Image: Apple

With the new Stage Manager feature, Apple has devised a new way to handle multitasking, external displays, and the need for iPadOS users to resize and have multiple windows on the screen at the same time. This feature is not available on all iPads: You can only use Stage Manager on the iPad Air (5th generation), iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd generation and later) and iPad Pro 11-inch (1st generation and later).

Later this year, an update will allow Stage Manager to be used in conjunction with external display support coming to supported models of the iPad. These are available on the iPad Air (5th generation), iPad Pro 12.9-inch (5th generation and later) and iPad Pro 11-inch (3rd generation and later). They will allow an external display to be used in either mirrored or extended mode and allow windows to be dragged from the iPad screen to the external screen and arranged at-will.

Stage Manager is shaping up to be a killer new feature for the iPadOS and a welcome change for many professional users of the iPad as their main device. Let’s delve into how this feature can be activated, configured and used on a day-to-day basis.

How to activate Stage Manager

If you’re not already in Stage Manager mode on iPadOS, you need to enable it by doing the following:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Select Home Screen & Multitasking | Stage Manager.
  3. Enable the Use Stage Manager on iPad option (Figure A).

Figure A

Stage Manager can be activated and configured from the Settings app.

Once enabled, some additional settings reveal themselves in this page as well. You can choose to hide or show the Dock or hide or show the Recent Apps section. The Recent Apps is a small dock that appears on the left-hand side of the screen and shows recent apps to let you easily swap between them.

How to enable and disable Stage Manager

Once Stage Manager has been activated, you can easily turn the feature on or off at will by opening the Command Center — pulling down from the top right of the screen — then tapping on the Stage Manager icon. This method is quick if you ever need to disable it for a screen share or presentation.

How to resize and group apps using Stage Manager

The main feature of Stage Manager is the ability to resize and have multiple apps on the screen at the same time. You can do this by enabling the feature and then opening any app. To resize an app, grab the resizing indicator at the bottom right of the window and drag to resize the window (Figure B). Introduce a new window by tapping on an app in the Dock, Home Screen or Spotlight search, then resize it to your liking, adjusting the multiple windows on the screen.

Figure B

Stage Manager lets you easily add and arrange multiple windows on your iPad screen at the same time.

When you arrange multiple apps on the screen, you’re creating a grouping of those apps — when you go Home, open another app and then re-open the grouped app, the entire grouping will re-appear, essentially creating a productivity flow around those groups of apps.

You can ungroup a particular app by tapping or clicking on the three dots in the top center of the window and then selecting Minimize. This will close the window and remove it from the group. When you disable Stage Manager, windows that were grouped will go back to being in Split Screen mode, and single apps on the screen will be zoomed full screen.