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iPadOS 18 wishlist: What I want to see and what we know so far

Early rumors suggest this could be one of the biggest updates in years.
By

Published onMarch 11, 2024

Apple iPad Pro M2 2022 display 2
Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

There’s little denying that iPads are the best tablets around, especially in terms of app support. Although I prefer Android phones, I’ll admit my household has a combination of Android and iPad tablets. While the tablet experience on Android has improved a little in recent years, the reality is that it still trails behind iPadOS in many ways. There’s a lot to like about iPadOS 17, and odds are the experience will only get better in 2024 with the next iteration.

While it’s too early to know what the next version of iPadOS will look like, I’ve put together a wishlist for what I want to see from iPadOS 18, alongside everything we currently know from the latest rumors.

Homescreen and Control Center redesign

Apple iPad Pro M2 2022 display 1
Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

Today’s most powerful iPads are nearly equal to many laptops, making them great for productivity and entertainment. Unfortunately, users are still limited in what they can do with their devices, which holds the iPad back a little. While iPadOS has become more customizable over the years, the home screen remains stuck in the past.

Despite the larger real estate on the iPad, you have no control over how the apps are arranged. This feels restrictive for those of us who like to group things into different home screen pages or want to place certain types of apps in different corners. For example, on my Windows 11 setup, I always have a row of single icons to the left that are all about gaming, and another to the right that has productivity tools. I’d like to see a complete redesign of the home screen with an adjustable app grid and the ability to place icons anywhere you wish.

The iPadOS home screen feels way too restrictive for a device that is technically capable of replacing a laptop.

While we are at it, the Control Center is long overdue for a redesign. I’d like to see it take a few cues from the Mac control center, albeit with more touch-friendly tweaks. I also want to see it run in the background as a pop-up, as opposed to how it currently works. Right now, if you are in the Control Center the rest of the display becomes completely disabled.

Stage Manager for all

Apple iPad Pro M2 2022 stage manager
Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

Stage Manager is currently limited to the Pro series and the iPad Air (5th gen). Many criticized this decision in the past, claiming the move was largely designed to get people to buy a new iPad with an M series processor. Others defended Apple and said that older iPads couldn’t handle the experience well due to weaker processors and less RAM. Nonetheless, it is likely iPadOS will drop support for some older models and iPads are only getting more and more capable with each year. Now might be the perfect time to bring Stage Manager to more iPad models.

Audio Output selector

While this might seem like a minor issue, I would appreciate the ability to select my audio output. For example, we have an iPad Pro that we use for light productivity, mostly for my kid’s school work and reports.

I will sometimes hook up the device to a monitor and when I do it will automatically use the monitor for audio. However, the built-in monitor speakers are distorted and fuzzy. It would be nice if I could switch the output to the iPad Pro instead. I know I can’t be the only one who desires this option.

Full desktop class Safari, please!

Apple Safari on iPhone stock photo 1 reupload
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

I realize that modern Apple devices like the iPad Pro already have so-called desktop-class apps but I still think there’s room to improve. More and more folks are using their iPads as true desktop replacements, and that means they need to be as flexible as possible. We need to move developed apps that truly feel like equivalents to the Mac versions. For Safari, that would mean adding plug-in support, more robust file downloads, and a few other small changes.

AI features

ios siri on screen

A new trend has started to emerge over the last year or so: hardware progression is starting to slow a little while software becomes a bigger focus. A large driving force behind this software change is AI. We’ve seen Samsung and Google enhance their takes on Android using AI already, now it’s hopefully Apple’s turn.

Siri is woefully out of date and feels behind the times when compared to Gemini, ChatGPT, and other more advanced solutions. It was arguably already behind when compared to Google Assistant, for that matter. This needs to change, though thankfully evidence suggests it soon will.

There have been rumors suggesting iOS 18 will get a major Siri upgrade, likely based on the rumored AppleGPT. It’s also likely that iOS 18 will get AI improvements to its camera software, onboard apps, and even throughout the UI. While none of the early rumors have said whether these features will come to iPadOS 18, it seems like a pretty foregone conclusion.

True multi-user support

Apple iPad Pro M2 2022 display apps
Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

The iPad Pro is a reasonably decent laptop replacement for some tasks, but one major limiting factor is the lack of true multi-user support. While Apple does have a shared iPad mode, that’s more for educational institutes or businesses and not something geared toward the average person. I think it is high time Apple adds true multi-account support and there’s no technical reason why.

Honestly, greed is the obvious reason, though I’m sure Apple would tell you it’s for device security or something. It’s worth noting that multi-user support is common on other mobile devices running Android or even forks like Fire OS.


iPadOS 18 expected release date

Although we don’t have an official iPadOS 18 release date yet, history tells us it will arrive alongside iOS 18 sometime in September. That won’t be the first time we see iPadOS 18 though, as it is also all but guaranteed that it’ll be formally announced this June at WWDC.

Will there be an iPadOS 18 beta?

Yes, unless Apple changes its current strategy, there will be an iPadOS 18 beta. Typically, the first previews are specific to developers only and are often released shortly after WWDC. Public betas usually arrive a month or so after that.

iPadOS 18 rumored features

Apple iPad Pro M2 2022 in Magic Keyboard
Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

Other than a rumor that we’ll address in the next section around compatibility, there haven’t been any rumors specific to iPadOS 18 just yet. That doesn’t mean we are completely in the dark, as a lot of the iOS 18 rumors apply here as well.

According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, iOS 18 will be a major upgrade. “Apple is banking on the software to sell people on the new models,” he is quoted saying. This lines up with other iOS 18 rumors suggesting AI will play a massive role in the upgrade. Not only is Siri expected to get some much-needed improvements, but it’s likely Apple will follow Samsung and Google’s example by lightly spreading AI to other parts of the OS as well.

While these changes only mention iOS 18, it seems logical that many of these upgrades will make their way to iPadOS 18. AI is here to stay, and it’s clear it will be making its way to more and more software products, with even Windows 12 rumored to get a major AI upgrade.

iPadOS 18 compatibility

According to a rumor originally shared on X from a fairly reliable source, iOS 18 will drop support for iPad models equipped with the A10X Fusion chip. If this rumor proves correct this means  iPadOS 18 will likely support the following models:

  • iPad 2020 or newer
  • iPad Mini 2019 or newer
  • iPad Air 2019 or newer
  • iPad Pro 2018 or newer

It’s honestly not surprising to hear Apple is allegedly preparing to drop the A10X Fusion chip from support and this actually bodes well for some of my wishes on the list, as all the more recent chipsets should be more than capable of handling improved AI features, Stage Manager, and more.