How I’m Using iPadOS – Part One.

Welcome to the successor of the iPad: The iPad.

After many years of hoping for it, iPadOS has arrived.

You may be aware that I use an iPad Pro full-time. I also have a seasonal podcast series about them too. I’ve loved using the device for a few years now, and even though it’s annoyed me at certain moments, or even finding others where the device hasn’t clicked with their workflow, the shortcomings are usually overcome with a workaround or another device in the meantime.

Once the public release came out I had to put it on my iPad and just see if these new features really did improve my day-to-day workflow, and above all, solve some of the issues that have been bugging me or slowing me down in the last few years.

It’s an open secret that these are the buggiest betas of recent time, and regardless of melodramatic tweets I’ve seen that are ‘worried’ about an OS being delayed, that’s why they’re betas; much has changed behind the scenes.
Instead of just writing about my impressions, I wanted to write about how I’m using iPadOS so far as well.

This will be in two parts, laying out just how I’m using iPadOS.

iPadOS fixes Tomb Raider II!

When I tried to run the game on my iPad before, it wouldn’t render the graphics, and so I’d only be hearing its sounds with a black screen. Now it not only works, but works perfectly with my Dual Shock 4 controller, of which I’ll expand upon soon.

Played it on the train, in my living room hooked up to the living room TV, every time it’s been a treat.

Of course; important news is important news.

Refined UI

I’m loving the UI refinements across the iPad. Even logging onto public WiFi; the landing page no longer covers the screen, it’s just smaller and centred, as it should be. The same can’t be said for Siri still, but I can’t help but think that’s next on the list to be focused on.

Dark Mode is fantastic, and works really well across all the apps. I’m always using it, and having the ‘Accessibility’ shortcut of pressing the power button three times or pressing it in ‘Control Centre’ to enable it is a great touch. Going to my iPhone to check on a message and be almost blinded by the white UI is strange, and still is two months on. Have Dark Mode on all the things, all the time as far as I’m concerned.

Volume Control is a great refinement, and works great when needed.

Voice Control is fantastic, and although I haven’t gotten the hang of it yet, it’s going to be a game changer for many out there in interacting with Apple devices.

Full Keyboard Access is fantastic; across iPadOS I‘ve used the UI with the keyboard and it makes me think, especially for an accessibility point of view again, that this can be extended to games. To note; this has actually worked for DOOM, the ‘QWERTY’ controls do indeed work, but nothing else as of yet.

Everything feels refined here. It’s as if someone spent a week just honing in on how iPadOS could look to someone who only uses an iPad. Yet, they ran out of time when they got to Siri.

So far it’s a step in the right direction and I’m hopeful for what’s next.

Safari

As is tradition for me; when the WWDC keynote finished, I went to Apple’s site and went straight to the ‘Overview’ page of the iPadOS section. Upon reading the features of Safari, I wondered whether it would finally allow me to delete iCab and use Safari completely. Mainly, it had to introduce the following features for me:

– Unrestricted Download Manager.
– Full Desktop Mode; WordPress is a must.
– Better full-screen views for certain sites.

I read features that indeed mentioned the above, but it was one of those ‘I’ll believe it until I try it’ moments.

After 5 minutes of using Safari on iPadOS I deleted iCab.

It’s also solved the ‘zoom in on all site’ annoyance when rendering, and Daring Fireball was a great example of this. Now, I can resize it to better fit the iPad, and it also remembers how much I’ve zoomed as well! There’s now no need of constantly having to change this when on the site.

To test the download manager, I thought I’d try a random site I used to go to for…certain files once upon a time, and I came in with low expectations. But as expected, it downloaded the file as I would have with my iMac back in the day; I went to Files.app, unzipped, and there it was. And because of iCloud Drive, it appeared on the MacBook Air, ready for an app to be used with it. This has been so useful in downloading audio of guests for the podcasts. I can download them to the folder, and carry on the editing work on the MacBook.

This ‘Desktop Mode’ Safari of iPadOS has been fantastic to use, even when I had to go into the ‘Admin Panel’ of this site. For example; usually I would have to individually select a file in a certain folder, whether if it was by touching the files or using the keyboard. But here, I can now hold SHIFT and select 6 of them at once, just like on the MacBook Air.

Safari iPadOS has also sherlocked a few apps for me:

  • Google Drive
  • Google Docs
  • Twitter
  • WordPress
  • WhatsApp Web
  • Instagram

A few are now constant tabs on the app, while the rest, such as Instagram, are now icons on the Home Screen. All of them work as expected, and they’re all now incredibly easy to use by just opening Safari. It’s amazing how long it’s taken to get it this point, but I’m glad it’s here.

A final note; the ‘Open New Windows’ feature is a great help, and something I didn’t really expect to see in this version. Even the ‘Reopen Closed Windows’ feature has been a great help already.

Files

I have an external hard drive of all my movies I copied from my DVD Collection many years ago, and the standard method for me was to use iTunes on my MacBook Air, have it recognise the iPad, and then sync it with both my fingers crossed.

Usually it would indeed fail, and I’d have to sync one Movie/TV Show at a time to reduce to chance of it crashing.

When I saw that external storage support was confirmed, I was in two minds; great that it’s now possible, but would it be restricted to follow Apple’s ‘Privacy First’ mantra? Surely I couldn’t just, plug in my hard drive, and drag a video into Infuse?

As it turns out, this is indeed the case. I had the full series of ‘Life on Mars‘ to copy over, and it was done in under five minutes, and because of the amazing metadata features Infuse has, they appeared with the artwork, and the name, and the description of their relative episodes. That’s a win right away, and it makes me curious just how useful this can now be for people who travel a lot with USB drives with their movies on hand, and editors too with videos to quickly edit and send, right from their iPad.


The Future isn’t Written.

Things can change, there’s still small features being added and refined. For example, a menu will appear when you press and hold on a tab in Safari. Or in Beta 4 onwards, the ‘3D Touch’ menus on the home screen have become much thinner and have an option to rearrange apps here. This is a huge release, and although some features have been rescinded, I‘m confident we’ll see them appear again soon in the final release.

For me, it’s so far so good, and we’re not done yet in my experiences with the OS.

But now from this, it has now defined what the third season of The Outpost Show is going be based on. Tomorrow begins the show with Episode 1, and I speak to a particular, returning guest, on how he’s using iPadOS so far, and just where it can now go for the coming years.