Apple confirms iPadOS 16 will arrive later than iOS 16

It will skip a public release of iPadOS 16.0 and go straight to version 16.1 this fall.

Nathan Ingraham / Engadget

Apple has confirmed reports that it will shake up the typical rollouts for its major operating system updates this year. For the first time in years, the company will not release the public build of the new iPadOS at the same time as the next iOS. It's expected that iOS 16 will arrive soon after Apple's usual September iPhone event. However, the company says it will release the next iPadOS sometime this fall instead.

What's more, it won't offer iPadOS 16.0 to everyone — the company will go right to iPadOS 16.1 for the public build. It's unclear whether Apple plans to release iOS 16.1 and iPadOS 16.1 simultaneously to get them back on the same cadence.

“This is an especially big year for iPadOS. As its own platform with features specifically designed for iPad, we have the flexibility to deliver iPadOS on its own schedule," Apple told TechCrunch. "This fall, iPadOS will ship after iOS, as version 16.1 in a free software update.”

The company made the announcement just as it released the iPadOS 16.1 beta. The showpiece feature of iPadOS this year is Stage Manager, a multitasking tool for M1-powered iPads that allows users to have more control over windows. The idea is that you'll be able to resize and overlap them as you see fit.

In the first iPadOS 16 beta, Stage Manager was unpolished. In our preview, we deemed it to be a buggy experience that occasionally crashed an iPad that was plugged into an external display. As TechCrunch notes, the main changes in the iPadOS 16.1 beta are for Stage Manager. Here's hoping this build fixes some of the feature's teething problems.

Bloomberg previously reported that Apple would delay iPadOS 16 to resolve the Stage Manager issues. The publication suggested the OS would arrive in October, which fits with Apple's fall timeframe. Meanwhile, it's believed that Apple will release macOS Venture in October. For what it's worth, we have found Stage Manager to be a far better experience on desktop than iPad this far.