Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Apple just announced iPadOS 18. Here are the most exciting features


Nadeem Sarwar / Digital Trends

Promotional logo for WWDC 2023.

This story is part of our complete Apple WWDC coverage

Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) started today. This annual event is one of the biggest for Apple of the entire year, giving us an early look at the company’s next software updates for its biggest products.


  • Home screen and control center updates
  • Calculator and Math Notes
  • Smart Script

One of the many announcements at WWDC 2024 was iPadOS 18 — the next major software update for the iPad. iPadOS 18 has a lot in common with iOS 18, and when it arrives on your iPad later this year, it’ll be chock-full of new features for you to check out. Here’s what’s new.

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Home screen and control center updates

iPadOS 18 is getting many of the same updates as iOS 18 like apps that can be placed freely wherever you want. It’ll also support dark mode, letting app icons take on a darker tone, while a new theme engine lets you apply custom colors across your apps for increased personalization.


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Other changes include a new, more customizable Control Center, with shortcut buttons that can be rearranged on the Control Center view and placed across multiple pages. You’ll be able to swipe between pages of controls. There are toggles now for the most important features, and media and smart home controls are revamped and easier to access. For the first time, third-party apps will offer control center integration.

iPad customization Apple

Also rolling out is a new tab bar in some apps for better app navigation. There’s a Tab bar API so developers can use this in their apps too.

The Settings app is getting a welcome revamp for easier navigation, better organization, and more reliable search. This is huge because the Settings app hasn’t been touched since the first generation of the iPhone and has steadily grown cluttered and unmanageable. Last but not least, there is going to be a new wallpaper pack.

Calculator and Math Notes

The long-awaited calculator app is finally available on the iPad. And when we say long, we mean it’s taken 14 years for Apple to bring a calculator app to the iPad. It brings features like history and unit conversions to the table.

Math Notes Apple

There are math notes in the calculator app. You can write out expressions, once you write an equal sign it’s solved immediately for you. You’ll also be able to save math notes and come back to them later. For example, if you write a bunch of numbers in a vertical row and draw a line below them, you’ll get their sum.

All of the math note features are supported in the Notes app too.

Smart Script

One of the most unique new additions is Smart Script. Working with the Apple Pencil, Smart Script will improve and refine the look and tidiness of your writing with handwritten notes. It’ll be smoother, straighter, and more legible while still being your writing. Spell check will also work for handwritten notes and if you scratch something out, it’ll erase.

The first developer beta of iPadOS 18 is available, starting today. A public beta will come later, followed by an official release to iPad users in the fall.

This is just day one of WWDC 2024 and the announcements aren’t over yet, so stay tuned at Digital Trends as we keep the coverage rolling and dive into more iPadOS 18 features. 

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