iPadOS 14 release date, features and compatibility details

Apple has announced iPadOS 14, its newest operating system for iPads, so we now know the original iPadOS wasn't a one-off and Apple will continue to provide bespoke software updates to its tablets.

iPadOS, released in 2019, was a forked version of iOS which had a few features designed just for iPads, and iPadOS 14, its successor (announced at the same time as iOS 14, as the original iPadOS was a version of iOS 13) brings even more tweaks that'll hopefully improve your iPad experience.

When we say Apple 'has' announced iPadOS 14, we mean Apple is currently unveiling the new operating system as part of WWDC 2020, its annual conference where it details its new software for the year. If you're reading this, it means iPadOS is being unveiled this second.

We're updating this article live as we hear more information including iPadOS 14 features, which iPads will be compatible and when the update, or its beta, will drop. Before then, though, we've detailed all the leaks and rumors we've heard about iPadOS 14 before its announcement, so (temporarily) move your mouse or finger from the refresh button on your browser and take a read.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? Apple's next big update for iPads
  • When is it out? Likely around September, but with a beta before
  • How much will it cost? Nothing

iPadOS 14 release date and availability

iPadOS 14 will almost definitely be free – software updates from Apple, and all other tech companies for that matter, generally don't cost a thing, so if you've got a compatible iPad you'll only be paying for the internet and electricity iPadOS takes to download.

We're not as sure of when iPadOS 14 will drop, however, as while Apple's software is generally unveiled at WWDC, it's usually only released when the iPhone of the year is (which this year would be the iPhone 12). However the Covid-19 pandemic has allegedly caused that to be pushed back, and we're not sure by how much, so we could see iPadOS 14 released at any point from then to the end of the year or perhaps even 2021.

An iPadOS 14 beta could be released before then though, and it's possible one will be unveiled after WWDC 2020 – we'll let you know if it is. This will be a preliminary version of the update that keen users can download to test out.

Apple iPad Pro 2020

iPadOS 14 compatibility

An official iPadOS 14 compatibility list hasn't been officially announced yet, but we'll update you when we find out which tablets will get the update.

Until then, we'll share the list of tablets iPadOS 13 worked on. We'd expect iPadOS 14 to come to most of these, save perhaps for one or two of the oldest, and it's very likely the new iPad Pro (2020) will be added too, as well as any possible future iPads like the iPad Air 4.

iPadOS 14 features

The following features are ones Apple has confirmed are coming to iPadOS 14.

The first new feature Apple mentioned for iPadOS 14 is improvements for its own apps – it used Photos as an example, and mentioned Notes and Files too – which adds a sidebar to improve navigation, in the same way macOS has a bar on the side that shows all the menus available.

Everything below this point is based on rumors and leaks. We'll be updating this article as things are confirmed on stage, so please check back soon for even more information.

So far, most leaks and rumors refer to iOS 14 rather than iPadOS 14, but in many cases the features and updates will be the same. There are however a few iPadOS-specific leaks. You’ll find both below, split into categories.

iPadOS 14 Apple Pencil

On the subject of leaks specific to iPadOS, 9to5Mac has learned that iPadOS 14 might include full support for Apple Pencil input on websites, meaning you’d be able to use all its abilities – tapping, scrolling, drawing, and markup, from a web browser.

This information came from an early build of iOS 14, but with no Apple Pencil for iPhone yet, this is surely an iPad feature.

Elsewhere, MacRumors has obtained information suggesting that the Apple Pencil will be able to convert handwritten text into typed text.

iPadOS 14 interface

Widgets could become far more prominent with iPadOS 14, as early iOS 14 code suggests that you might be able to put them on the home screen, rather than just a side panel. And while this leak refers to the iPhone, it’s a feature that would arguably be even more useful on the big screen of an iPad – and bring it a step closer to Android.

Wallpapers might also become more customizable, with options for dynamic, flat, or gradient ones found in the code.

iPadOS 14 apps

One aspect of apps that could change is the ability to set your own defaults. So for example rather than Safari opening when you tap on a web link, you could set it so Chrome would. This claim comes from Bloomberg, which adds that Apple is simply discussing this possibility, so don’t count on it happening.

You might also be able to use apps without installing them. A new feature called Clips has been spotted in iOS 14 code, and this would let you, for example, watch a YouTube video without downloading YouTube.

Yelp, DoorDash, OpenTable, and PS4 Second Screen were also mentioned in the code, and it’s thought that you’d be able to use this feature either by tapping on a link for an app you don’t have, or scanning a relevant QR code. Of course, to get full functionality you’d still need to install the app.

Elsewhere meanwhile evidence has been found of a translator being built into the next version of Safari, so web pages can automatically be translated.

The Messages app could also get a big boost, with new features like the option to retract messages, mark messages as unread even when you’ve read them, see typing indicators, and tag people’s names in group chats, all being tested according to MacRumors.

There might also be a new augmented reality app, which, according to 9to5Mac, would allow users to hold their iPad or iPhone up and get more information about the world around them as viewed through the camera, with a particular focus seemingly being on getting product information in stores.

iPadOS 14 Siri

Apple tends to update Siri with each new version of its mobile and tablet operating systems, and we’d expect iPadOS 14 will be no exception.

We haven’t heard much about how it might be updated, but one possibility, according to MacRumors, is the ability for developers to make their own custom voice synthesizers for it, which might enable additional languages to be supported without Apple programming them, and may even allow for new, custom Siri voices.

iPadOS 14 health and fitness

Health and fitness isn’t typically a big part of the iPad experience, but we have heard – via MacRumors – that Apple might be working on a new app called ‘Fit’ or ‘Fitness’, which would offer guided workout videos that could be viewed on your iPad (or iPhone or Apple TV), while an Apple Watch component could track your progress through each workout.

iPadOS 14 other features

One other thing we’ve heard about iOS 14 is that it might bring system-wide support for mouse cursors.

iPadOS 13 already has mouse support, but currently you have to enable it in accessibility settings, and it doesn’t feature all the mouse abilities you get on Mac, such as mouse cursor designs that can change based on what is being hovered over. With iPadOS 14, according to 9to5Mac, you’ll get the full desktop experience, at least on the mouse front.

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