Apple has big plans for its iPad Pro lineup. One such plan is to make its tablet a legitimate laptop replacement. And iPadOS 13 is a big part of making that happen. In reality, iPadOS 13 adds some new features that turn your iPad Pro a true laptop alternative.
With that in mind, we made a list of the best iPadOS 13 features that allow you to use your tablet as a proper computer. Note that iPadOS 13 is still in the early stages, meaning that it might include bugs and errors, so we recommend you install it on a secondary device.
Desktop Mode in Safari
Safari has been out there for years and serves as Apple’s number one web browsing platform. The Cupertino firm has been improving Safari since its initial release, making it better and smarter. In iPadOS 13, Safari gets a big update that helps it stand in line with Google Chrome and Firefox.
In iPadOS 13, Safari now acts as a desktop browser, rather than a bigger version of the mobile page. Indeed, Safari for iPad now shows the full desktop site, something you see in macOS. It also supports Picture-in-Picture mode, which is super cool.
To be honest, I am glad that Apple finally added a desktop mode to its iPad. The Safari UI was like a disaster to me as it contained the same minimal sites shown on my iPhone and Apple only stretched them to fit the larger screen.
In reality, the desktop mode works great in the first beta of iPadOS. All the websites that did have a size class for the tablet now work perfectly on my iPad Pro. However, some sites have not been updated yet to fit the desktop mode, which makes sense considering that this is just a developer beta.
Multiple Window Apps at Once
To make your iPad as a true laptop replacement, Apple finally added the ability to open multiple app instances for an app at the same time. This should come in handy as you now can view two documents side-by-side, allowing for more productivity.
In reality, iPadOS 13 now includes App Exposé, a cool feature that helps you monitor all open windows. To enable it, long-press on an app icon until you see a pop-up menu, then tap on Show All Windows and App Exposé will reveal all open instances for that app.
Safari Download Manager
Safari for iPad now has a built-in download manager, just like its macOS counterpart. That means you will be able to download your files straight to the local drive, without the need for a third-party download manager. This is a game changer in iPadOS 13 and iOS 13. I cannot believe Apple really added a download manager to Safari.
Step one: Open a webpage that contains a download link and tap on it
Step two: You will be asked to download the file and tap on the download button. Once you do it, a download button should show up in the top right corner of the Safari app, next to the URL field
Step three: Tap on it and you should see a list of all available downloads. The coolest part is that you now can download multiple files at once.
Step four: Once the download is complete, the file will show up in the Files app. From here, tap on the file to open it in a compatible app.
Apple did not announce mouse support at its keynote, but it is actually here in iPadOS 13. Basically, mouse support serves as an alternative to a touch point on the screen. You simply connect a USB mouse to your iPad and then use it for navigation.
To be honest, this is something we have been demanding for years and I’d love to see it in iPadOS. In reality, Apple iPad Pro already supports external keyboards, so that makes sense seeing that it will get mouse support.
New Home Screen
There is now a new home screen in iPadOS. Indeed, widgets now show up on the left side, next to all of your apps. From here, you can quickly check out news headlines, weather conditions, and upcoming events. The coolest part is that you now can pin your widgets from the Today View to the home screen. Just swipe left on the home screen to reveal all your widgets.
External Storage Devices in Files
One of the biggest changes in iPadOS is that you can plug external drives like disk drives and USB thumb drives into your iPad. All the files in your drive will show up in the Files app on your iPad and you can easily move them to another folder or share them with your friends or family.
This should come in handy especially for those who want to import photos from a digital camera into professional apps like adobe premiere elements or adobe light-room. One major drawback is that you will need an external drive with USB-C port, but your iPad can really replace your laptop.
With those features, iPad is closing the gap with Apple MacBook and Windows PCs out there. Of course, Apple iPad cannot fully replace your laptop, but it serves as a perfect alternative if you are looking for a MacBook-like experience on the go.
What do you think of iPadOS 13? Let us know in the comments below.