The 5 most important features in iPadOS 14

iPadOS 14 Music
iPadOS 14 Music (Image credit: Apple)

Apple announced iPadOS 14 during its WWDC 2020 keynote, full of new features for iPad fans and new users alike. While there's a lot to be excited about, there's a small handful of really important updates coming to the iPad that you should know about.

From handwriting recognition to built-in translation in Safari, these are the five most important updates coming with iPadOS 14 when it launches in the fall.


Scribble (Image credit: Apple)

Maybe the single coolest feature to come out of Apple's WWDC announcements. Scribble lets you write in any text field, then watch as your handwriting is automatically converted into text. This can be used in both first- and third-party apps, and you can even easily delete text by scratching it out with your Pencil.


Search (Image credit: Apple)

Search has received a big overhaul in iPadOS 14. It now looks a lot more like Spotlight on the Mac, even hovering over your iPad screen when invoked, rather than taking over the whole screen. Results are a lot faster now, and suggestions pop up after just a few characters are typed.

Sidebar (Image credit: Apple)

A lot of Apple's first-party apps are getting makeovers, and a lot of those updates center around the inclusion of sidebars and pull-down menus. Sidebars show up now in apps like Photos and Music in ways that enhance the experience immensely, making apps not only easier to navigate, but better to use with tools like trackpads.


Safari (Image credit: Apple)

This next bit is coming to the iPhone, too, but it's just as important on iPad. Safari is seeing several meaningful updates. Not only is the web browsers faster now thanks to an enhanced Javascript engine and other improvements, but Apple is adding in-app translation for seven different languages right to Safari. You'll also be able to see just what web elements are trying to invade your privacy thanks to Safari's new Privacy Report, which sits just to the left of the address bar.


Note (Image credit: Apple)

Notes, with a little help from Scribble, is getting some big updates in iPadOS 14. You'll now be able to select your hand-written notes just like you would typed text (using the same gestures, too), and copy them as text. You can then paste them in any text field. Notes also supports creating smart shapes using the Apple Pencil. This lets you and draw a shape, then keep holding the Apple Pencil to the screen to see that shape become a straight, professional-looking one. You'll also find that Notes supports data detectors for addresses, dates, and other data in handwritten text.

What are you looking forward to in iPadOS 14?

iPadOS 14 has a lot of exciting features coming beyond what I've talked about here. What are you most looking forward to? Let us know in the comments.

Joseph Keller

Joseph Keller is the former Editor in Chief of iMore. An Apple user for almost 20 years, he spends his time learning the ins and outs of iOS and macOS, always finding ways of getting the most out of his iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac.