You no longer need an M1 iPad to use Stage Manager but don't expect external display support

Stage Manager on iPad Pro with iPadOS 16
(Image credit: Bryan M. Wolfe / iMore)

If you were angry that your current iPad couldn't use Stage Manager, you're in luck. The new iPadOS 16 developer beta allows the feature to run on older iPad Pros.

In June at WWDC, when Apple announced all the new software for its devices, iPadOS 16 was turning a lot of heads because of its new multitasking feature, Stage Manager. But, curious minds turned to frustrated ones when Apple clarified that the new feature would only be capable of running on M1 iPads. That meant the feature was not available to you unless you had an iPad Pro (2021) or an iPad Air 5. Today, that's all changed, but there are a few important caveats to know about.

It seems that the iPadOS 16 beta only allows the feature to run on the 2018 and 2020 iPad Pro models. Those models are powered by the A12X and A12Z chips (respectively) and currently seem to be the only older models compatible with Stage Manager in the new beta.

Apple provided Engadget with a statement about the change:

"We introduced Stage Manager as a whole new way to multitask with overlapping, resizable windows on both the iPad display and a separate external display, with the ability to run up to eight live apps on screen at once. Delivering this multi-display support is only possible with the full power of M1-based iPads. Customers with iPad Pro 3rd and 4th generation have expressed strong interest in being able to experience Stage Manager on their iPads. In response, our teams have worked hard to find a way to deliver a single-screen version for these systems, with support for up to four live apps on the iPad screen at once."

On top of only running on some fairly recent iPad Pro models, the older iPad Pros won't have the ability to use Stage Manager with an external monitor and will only function on the iPad screen itself. It looks like Apple has been trying to find ways to bring the highly-anticipated feature to more users but can't do so without some cuts to functionality. Still, this is excellent news for 2018 or 2020 iPad Pro users, knowing they don't have to needlessly upgrade their best iPad to access Stage Manager.

External display support for Stage Manager delayed for iPadOS

The other big news coming about iPadOS is that external display support for Stage Manager on M1 iPads is getting disabled and will be reintroduced as an update later this year.

Stage Manager on an external display has been a frustrating experience since the launch of the first beta earlier this year, and it seems Apple finds it prudent to completely take the feature away and develop it further.

No exact date was given on when M1 iPad Pro users can expect iPadOS 16 to get external display support for Stage Manager. The official release of iPadOS 16 is expected to come out sometime in October. 

Luke Filipowicz
Staff Writer

Luke Filipowicz has been a writer at iMore, covering Apple for nearly a decade now. He writes a lot about Apple Watch and iPad but covers the iPhone and Mac as well. He often describes himself as an "Apple user on a budget" and firmly believes that great technology can be affordable if you know where to look. Luke also heads up the iMore Show — a weekly podcast focusing on Apple news, rumors, and products but likes to have some fun along the way. 

Luke knows he spends more time on Twitter than he probably should, so feel free to follow him or give him a shout on social media @LukeFilipowicz.