iPadOS - some impressions

Tuesday, July 16, 2019 at 9:00 PM UTC

I installed the first public beta of iPadOS (aka iOS 13) on my iPad Pro 9.7 to test it. The first wave was a bit disappointing due to crashes and some apps not working with it (e.g. Evernote). I really enjoyed the dark mode though. The new „Today“ widget wasnˋt one of the favorite things. It seems a bit strange to have something else on the desktops other than apps or groups. At least you can hide it but when you see it, it is too small for my taste. With the second beta Evernote started to work again. There wasn’t an update of the app itself so I guess the OS had some substantial fixes that affected this app. iA writer also has some issues but not too serious. At this point I also dared to install iPadOS on my new iPad Pro 12.9. Time flies and so the final version is already around the corner. So far it works well.

What´s new

Dark mode. It’s so nice to have it all around the system and in some dedicated apps. Some non-Apple apps also support it. In the end it’s just light text on dark ground.

New Today widget. It’s not on a dedicated space anymore but integrated on your first home space beside the icons. I do not like it that way but I will get used to it probably.

Files can now be used from external devices - yeah! Not that I had a use case for it at any time before as I heavily use the iCloud, but to have that option is really nice. You just have to make sure you can connect your external SSD or USB stick via a dongle (whether it be Lightning or USB C in my case).

Mouse support. Yes, seriously. You can now connect a bluetooth mouse to your device and use it almost like you do on your laptop. You have to enable „assistive touch“ in the accessibility settings to use it which isn’t optimal but it works. I use it to control my Windows desktops via RDP and it works better than expected. There is no right-mouse-button though, so you have to use a long press to execute it. I would appreciate the opposite behavior - right mouse button executes a long press. Maybe we see that in the final version.

Find your device. Fortunately I never had to use that function. Instead of using the iCloud function you now have a dedicated app to find your Apple devices. Might be helpful but hopefully is never used.

Split screen with multitasking got an update. You can now have several apps open on one screen with overlays containing other apps. Those „configurations“ are treated like apps in the multitask overview. This means you can also have more than one instance of an app open. It only depends on how the app is used. This is very helpful and convenient especially on a larger screen.

What’s missing

Apple removed the zoom function within texts when selecting or navigating to a word or within words. I really miss this feature as correcting texts is very difficult right now. I hope they put it back at some time. This is very annoying. As Theo Heselmans commented below you can use the two finger gesture instead to navigate through your texts. Thanks for the hint!


iPadOS is a step in the right direction. To have a dedicated OS for the iPad brings some additional functionality to your device in addition to an iPhone for example. The fact that iOS apps also appear on macOS with Catalyst shows the goal: code once, run anywhere. I really hope iOS ideas will win as some of the latest macOS „inventions“ are questionable.

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Theo Heselmans wrote on 17.07.2019, 07:15

Thanks for the review. I’ve been bitten once using beta iOS on my production machines, so I’ll wait for the final release.

But good to read a review.

For text editing I use the two finger trackpad feature a lot on my iPad. I find it easier than using zoom.

Works on iPhone too (long press).

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