ReviewsiPadOS 17 hands-on review 2023: modest update

iPadOS 17 hands-on review 2023: modest update

iPadOS 17 brings Stage Manager, lock screen widgets and more.

iPadOS 17 is the most recent version of the software that runs iPads made by Apple. It was announced at WWDC 2023 in June, and beta testing is going on right now. The final version should come out in the fall. The new lock screen is one of the most important changes in iPadOS 17. You can now change the wallpaper, fonts, and colors on the lock screen to make it your own. You can also add widgets to the lock screen so you can quickly check things like the weather, your calendar, and your to-do list. Stage Manager is another important new feature. This feature is meant to help you do more things at once on your iPad. You can create multiple windows and apps that are easy to switch between with Stage Manager. You can also change the size and position of windows.

iPadOS 17: What’s new?

  • 🔒 Personalize the Lock Screen: You can now change the wallpaper, font, and color of the Lock Screen. You can also add widgets to the Lock Screen to make things like the weather, calendar, and news easy to find.
  • 📊 Live Activities: Live Activities are now available on the Lock Screen, so you can keep up with things like sports scores, stock prices, and music playback without having to unlock your iPad.
  • 🔄 Stage Manager: Stage Manager is a new multitasking feature that lets you better organize your apps and windows. You can make different “stages” for different tasks, and each stage can have more than one window open.
  • 💌 New Messages features: With iPadOS 17, you can make Live Text stickers from photos, jump to the last message you missed in a group chat, and search for Messages more easily.
  • 🆕 Other new things are: iPadOS 17 also has a better Safari, a new Photos app, and the ability to use external webcams.

iPadOS 17 is a big update that adds a lot of new features and makes the iPad better in other ways. If your iPad is compatible, I think you should upgrade to iPadOS 17 when it comes out.

Here are the iPads that are compatible with iPadOS 17:

  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (2nd generation and later)
  • iPad Pro 10.5-inch
  • iPad Pro 11-inch (1st generation and later)
  • iPad Air (3rd generation and later)
  • iPad (6th generation and later)
  • iPad mini (5th generation and later)

iPadOS 17 Key Features Table

iPadOS 17 is a small update that adds a few new features to the iPad, such as Stage Manager, better multitasking, a personalized lock screen, the Health app, and interactive widgets. It also has a number of smaller changes, like the ability to edit PDFs in Safari in real time and to make different profiles in Notes.

Stage ManagerA new multitasking feature that allows you to easily manage multiple apps and windows.
Personalized lock screenCustomize your lock screen with widgets, photos, and more.
Health appThe Health app is finally available on iPad, giving you a central place to track your health data.
Interactive widgetsWidgets on the lock screen can now be interacted with, making them more useful.
Notes app enhancementsThe Notes app has been enhanced with new features, such as automatic field detection and the ability to share PDFs and edit them in real time.
Safari profile supportSafari now supports multiple profiles, allowing you to keep your work and personal browsing separate.

iPadOS 17: Release Date

Apple hasn’t announced a date yet, other than “the fall,” but it has a pretty good track record of putting out new software versions around the same time every year, as you can see from the dates below:

  • iPadOS 16: October 24, 2022
  • iPadOS 15: September 20, 2021
  • iPadOS 14: September 16, 2020
  • iPadOS 13: September 24, 2019

Apple always releases a new version of iPadOS along with the new version of iOS, which this year will be iOS 17. The 2022 version was thought to be delayed so that some features could be made better. Mark Gurman of Bloomberg says that iPadOS 17 will come out at the same time as iOS 17 this year. We expect iOS 17 to come out about a week after the iPhone launch event. So, we think that iPadOS 17 will come out the week of September 18, Monday.

iPadOS 17: Compatibility and Supported Devices

As with iPadOS 16, some older iPads will no longer be able to run it. To be more specific, iPadOS 17 will work with the 6th generation iPad, the 5th generation iPad Mini, the 3rd generation iPad Air, the 2nd generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro, the 10.5-inch iPad Pro, and the 3rd generation iPad Air.

Supported Devices for iPadOS 17
6th generation iPad
5th generation iPad Mini
3rd generation iPad Air
2nd generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro
10.5-inch iPad Pro
3rd generation iPad Air
Newer iPad models (2023 release)

iPads that come out this year will also be able to use iPadOS 17. If you have an iPad that is older than the ones listed above, you can’t use it. But that’s normal when a new OS update comes out.

iPadOS 17: Features

iPadOS 17 review

Apple’s iPadOS 17 was mostly about missing features from iOS. It added interactive widget support to the homescreen, live activities and customizability to the lock screen, and the Apple Health app, which finally bridges the gap between iOS and iPadOS after 9 years. The company made improvements to PDF support on the iPadOS platform as a whole.

This was true for the Notes app and the basic PDF viewer in Files. Apple also added some common features to iOS 17, such as making iMessage and FaceTime more expressive, adding profiles to Safari, and making autocorrect work better.

Lock screen

When iOS 16 came out, it had a redesigned Lock Screen where you could use widgets, dynamic images, and new fonts and colors to make the device feel more customizable than ever. The same features didn’t make it into iPadOS 16, which is too bad, but iPadOS 17 will fix that. With iPadOS 17, you can change the Lock Screen in a new way.

Users can choose one or more images to appear on the Lock Screen. This image could be a Live Photo, and when the iPad wakes up, Apple will add more frames to create a slow-mo effect. There is also a Lock Screen gallery with wallpapers that are based on the Apple Watch. You can change the fonts and colors.

Stage Manager

Stage Manager was one of the most important features added to iPadOS 16 and macOS Ventura last year. It has gotten some improvements that make life easier and help you get more done. It’s not very different, but I like the small differences. Now, windows can be placed wherever you like on the screen. Additionally, you can adjust the size of windows by pinching and zooming, which functions as expected.

You can also choose from a list of pre-set window layouts, with options that vary depending on the type of app. When you use Stage Manager, you can put windows where you want. I also like how tabs that aren’t being used but are next to the big window you’re working on look almost transparent. This makes them less distracting. Stage Manager isn’t the productivity game-changer I was hoping for on iPads or Macs, but it’s good that Apple is trying to make it more useful.

Live Activities

Live Activities, a feature that lets users see important information (like the status of an UberEats order) at a glance, will be added to iPadOS 17 this year. This is another update that is similar to the iPhone. It’s a feature tied to Dynamic Island on the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max, but with the larger screens of iPads, it should come to most, if not all.

Interactive Widgets

Widgets have been around for a while on iPads, but with iPadOS 17, you can use them on the lock screen. On top of that, widgets now blend in better with the background, so you can focus on whatever task you’re doing. It’s helpful that you can tap on a widget right from the lock screen. For example, if you want a more detailed weather report, you can open the weather app right from the lock screen instead of unlocking the iPad to find the weather widget. I also like how the widgets on the lock screen go with the background.


With the new NameDrop feature, you can now share your contact information with a friend by holding two iPads together and using AirDrop. The way AirDrop connects has also been changed, so file transfers can continue over the internet if you move out of range of the person you’re sending content to via AirDrop. It also makes SharePlay much easier to use. Just bring the two devices close together to open the same content in apps that support it.

iPadOS 17: App Improvements

iPadOS 17 review

A new way to work with PDFs in Notes, with full-width viewing, comments, and teamwork. The Health app is now available on the iPad, giving users a place to look at all of their health information in one place.

Health app

Speaking of features that should have been added a long time ago, the Health app is finally on iPadOS 17. Even though this app isn’t that different from its iPhone version, it’s a big deal that you can see all your health data on the iPad’s screen. The best part is that your data gets synced between all of your Apple devices that can do it. If you have an iPad and like to keep track of your health, this feature will be helpful.

PDFs and Notes

With Enhanced AutoFill, iPadOS 17 uses machine learning to find fields in a PDF or scanned document so that users can quickly add details like names, addresses, and emails directly from contact cards. Users can now work together on PDFs and get updates in real time when sharing a note. When you write on a document, draw a diagram, or add a sticker, the changes you make show up right away on the device of your collaborator.

There are new ways to organize, read, annotate, and work together on PDFs in the Notes app. PDFs look full width, which makes it easy to quickly scan through pages, make quick notes, or draw right in the document with an Apple Pencil. With live collaboration, users can share a note with others and see changes as they are made. You can also quickly add inline links from one note to another related note. This lets you link research notes, link to a recipe, or make wikis.


The Messages app is also getting some important updates, like Live Stickers, which are like GIFs made from your photos and videos, and better predictive text, which should stop people from avoiding annoying autocorrections. Voice note dictation is also coming, which will let people who like voice messages read incoming voice notes instead of listening to them.


There are new drawing tools in the Freeform app, such as a watercolour brush, a calligraphy pen, a highlighter, a pen with a variable width, and a ruler. With Shape Recognition, users can now use the Apple Pencil to draw a shape like a square and see a perfect copy snap into place, just like in the Notes app. Follow Along lets users see what other people are working on in real time. What they see as they move around the infinite canvas is shown on your screen.

iPadOS 17: Other Features

iPadOS 17 review

You can now edit fields automatically in the Notes app, and you can share a PDF between iPads and edit it at the same time. Apple’s Safari web browser now lets users make their own separate profiles. With the iPad’s new Health app, you can now see all of your health information in one place.

FaceTime Reactions

iPadOS 17 has new features for FaceTime calls, just like iOS 17. If someone doesn’t answer your call, for example, you’ll be able to leave an audio or video message. And, just like with macOS Sonoma, you can start animations by doing things like giving a thumbs up. There are balloons, fireworks, and other things in these animations. When I Facetimed with a friend, I couldn’t get this feature to work, but I’ll just chalk that up to this being a beta.

PDF reader

It can be hard to edit PDFs on a mobile device. The Notes app on iPadOS 17 now automatically finds fields you can change. This also works with photos you’ve taken of documents. Even better, you can share a PDF between iPads and edit it at the same time.

Safari Profiles

Apple’s Safari users can now make their own separate profiles. For instance, you can make a profile for work and another one for browsing on your own time. These profiles keep track of the windows, tab groups, cookies, and history for each user. Safari also got some much-needed TLC in iPadOS 17.

The new Profiles feature lets you split your browsing history and logins between different users. This is great if you share an iPad with a family member or if you want to keep your work and personal browsing history and passwords completely separate. It also adds new features that should make Safari on an iPad easier to use, such as autofilling codes sent through the Mail app, a new way to share passwords with friends and family, better private browsing, and smarter search tools.

iPadOS 17: Support for External Displays

iPadOS 17 has made big improvements to how it works with external displays. With iPadOS 17, you can now connect your iPad to a second or larger display that has a resolution of up to 6K. You can also use Stage Manager to make your workspace more flexible and useful when you have more than one app open at the same time. Also, iPadOS 17 now lets you use a camera that isn’t built into your iPad.

Resolution SupportUp to 6K resolution for second or larger displays, enhancing visual clarity and detail.
Stage ManagerAllows flexible multitasking with multiple open apps, improving workspace efficiency.
External Camera CompatibilityEnables connection of external webcams or DSLR cameras for enhanced FaceTime and app usage.
Connection MethodsUse USB-C to HDMI or Thunderbolt 3 cables to establish connections between iPad and external display.
Display Settings CustomizationAccessible options to adjust resolution and other display settings for optimal viewing experience.
Enhanced FlexibilityElevates iPad’s functionality by transforming it into a versatile workstation with extended display capabilities.

This means you can connect a webcam or DSLR camera to your iPad and use it for FaceTime, video calls, and other apps. Use a USB-C to HDMI cable or a Thunderbolt 3 cable to connect your iPad to a separate screen. Once you’ve connected your iPad to the external display, you can use the Display settings to change the resolution and other settings. Overall, iPadOS 17’s support for external displays is a big step forward that makes the iPad a more powerful and flexible device.

iPadOS 17: Overall Impressions (Early Verdict)

iPadOS 17 is a small update that builds on what iPadOS 16 has already done. The Stage Manager, which lets you run multiple apps side by side on an external display, and the Health app, which is now finally available on the iPad, are the two biggest new features. Other important new features include customizable lock screen widgets, widgets that you can interact with, and a better Notes app. Overall, iPadOS 17 is a good update that makes the iPad more powerful and useful. But it’s not a big change, and some users may find that there aren’t enough new features to make it worth it to upgrade.

John Brister
John Brister
Meet John Brister, the prolific content writer renowned for his perceptive comparison articles on Bollyinside. Specializing in topics ranging from TVs to headphones and other accessories, John's knack for breaking down intricate details into reader-friendly insights has garnered him a dedicated following. Beyond his literary pursuits, John is an avid swimmer and equally passionate about tracking, often exploring new trails and routes, feeding his sense of adventure.
Trending Today
- Advertisment -