The new multitasking tool on iPadOS 16 “Stage Manager” has created a lot of ruckus because of its limitation to M1 iPad models. However, reference codes discovered in the first beta version of iPadOS 16 reveal that the controversial feature could be enabled on older iPads.
Stage Manager is designed to run up to 4 apps on an iPad, simultaneously with the ability to resize and relocate the apps. Furthermore, attached to an external display, the feature can support up to 8 apps running concurrently for a smooth workflow.
As innovative and productive as the feature appears, it is not for all iPadOS 16 users. According to Apple, Stage Manager requires virtual memory swap, larger internal memory, faster storage, and flexible external display I/O to function which are only available in iPad Pro (2021) and iPad Air (2022) models powered by the M1 chip. And that has made several iPad owners furious with the limitation and Apple’s decision to eliminate it, controversial.
Apple can enable the controversial Stage Manager on “any lesser system”
After facing backlash, Apple SVP of Software Craig Federighi defended the company’s decision in an interview and said that they tested Stage Manager on older or non-M1 iPad models before deciding to release it on Apple Silicon iPad models.
“When you put all this together, we can’t deliver the full Stage Manager experience on any lesser system. I mean, we would love to make it available everywhere we can. But this is what it requires.”
Therefore to investigate, 9to5Mac diagnosed the iPadOS 16 beta and found that Apple has an internal mode to enable the new multitasking feature on older iPads.
The codes reference an internal setting that enables “Chamois” (the Stage Manager codename) for “Legacy Devices.” In other words, it makes the feature work with every other non-M1 iPad running iPadOS 16.
This aligns with a statement from Apple’s head of software engineering Craig Federighi:
“We began some of our prototyping involving those systems and it became apparent early on that we couldn’t deliver the experience that that we were designing toward with them. Certainly, we would love to bring any new experience to every device we can, but we also don’t want to hold back the definition of a new experience and not create the best foundation for the future in that experience. And we really could only do that by building on the M1.”
Recently, developer Steve Troughton-Smith found that the base model of the M1 iPad Air 5 does not support virtual memory and Stage Manager is available on Intel-based Macs which refutes Apple’s requirements claim for the feature.
Having said that, it is unlikely that all iPad models compatible with iPadOS 16 would get the Stage Manager but it is possible that iPad Pro and iPad Air (2020, 2021) models might get it with some limited functionality.