iPadOS 15 Release: When to Update iPad & Which Features Are Available Now

Apple announced during its "California Streaming" event that iPadOS 15 is rolling out on September 20, but we've learned that some iPadOS 15 features won't be available yet. Delayed features are part and parcel with Apple's large annual software updates, so while we're not surprised to learn that we'll have to wait on certain functionalities, we're still a little bummed. When can you update, and which iPadOS features will be immediately available and which will be delayed? We'll walk you through it.

Related: iOS 15 Update for iPhone: New Features & Missing Updates

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iPadOS 15 Release Date & Compatibility

Availability: iOS 15 will be available for download starting Monday, September 20.

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Compatibility: iPadOS 15 will be available for the iPad mini (4th generation) and later, iPad Air 2 and later, iPad (5th generation) and later, and all iPad Pro models. The iPad mini (6th generation) and the iPad (9th generation) will ship with iPadOS already installed.

Image courtesy of Apple

New iPadOS 15 Features Available Now

iPadOS updates are almost always staggered, resulting in waves of availability, so if you don't see an update available for your iPad right away, check back in a day or so. When you do update your iPad, there will be a number of things you'll notice right away. Here are some of the most talked-about new iPadOS 15 features that will be available as soon as you've installed the update:

  • iPad Multitasking has been taken to a whole new level with a Multitasking menu, Split View, Slide Over, and Shelf, plus a host of new shortcuts.
  • Quick Note for instant access to Notes with a single swipe.
  • iPad Widgets are now available on your iPad's Home Screen.
  • App Library is another previously iPhone-only feature that's now built into the iPadOS software.

You'll also see changes to Privacy features, and it'll be hard to miss Safari's big makeover (no, you're not upside-down—Safari is). Plus, Swift Playgrounds 4 for iPadOS 15 will now let users design apps straight from their iPads! We introduced readers to these new iPadOS 15 features when they were initially announced at the June WWDC event, but if you're interested in learning how to use these and other new Apple device functions, sign up for our free Tip of the Day newsletter to receive a one-minute how-to each day, delivered straight to your inbox!

Which iPadOS 15 Features Are Delayed?

I'm sorry to say that the two features which were arguably the most exciting, Universal Control and SharePlay, are both delayed. Not unexpected since these were the most complicated of the iPadOS 15 features, but still annoying to those of us who've been eagerly anticipating their release since WWDC in June 2021. While we don't yet know exactly when these features will be released, it's a safe bet that we'll see them before the end of the year. Keep an eye out for further iPadOS updates!

  • Universal Control will allow more seamless use of your iPad with a Mac, allowing the iPad to function independently and collaboratively with your Mac at the same time, instead of merely as a second display. You'll be able to drag and drop from one device to another, and use a single mouse and keyboard to operate both systems at once. Sounds pretty futuristic, to me! 
  • SharePlay will be Apple’s new feature for listening, watching, and enjoying content together through FaceTime, but it's not ready for release quite yet. It's not delayed forever, and when the feature does finally roll out, you'll be able to create collaborative playlists, watch movies together, and much more while on a FaceTime call.

Thankfully, we'll see very few delayed iPadOS 15 features as compared to the long list of iOS 15 delayed iPhone features! Which new iPad feature are you most excited about?

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Author Details

Erin MacPherson's picture

Author Details

Erin MacPherson

Erin is a Web Editor for iPhone Life and has been a writer, editor, and researcher for many years. She has a degree in communication with an emphasis on psychology and communication, and has spent many of her professional years as a coach in various business and specialty fields. Erin officially joined the ranks of iPhone and Apple users everywhere around nine years ago, and has since enjoyed the unique and customized feel of Apple technology and its many gadgets. When she’s not working, Erin and her son enjoy outdoor adventures, camping, and spending time with their eclectic collection of pets.