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How to Use Your iPad's Coolest New Feature

Stage Manager is a new multi-tasking feature for Apple's higher-end iPads. Here's how to make it useful for you.

ipad stage manager feature
Tucker Bowe

Stage Manager is one of the exciting features to come to Apple's iPad line in years. Introduced in iOS 16.1, Stage Manager is a new multi-tasking feature — or rather, a multi-tasking mode — that allows to have multiple apps open and easily accessible at any given time.

When Stage Manager is turned, the apps you're using no longer take up your iPad's entire screen. Instead, each of your apps turns into a resizable window that you can have formatted into various different sizes and even overlap each other. It essentially enables your iPad to have a more Mac-like experience as you can have more apps viewable on your screen.

Which iPads support Stage Manager?

Of course, not every iPad is able to take advantage of Stage Manager. It's exclusively available on Apple's higher-end tablets. If you've bought a new iPad Pro in the last few years, there's a good chance it supports Stage Manager. Same is true with the iPad Air.

  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd generation and later)
  • iPad Pro 11-inch (1st generation and later)
  • iPad Air (5th generation)

    How to turn on Stage Manager

    ipad stage manager feature
    Tucker Bowe

    If you have a supported iPad and it's running iPadOS 16.1 (or later), Stage Manager is turned off by default. However, you can easily turn on Stage Manager from the Control Center or the Settings app. Here's how:

    1. Unlock your iPad.
    2. Open the Control Center (Swipe down from the top-right corner of your screen).
    3. At the bottom of the Control Center, select the Stage Manager button.

      You can also turn Stage Manager on from the Settings apps.

      1. Unlock your iPad.
      2. Open the Settings app.
      3. Select "Home Screen & Multitasking."
      4. Select the Stage Manager option and then toggle it on.

        How to Use Stage Manager

        ipad stage manager feature
        Tucker Bowe

        When turned on, Stage Manager essentially divides your apps into three parts — the main area (screen), the Dock (at the bottom) and a new Sidebar (on the left side of the display) — and none of them take up your iPad's entire display.

        The main area is populated by the app that you have open and are currently using. The Dock is populated with your favorite apps (like iMessage, Mail, Safari and more). And the Sidebar is populated with the last several apps that you had been using.

        You can replace the app that's in the main area (taking up most of your screen) by selecting an app that's in either the Dock or the Sidebar. This is a little different than if you were to open another app on a Mac, as it new app would overlap or appear alongside the app you already had opened instead of replacing it.

        However, you can drag apps from either the Dock or the Sidebar into the main area and they'll overlap each other. You can have a maximum of four apps open in the main area at one time while Stage Manager is on.

        How to Turn Off the Sidebar and Dock

        ipad stage manager feature
        Tucker Bowe

        While using Stage Manager, you can drag multiple apps into the main area and it'll make the Sidebar disappear so that you have more screen real estate. You can manually disable the Sidebar and the Dock if you want to have even more real estate.

        1. Open the Control Center (Swipe down from the top-right corner of your screen).
        2. Press and hold down the Stage Manager button.
        3. Deselect the check marks where the Sidebar and Dock are shown.

          When turned off, you can easily access the Dock and Sidebar by swiping up from the bottom and side, respectively.

          How to Make an App Fullscreen

          ipad stage manager feature
          Tucker Bowe

          You can resize any app in the main area by pressing and dragging the bottom-right corner of the window (the tiny black curved line). And move around, minimize or make any app go into a fullscreen mode. Here's how:

          1. Select the app that you want to take fullscreen while Stage Manager is turned on.
          2. Select the three dots at the top-center of the app window.
          3. Select fullscreen.

            One of the coolest and most helpful things about Stage Manager is that you can have a three-way split where you have three apps take up the entire screen. To do this, all you have to do have the three apps and resize them (by dragging) so that each takes the entire screen.

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