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iPadOS 14 Debuts – New iPad-Only Features Including New Apple Pencil Handwriting Features

iPadOS 14 Debuts – New iPad-Only Features Including New Apple Pencil Handwriting Features

Apple today unveiled during its WWDC 2020 Keynote, iPadOS 14, the upcoming new version of its iPad mobile operating system. iPadOS 14 bring made-for-iPad app designs, compact UIs for Siri, Search, and calls, new handwriting features with Apple Pencil, and more.

Enhanced App Experience

iPadOS 14 will offer the same compact design that iOS 14 offers for incoming FaceTime and phone calls, Siri interactions, and Search. Incoming FaceTime and phone calls now appear as a lightweight banner so they don’t take up the entire screen/ Users can quickly tap to answer a call or flick to dismiss. Siri now appears at the bottom of the screen when activated and quickly gets out of the way when launching other apps or controlling music.

iPadOS 14

Apple says iPadOS 14 Search has been completely rebuilt from the ground up, and can be used to locate and launch apps, access contacts, files, and quick information, or get answers to common questions about people or places.  Search’s compact design allows users to start a search from anywhere, without having to leave the app they’re in. Web searches deliver more relevant suggestions as users type and offer the ability to get to search results with just a tap.


Redesigned sidebars are available in many apps, including Photos, Files, Notes, Calendar, and Apple Music. The new sidebars consolidate navigation into a single place, making it easier to navigate within an app. Streamlined toolbars and new pull-down menus provide access to app controls all in one place.

Apple Pencil and Handwritten Notes

iPadOS 14’s new Scribble functionality allows users to write in any text field — where it will automatically be converted to typed text — making replying to an iMessage or searching in Safari faster and easier. All handwriting and conversion to text happens only on the device, making it totally private and secure.

Smart Selection uses on-device machine learning to distinguish handwriting from drawings, so handwritten text can easily be selected, cut, and pasted into another document as typed text. Shape recognition allows users to draw shapes that are made geometrically perfect and snap right into place when adding useful diagrams and illustrations in Notes.

iPadOS 14

The iPad can recognize phone numbers, dates, and addresses in handwritten text, allowing users to tap a written number to make a call, add an event directly to Calendar, or show a location in Maps.

The feature will initially offer support for English, Traditional and Simplified Chinese, and mixed Chinese and English.

Enhanced Privacy Features

All apps will now be required to obtain user permission before tracking. Later on, App Store product pages will feature summaries of developers’ self-reported privacy practices. Users will also be able to upgrade existing accounts to Sign in with Apple, choose to only share an approximate location with app developers and an indicator will tell users when an app is using their device’s mic and camera.

Additional iPadOS 14 Features

  • All-new beautifully redesigned widgets present timely information at a glance, and users can select a Smart Stack of widgets, which uses on-device intelligence to surface the right widget based on factors such as time, location, and activity.
  • Messages is central to communicating with friends and family, and now it’s easier to stay connected and quickly access important messages. Users can pin conversations to the top of their messages list, easily keep up with lively group threads through mentions and inline replies, and further customize conversations by setting a group photo using an image or emoji. New Memoji options in Messages are even more inclusive and diverse with additional hairstyles, headwear, face coverings, and more.
  • Siri expands its knowledge, helps find answers from across the internet, and can now send audio messages. Keyboard dictation runs on device when dictating messages, notes, email, and more.
  • Maps makes it easier than ever to navigate and explore with new cycling directions and curated Guides. Cycling directions take into account elevation, how busy a street is, and whether there are stairs along the route. Guides provide a curated list of interesting places to visit in a city, created by a selection of trusted resources, making them a great way to discover hot new restaurants, find popular attractions, and explore new recommendations from respected brands, including AllTrails, Complex, The Infatuation, Time Out Group, and The Washington Post, among others.
  • The Home app makes smart home control even easier with new automation suggestions and expanded controls in Control Center for quicker access to accessories and scenes. Adaptive Lighting for compatible HomeKit-enabled lights automatically adjusts the color temperature throughout the day, and with on-device Face Recognition, compatible video doorbells and cameras can identify friends and family. The Home app and HomeKit are built to be private and secure, so all information about a user’s home accessories is end-to-end encrypted.
  • Safari offers a Privacy Report so users can easily see which cross-site trackers have been blocked, secure password monitoring to help users detect saved passwords that may have been involved in a data breach, and built-in translation for entire webpages.
  • Accessibility features include Headphone Accommodations, which amplifies soft sounds and tunes audio to help music, movies, phone calls, and podcasts sound crisper and clearer, and sign language detection in Group FaceTime, which makes the person signing more prominent in a video call. VoiceOver, the industry’s leading screen reader for the blind community, now automatically recognizes what is displayed visually onscreen so more apps and web experiences are accessible to more people.


The developer preview of iPadOS 14 is available to Apple Developer Program members at developer.apple.com starting today, and a public beta will be available to iPadOS users next month at beta.apple.com. New software features will be available this fall as a free software update for iPad Air 2 and later, all iPad Pro models, iPad 5th generation and later, and iPad mini 4 and later. For more information, visit apple.com/ipados/ipados-preview/. Some features may not be available in all regions or all languages.