Public Beta is really impressive and makes your iPhone feel a lot nicer, but the public beta on my iPad hasn't really introduced anything other than crashes and a few app issues. If I were you I'd steer clear of that one for now: it'll be in much better shape when it finally launches as a finished version.

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series; her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, was shortlisted for the British Book Awards. When she’s not scribbling, Carrie is the singer in Glaswegian rock band Unquiet Mind (unquietmindmusic).