Apple has officially released iOS and iPadOS 16.1, along with macOS Ventura. For iPad, it means that Apple’s tablet platform will finally be getting iOS 16 features like iMessage editing and undo send in Mail. But it also marks the official release of the Stage Manager multitasking tool, which has been unpopular and buggy throughout the iPadOS betas.
My colleague David Pierce didn’t mince words in July: “I hate Stage Manager,” he wrote in his preview. Three months on, it still has some big issues, David noted in today’s review that “Stage Manager might be shipping, and it has gotten better since its first nonsensical beta, but it’s definitely not done.”
Apple did delay iPadOS 16 from its typical September launch, but based on how the recent beta builds have been, Stage Manager might still have some problems when it’s released to the public in version 16.1. Even with the delay, Stage Manager won’t have external display support at launch.
For iPhones, iOS 16.1 opens up Apple’s new Live Activities notifications to third-party developers. Live Activities are designed to let you more easily track things in real time from your lock screen, which could be useful for things like sports scores or tracking your rideshare pickup. For iPhones with the Dynamic Island at the top of the phone — right now, only the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max — Live Activities will show up there, too.
iOS 16.1 adds a swath of other new features. iPhone owners will be able to use Fitness Plus without an Apple Watch, significantly expanding the availability of the subscription service. iPhones and iPads will support the new Matter smart home connectivity standard. And iCloud Shared Photo Library will finally be available following its delay.