iPadOS 17 Overview
iPadOS 17 is the newest version of iPadOS, the operating system that runs on the iPad. Previewed at WWDC 2023 in June, iPadOS 17 was released on September 18, 2023.
Almost all of the new features that are available in iOS 17 are also available on the iPad, and iOS 17 and iPadOS 17 share many similarities. All of the updates to FaceTime and Messages can be found on the iPad, as well as features like improved autocorrect, interactive widgets, support for shared passwords and AirTags, updates to AirPods, and more.
For a complete overview of what's new in iPadOS 17, you'll want to take a look at our separate iOS 17 roundup, but the iOS features that are exclusive to the bigger screen are listed here.
iPadOS 17 adds a new Lock Screen experience that mirrors the updated Lock Screen Apple brought to the iPhone with iOS 16. The updated Lock Screen supports customization, with users able to choose new wallpapers and colors and fonts for the time. Apple created iPad-specific Weather and Astronomy wallpapers that take advantage of the iPad's screen size, and as with the iPhone, you can use your own photos (with motion effects for Live Photos), make wallpaper from emoji, or choose an Apple-designed wallpaper.
Widgets can be added to the Lock Screen. In landscape mode, there's a widget bar on the left side of the display, while in portrait mode, the widgets are displayed under the time. All of the widgets available on the iPhone can be found on the iPad, such as Home, Clock, Health, Calendar, Batteries, Notes, News, Sleep, Wallet, Weather, and more. Because the iPad's display is bigger, it supports larger widgets than are available on iPhone. Widgets on iPad are designed to blend in with the wallpaper to prevent them from being distracting.
Multiple Lock Screens are supported so you can swap through different options, and Lock Screens can be paired with a Focus mode so you can have Lock Screens activate Focus modes or vice versa. The iPad supports Live Activities with iPadOS 17, so sports scores, food deliveries, and more show up on the Lock Screen and can be tracked in real time.
Apple overhauled widgets on the Home Screen and Today Center too, making them interactive. Widgets can be used to do things like turn on the lights, play a song, or mark a reminder without having to open an app. Third-party apps can build interactivity into their widgets too. Interactive widgets are available on both the Home Screen and the Lock Screen.
Editing PDFs is quicker on the iPad, with iPadOS 17 using machine learning to identify fields in a PDF for autofilling names, addresses, and emails from the Contacts app. In the Notes app, PDFs appear full width, so it is easier to view and annotate them with Apple Pencil. Scanned documents and PDFs can also be marked up directly in the note, and when using live collaboration, updates appear in real time on shared notes.
With iPadOS 17, the Health app is now available on the iPad in addition to the iPhone, offering users a chance to see their data on a larger display. The design has been optimized for the larger screen of the iPad, with a new look for Favorites. There is a sidebar on the iPad that makes it easy to find what you're looking for, and Health data can be synced to the iPad using iCloud so medications, medical records, trends, and highlights are all available. The new mental health features like mood tracking can also be accessed on the iPad.
Apple updated Stage Manager on the iPad, allowing iPad users to have more options for the position and size of Stage Manager windows for an improved multitasking experience. Stage Manager also supports built-in cameras on an external display.
The Freeform app now features new drawing tools, support for hover and tilt on Apple Pencil, snap to shape, connection lines and shapes for objects, and a Follow Along guide for collaborators.
There are a number of other features that are available in iPadOS 17, including changes to Siri, Safari, Spotlight, AirPlay, and Privacy and Security, with those changes outlined in our iOS 17 roundup.
The current version of iPadOS 17 is iPadOS 17.2, released on December 11.
In Apple Music, there's a Favorites playlist that houses everything you've favorited, plus Stickers can now be used to reply to iMessages when you long press on a chat bubble in the Messages app. There's now support for the extra-secure iMessage Contact Key Verification option, and there are new Weather and Clock widgets. More on what's new in iOS 17.2 can be found in our iOS 17.2 feature guide.
Apple has also seeded the first beta of an upcoming iPadOS 17.3 update to developers and public beta testers. The update includes collaborative Apple Music playlists as well, a feature that Apple has said is coming in 2024.
Lock Screen Customization and Widgets
Lock Screen Customization
iPadOS 17 brings the iPhone's Lock Screen customization features to the iPad, allowing users to choose from a set of font styles and colors to customize the look of the date and time, stylize photos, shuffle through a dynamic set of photos throughout the day, create unique designs with emojis and color combinations, and more.
To take advantage of the larger display, Apple now provides a range of optimized wallpapers like Astronomy or Kaleidoscope. There is also an all-new motion effect for Live Photos that animates when you wake your iPad, and settles into your Home Screen when the device unlocks.
Users can now add an entire column of widgets to the iPad's Lock Screen to see information like the weather, time, date, battery levels, or upcoming events at a glance. Lock Screen widgets feature adaptive tinting to blend in with the wallpaper while remaining legible.
iPadOS 17 also brings Live Activities directly to the iPad's Lock Screen, allowing users to keep track of events like a food order, flight, timer, or sports score in real-time.
Home Screen Widget Improvements
Home Screen widgets are interactive in iPadOS 17 just like iOS 17 and macOS Sonoma, allowing users to simply tap to turn on lights, play a song, mark a reminder as complete, and more, with no need to open the app itself.
Developers can add interactivity to their existing widgets using WidgetKit. It is also now possible to place widgets anywhere on the Home Screen for even more specific personal customization.
Stage Manager and External Camera Support
iPadOS 17 provides more flexibility in Stage Manager, giving users the ability to freely resize, move around, and place windows exactly where they want them.
It is also now possible to use an external camera for FaceTime and conference calls on the iPad, including webcams and the built-in camera in external displays like Apple's Studio Display. This is particularly useful when using an iPad for video calls while hooked up to an external display via Stage Manager.
iPadOS 17 brings the Health app to the iPad for the first time, giving users new ways to see their health data in detail. The app's design is optimized for the iPad's larger display, with a new Favorites view and insights into health data with Trends, Highlights, and detailed interactive charts.
Users can take advantage of all of the same Health app features from the iPhone like Cycle Tracking, daily mood logging, health records, and more. Health and fitness developers can also now use HealthKit on the iPad.
PDFs and Notes
With Enhanced AutoFill, iPadOS 17 uses machine learning to identify fields in a PDF or scanned document so that users can quickly add details, such as names, addresses, and emails directly from contact cards.
Users can now collaborate on PDFs and get real-time updates when sharing a note with others. As you mark up a document, draw a diagram or add a sticker, the changes you make appear live on your collaborator's device.
The Notes app contains new ways to organize, read, annotate, and collaborate on PDFs. PDFs appear full width, making it easy to skim through pages, make quick annotations, or sketch directly in the document with an Apple Pencil. With live collaboration, updates appear in real time when users are sharing a note with others.
It is also now possible to quickly add inline links from one note to another related note, providing a way to connect research notes, reference a recipe, or create wikis.
The Freeform app offers new drawing tools, including a watercolour brush, calligraphy pen, highlighter, variable-width pen, and ruler. With Shape Recognition, users can now hand-draw a shape like a square with the Apple Pencil and watch a perfect version of it snap into place, just like in the Notes app.
With live collaboration, users can see what others are working on with Follow Along. Your screen shows what they see as they move around the infinite canvas.
iPadOS 17 is compatible with the following iPads:
- 12.9-inch iPad Pro (2nd generation and later)
- 11-inch iPad Pro (all models)
- 10.5-inch iPad Pro
- iPad Air (3rd generation and later)
- iPad (6th generation and later)
- iPad mini (5th generation and later)
iPadOS 17 drops support for the fifth-generation iPad and the first-generation iPad Pro compared to iOS 16.
iPadOS 17 Guides and How Tos
We have guides and tutorials on the features that are available in iOS 17 and iPadOS 17, with the content available in our dedicated iOS 17 Ultimate Guide.