What’s exciting about iPadOS 14?

The public beta for iPadOS 14 is out. Proceed to install it at your own risk. Remember to backup your iPad before installing it in case you don’t like it and want to go back to iPadOS 13


The first thing I noticed on installing iPadOS 14 was the widgets. This public beta iPadOS 14 has made my widgets dysfunctional, as expected of beta testing. The different widget sizes make our widgets a bit more fun. Looking forward to playing around with them. They allow us that personal touch to how our widgets look on our devices.

Smart stack groups multiple apps under one widget. When you turn on smart rotate, the widget systematically changes the top app to display the most relevant to you based on your location, time and activity


Scribble is an OCR technology that lets us handwrite directly into text fields. On-device conversion converts our handwriting to text. It is great for privacy and it still works when we are offline.

Handwriting recognition has become a must-have for note-taking apps. We’ve relied on it for years. Apple, however, has taken OCR from inside our apps and spread it across iPadOS. Scribble works for searching our iPads and taking notes in WriteMapper, Agenda, Bear, Scrivener and Things 3. It is revolutionary for those of us who still prefer handwriting our notes, but want typed versions of them.

If you’ve typed it before, you don’t have to anymore. 

Scribble comes with some intuitive gestures as well. 

  • Circle or strikeout to select text. 
  • Touch and hold to create space between words.
  • Scribble over text to delete it.
  • Draw a vertical line between words to join or separate them. 

Scribble is not working on most apps that support Apple Pencil inking though, that is Notability, GoodNotes, Pages and Word. Their text tools are not supporting scribble just yet. We are assuming they need to eliminate the confusion caused by the two handwriting inputs (pen tools versus scribble). If I was a handwriting note-taking app, I’d be confused too. Scribble does work though, on the parts of their apps that have been purely text input based. The likes of search tools and renaming documents in the apps. That sort of thing. 

Surprisingly, ZoomNotes and Noteshelf don’t have trouble differentiating scribble from their pen tools. We are always impressed by ZoomNotes.

Redesigned sidebar organisation

The sidebar in Photos improves the organisation of our photos in the app. We can:

  • Toggle our utilities, media types, shared albums and albums in the app. 
  • Drag & drop photos across different folders for simpler and faster organisation.
  • Hide the sidebar.

Universal search in iPadOS 14

Universal search simplifies our workflows on the iPad. It has made it easier to launch apps, search the web and our notes in Apple Notes. We look forward to searching through all our note-taking apps with this feature. Universal search will save us a lot of time and we won’t have to worry about organising our digital notes.

Other exciting developments

  • Compact calls are a welcome feature. What took them so long? Finally, phone calls don’t disrupt our workflows. 
  • Apple’s making in-app subscriptions shareable in family sharing. Thoughtful. Perhaps we can now start considering the subscriptions we’ve been ignoring all along. 
  • Apple Notes is almost functional. 

In conclusion, iPadOS14 has very few upgrades to be excited about. It’s great to see Apple focusing on the Apple Pencil, giving us the ability to do more with it.

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