As of this month, iPad is no longer running the same operating system as the iPhone.

Instead, iPadOS has been introduced and will roll out from 30 September.

At the moment, it's very similar in terms of look and feel as iOS 13, but with a bunch of changes to make the iPad more able to be used for multitasking. 

iPad OS has been brought in because Apple wants to add ever-more laptop-like use cases to iPad. It's introduced a new home screen, as well as the ability to handle multiple documents from the same app.

You can also mark up more documents and webpages with Apple Pencil, handle files more like a Mac and Safari will now give you the full desktop experience for websites.

There are plenty of new features, in other words. The fact the iPad has its own operating system now raises the possibility that iPadOS could be updated separately to the iPhone - perhaps when a new iPad is released.

However, iPad OS 13 (yes, it's sticking with that number) will be updated at the same time as iOS this time. 

Which iPad models can run iPadOS?

  • 12.9-inch iPad Pro
  • 11-inch iPad Pro
  • 10.5-inch iPad Pro
  • 9.7-inch iPad Pro
  • iPad (6th generation)
  • iPad (5th generation)
  • iPad mini (5th generation)
  • iPad mini 4
  • iPad Air (3rd generation)
  • iPad Air 2

So that's no iPad OS for the earlier iPad Air in particular - they're no longer deemed capable. That's not that surprising - an older iPad Air we use as an iPad at home is creaking every time it receives an app or OS update.

Want to know more?

Check out our guide on iPadOS. We discuss all the big, new features in detail.