iPadOS 15, is it another letdown?

I came away from last night’s keynote with the feeling that iPadOS again did not get the upgrades that are needed to justify buying an M1 iPad Pro.

Most changes, though probably very nice, seem extensions of the current options.

  • Multitasking is improving, but is it really multitasking? Will my apps still cease all activity when they are in the background? (Is there even a “background” to speak of?

  • Split view now has buttons and a shelf: good improvement on current split view, and helpful. Since I rarely use split view… ¯_(ツ)_/¯

  • Safari is improving; nice and cool and all that. But it’s iteration not revolution. So again ¯_(ツ)_/¯

  • iPadOS now also has app library and more flexible widget placement… big ¯_(ツ)_/¯ Should have been there from last year

Thats it? No improved finder? no changes to network support? Nothing that takes the M1 iPad pro seriously?

They dropped the ball on iPadOS … again…

I was in the market for a new iPad, but will hold on to my 2018 iPad pro for a few more years and switch to an M series macbook instead. Guess for me it’s so long iPad lifestyle!


These are a lot of quality of life improvements. But there’s nothing ground breaking. It’s fine for most iPad users.

But I’m disappointed holding an iPad with 16GB of RAM. There’s still no background tasks. There’s no significant improvements for Files. There’s no mention if the 5GB per app limit is lifted.


Guess for me it’s so long iPad lifestyle!

For me too. I have tried to make iPad work and I love the portability but I keep bumping against so many basic things that frustrate me (text expansion being an important thing when you spend most of your days writing). I’ll try my best to wait for the new MBPs but a 13’ MBP is going to be my mobility machine from now on. iPad has its place in my workflow - I handwrite tons of notes - but beyond that I can’t view it as a serious computer.

(If it works for you, more power to you)


Notes improvement is not just an improvement but revolutionizes the way we can use Notes. I wish other Notes app can do what it can do.

Big user of Split View so this improvement eased the pain points I’m having with multitasking. But I agree, we need better background. I just lost a couple of brush strokes on the Affinity Designer I’m working on the other day due to multitasking.

Safari = I have multiple windows with different tabs on my iPad and on my Mac so this is a welcome improvement.

My only question here is, if the multitasking between Mac and iPad can work between an Intel Mac or does it requires an M1 Mac. Because when I work on projects, it does require both devices.

Apple takes a long time to iterate and improve that I bought the 16" MBP after doing an iPad Pro only lifestyle. Good improvement but still not enough.

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So did I. On the plus side it means the only advantage an 11” M1 iPad Pro would have over my 2020 model is a faster port. Mine has no problem editing 4K video and that’s the most I ask of it.

Not for me, an iPad is still all I need. But a lot of people are describing this year’s keynote as disappointing.

I tend to agree.

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I don’t think it was disappointing at all.

  • The multitasking improvements are more than I expected.
  • Widgets on the homescreen will be nice.
  • Having the App Library in the dock will make it a lot more useful than it is on the iPhone.
  • The Safari improvements are quite welcome.
  • Quick Note is interesting enough it may actually get me using Apple Notes for certain things.
  • Being able to write SwiftUI apps on the iPad is a really big deal, long term.

“Nice” doesn’t help me know how long it will take for a file to transfer from my iPad. And I’ve used multitasking on it long enough that I no longer need training wheels.
But I’m old and jaded :older_man:t2: and Apple’s reality distortion field hasn’t worked on me in years. So I prefer more steak and less sizzle.

Have a good one. I have to go run some kids out of my yard. :wink:


That’s fixed! See below note in my list.

I’m with Chris, didn’t find the announcements disappointing at all.

One thing to point out about those that are discussing background tasks. I suspect that while not announced we will find improvements with the new iPads. I’ve already seen mention that copying files no longer fails in the background even on iPadOS 14 though I’ve not tested myself. Earlier iPads with 4 or 6GB of memory will likely fail at certain tasks that 8 and 16GB of memory will be able to complete. iPadOS is efficient with less ram but it still has limits. Moving forward I expect 8 and 16 will do far more, especially 16. After 2 weeks with the 2021 Pro with 8GB of memory the only time I’ve seen reloads of content were restarts. In that regard it’s been fantastic.

Getting back to what was announced, again, agreed with Chris!

  • I’ll say too that I’m actually generally fairly happy with the multitasking as is or at least with the model used. The improvements announced fix the couple of things that bothered me, primarily, being able to change and create split screen pairs while in multitasking view. I’m not somebody that was wishing for a radical re-write of how it works.
  • Federico V tweeted a screenshot of Files app copying files with a new progress indicator in the beta. So, that’s one fix many mentioned and one of my complaints about Files.
  • Quick Note looks to be a real game changer.
  • The new machine learning features that will recognize text and objects in images much of which will now be surfaced in Spotlight.
  • Agreed with Chris on his other mentions.

One thing I’ll note about the new App Library in the dock, I already keep all my apps in one folder on the dock. I have a keyboard attached much of the time and just use Spotlight to open apps which is super fast. If I’m not using the keyboard I can just open that folder from the dock, even with an app open full screen, and drag the new app down to a split screen or just open it. It works really well already.

I’m actually someone that stopped using the Mac 4 years ago and as the hardware and iPadOS have gotten better at a faster rate than Mac OS and it’s hardware for most of that time, I’m quite happy. Sure there are some changes I’d still like to see such as improved Mail, indexing of files content, etc, I was really happy using my IPad before yesterday and will be even more so in when I start using iPadOS 15.


I mentioned this in my post above but there are users of 2021 iPad Pro reporting that even with the current iPadOS 14 background file transfers are not failing like they did with previous iPad Pros with less memory. I’ve not tested that specifically but can definitely say that the 8GB of memory has been a fantastic improvement on background tasks in terms of Safari tabs and other app content. Where Affinity Designer would previously need to reload it now does not. All other apps I’ve used in the past two weeks are the same. All that to say that even the move to 8GB of memory seems to be a very big improvement.

Also, I mentioned above the Federico V tweeted an image of a new beta progress indicator for file copy. So, that at least seems to have been added. But that also means that it’s possible we will be seeing additional fixes/changes to Files in the next few days and weeks as all the additional changes filter out. I think we forget that the main WWDC keynote does not cover all the changes. There could be and likely are other improvements to Files and other details such as improved background tasks, especially with the new 2021 Pro iPads.


Yes I’ve seen improvements in Files on 14.5 as well with the 16GB of RAM. The usual transfers don’t get dropped. But ultimately it failed when copying 100GB+ of videos to external SSDs. The progress bar in 15 is sure a good improvement.

The issue is that while with 8/16GB of RAM, more apps can be kept in the background, they can’t really do anything in the background.

Another big limitation was that a third party app can only request up to 5GB of RAM even on the 16GB model, compared to 4.5GB on the last year’s 6GB model. This basically means the M1 iPad Pros don’t offer much real life improvements in pro apps like Procreate or LumnaFusion. And it doesn’t make much sense either as Apple is actively listing RAM configurations on M1 iPad models.


Good to know. Now if better support for external monitors is hidden in the update my WWDC wish list is complete.

I’m Mac free these days also. My 2018 mini died and since it was only doing backups and file management I replaced it with a sub $300 Win10 Pro PC. I spent much of my working life managing tech so I never needed a powerful computer. Anything with email and the ability to connect to the systems I managed was about all I needed. But I returned to the Mac when they adopted OSX and stayed with it until last month. Now with virtually everything available in the cloud I can choose whatever device I want to connect to it. And the iPad is my hands down favorite.

Other than the dock I only have six apps on my Home Screen, everything else is already in folders with room to spare. So I guess I need to start looking for wallpaper to brighten up all that empty real estate I’ll have when the App Library arrives.

For me, the M1 processors on iPad will help Apple’s R&D focus on building 1 processor instead of building an X version of their iPhones processors.
I do not see them bringing iPadOS on bar to macOS.

Over the last couple of years, I tried to get iPad working for me as a developer, and it is lagging by years. I love the iPad as a content consumption device, but I can’t be doing any serious work on it.

Yeah, for certain tasks like video exports that would be important. I rarely work in video or any other app that really requires any kind of active background activity. The most I do in that regard is exporting design documents to PDF which only takes seconds.

That said, it seems likely that going forward third party memory limits will be lifted up at some point in the not too distant future.

Is it really a good idea to have unlimited background tasks as you do on a Mac? Apple designed the iPad to be a mobile first device. Macs came from a world of computers that were always plugged in. Until the M1, battery life on a MacBook was 3-4 hours. iPad has been 10 hours plus from the beginning.

I have to use something like TripMode when tethering my MacBook to my iPhone, otherwise MacOS might decide to download some 2 GB file in the background.

Some of the discussions around iPadOS and Mac make it sound like there would be zero tradoffs in bringing the full power of a Mac to a portable device. I hope Apple continues their cautious approach so I can continue to have this amazing portable device that lets me do most of what I need.

Also my father used to have a MacBook and he never mastered it. I convinced him to buy an iPad a few years ago and he is much happier. So the complexity of a Mac is something we might be comfortable with, but there is a much larger user base that is not.


When they were done with iPadOS I had two thoughts:

  1. Nice tweaks, but after the M1 announcement I was expecting more.
  2. MacSparky is going to lose his mind. I can’t wait to hear the next episode!

I think it would be good if it were configurable. Basically a Settings screen where you could say “no, really, I WANT DEVONthink to be able to sync data all day. Really. It’s okay.” Maybe gate it with some scare text about how this will be a Bad Thing for battery life if you’re not careful.

So the average user would never even know it was there, but pros who know what they want running as background processes could enable it selectively.


It should be a privilege/entitlement that the developers can apply for, just like iCloud or Health Data.

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I’m fine with the announcements. I have no idea how to explain to people that iPad is super creative and productive as is. I’m glad people who insist it’s not have m1 laptops they can use.


I don’t even try. I spent nearly 3 decades working with people who “will never use a mouse”, or “don’t need that new software”, and “didn’t do anything” when their computer settings “just changed”. Some people adapt to change easier than others. And some never do.

When asked how I can use an iPad as my only computer, I tell them “All I need to do on a computer is . . . then I list things that most individuals do and several things they probably don’t”