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In Mac and Mobile Last updated: April 24, 2023
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Do you need help multi-tasking the right way for maximum productivity and focused work on Apple devices? For you, Apple introduced Stage Manager, the next-generation multi-tasking tool for Apple tablets and computers!

Apple devices like iPad and MacBook have been known for long as premium devices for professionals and business persons. Their robust hardware and software combination enables you to do more work in less time. 

However, the old and boring way of browsing different app windows, utilities, and software still comes in the way of productivity. You can, however, break free from such drawbacks of working on computers and tablets by using the Stage Manager feature. At least you can do this on Mac and iPad devices, for now! 

Let’s find out how to use this buzzing multi-tasking feature from a 360° angle below.   

What Is a Stage Manager?

What Is Stage Manager?

Stage Manager is a multi-tasking setup on limited iPad and macOS devices. The multi-tasking Stage will automatically organize all your open apps and app windows according to your usage pattern. Also, you can resize individual app windows manually.

Thus, you can effortlessly switch between tasks without the hassle of remembering which app window you opened, accessing App Switcher on your iPad frequently, or swapping app tabs on macOS. 

Before Stage Managers, users could only create overlapping or floating app windows on MacBook or iMac. That’s also by manually resizing the app windows to a medium size and placing app windows on top of another app. 

With Stage Manager, you can get the same feeling as working on a Mac or Windows PC. You can stack one app on another, open multiple instances of the same app, and personalize the movements for maximum multi-tasking benefits. 

Moreover, you can create custom app groups for different types of work like online research, writing, image editing, entertainment, social messaging, and more.

Ultimately, you can open up to 16 active apps on iPad in four app groups, each containing four more apps. Then again, the app grouping on Stage Manager is also available on Mac, and you can open even more apps than on an iPad.

Here’s what working on iPad or Mac Stage Manager looks like:

  • There’s a center stage of apps that focuses on up to four open app windows that are equally active on an iPad. The number of simultaneously opened apps in the center stage is greater on a Mac.
  • At the left-side panel, you get the Recent Apps navigation system. There, you see groups of apps or individual open apps of up to four if there are no app groups.
  • Below the center stage, you get the Dock from which you can add more apps to the Stage. 

Device Compatibility for Stage Manager

Stage Manager is a brand-new multi-tasking experience and isn’t available on all iPad or Mac devices. Find below if you are lucky enough to be able to use Stage Manager on your iPad. To be able to use Stage Manager, you must upgrade to iPadOS 16.0 and later. 

  • iPad Pro 11-inch (all generations)
  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd generation and later)
  • iPad Air (5th generation)

Now that you know which iPads support Stage Manager, let’s find out below if your macOS device is also eligible or not. Simply, you must be able to upgrade your Mac to macOS Ventura or later to be able to use Stage Manager.

Also, the Mac must possess enough hardware capabilities, like NVRAM, RAM, CPU clock speed, GPU clock speed, etc., to handle simultaneous open apps. By considering all these, I found that the following Mac devices are fully compatible with Stage Manager:

  • MacBook Air: 2018 and newer
  • MacBook: 2017 and newer
  • Mac Mini: 2018 and newer
  • MacBook Pro: 2017 and further
  • iMac and iMac Pro: 2017 and newer
  • Mac Studio
  • Mac Pro: 2019 and newer

How to Use Stage Manager on iPad

Now that you have figured out your iPad is well within the compatibility requirements to run Stage Manager let’s dig deep into its working process below: 

Activating and Deactivating Stage Manager

You can enjoy working on Stage Manager the best if you put the iPad display in landscape mode. Thus, do the following before activating Stage Manager:

Activate Landscape Mode
  • When your iPad is in upright or vertical display mode, swipe down the Control Center.
  • Now, touch the Rotation Lock: On button to turn it off.

Hold the iPad horizontally or vertically to transform the vertical display into landscape mode.

When the iPad display is in landscape view, perform the following steps to activate Stage Manager for the first time:

The location of the Stage Manager button
  • Pull down Control Center and tap the Stage Manager icon shown in the above image.
  • Alternatively, you can go to Settings and select the Home Screen & Multi-tasking option from the left-side panel.
  • On the right side of the Settings app, tap Stage Manager, located under the Multi-tasking section.
How to activate Stage Manager from iPadOS Settings
  • On the Stage Manager screen, touch the toggle button to activate the feature.
  • As soon as you do this, the present active app window will shrink from all the corners, the Dock will appear from the below, and apps open in the background will show up on the left side.

That’s it! It’s easier than you imagined. Now, to disable Stage Manager, just follow the same steps and deactivate either the Stage Manager icon on Control Center or in Home Screen & Multi-tasking setting.  

Resizing Apps in Stage Manager

You can simultaneously open up to three iPhone-screen-sized apps on Stage Manager of iPad. If you need to change the size of one app window for a larger view of the content, here is how you can resize individual apps: 

  • Tap on any of the open apps that you need to resize.
How to resize app windows on Stage Manager
  • Touch and hold the dark or white curve at the lower right corner of the app window.
  • Now, you can simply drag the edge of the app to a different size. 

Creating App Groups

The most helpful feature of Stage Manager is app groups. In a group, you can put up to four apps. Further, you can put four such groups of apps in the Recent Apps panel, located to the left of the central stage.

When you drag and drop one group of apps from the Recent Apps to the central stage, all apps open and occupy the screen size that you set previously. Thus, you do not need to manually open a set of apps each time you start your work. Just create groups of different apps for work, entertainment, creative work, and gaming

Here’s how you can create app groups:

  • Open the first app you want in the group.
  • Now, add three more apps to the center stage by dragging them from the Recent Apps section or opening new apps from the Dock.
  • When you have all four apps on the screen, swipe up from the base of the device to open App Switcher.
  • You should now see the app group.
  • You can access app groups from App Switcher as well as Recent Apps.    

Adding a New App to an App Group

If there are four apps in a group, you can’t add any new ones. You must close one to add a new app. Here’s how:

  • On the Stage Manager, tap an app.
  • Touch the ellipses or three dots menu on the top of the app window.
Close an app on Stage Manager
  • Select the Close button.
  • Now, you can open a new app from Dock or drag one from Recent Apps

Use Display Zoom for More Space

If you need more space on your Stage Manager, use the More Space feature. Here’s how:

  • Open the Settings app.
  • Scroll the left side panel to Display & Brightness.
Display Zoom
  • On the right side, tap Display Zoom.
  • Select the More Space option from the Display Zoom pop-up.
More Space Zoom Setting
  • Tap Done to implement the change. 

Disable Dock and Recent Apps From Stage Manager

Do you think the Recent Apps and Dock of Stage Manager eating away workable space on your iPad? Here’s how you can hide them. The interfaces will show up automatically when you reach out to them.

  • Open the iPad Settings app and go to the Home Screen & Multi-tasking section.
  • Access the Stage Manager menu.
  • There, uncheck the checkmarks for Recent Apps and Dock around the Stage.  

Closing App Windows and Apps

You can simply perform the following steps to minimize an app from an app group:

  • Tap the three dots menu or ellipses icon on the top of an app.
Minimize apps on Stag Manager
  • On the context menu that shows up, tap Minimize.
  • The selected app will minimize in the background, making room for a new app or more screen real estate for existing apps. 
  • A minimized app goes out of the group. 

How to Use Stage Manager on Mac

Do you work with a lot of apps on your Mac? Do you love to organize all of your apps and tools on Mac for easy retrieval when needed? Then you must start using Stage Manager on your Mac.

Find below various actions you must know before you can use Stage Manager on Mac effectively: 

Turn On and Off Stage Manager

It is quite straightforward to turn on Stage Manager on your Mac. Here are the steps you can try on your end:

  • On the Mac menu bar, look at the top right corner for icons like Wi-Fi and Spotlight, along with the Control Center.
  • Click Control Center to bring up the drop-down menu with the Focus option.
  • Just beneath Focus, you should see the Stage Manager icon.
  • Click the icon to activate Stage Manager.

If you cannot activate Stage Manager from Mac Control Center, don’t worry just yet! There’s another effortless way. Here is the alternative plan:

  • Click the Apple logo (Apple menu) on the Mac toolbar.
  • On the context menu that pops down, click on System Settings.
  • On the System Settings dialog box, scroll down the left-side panel to find Desktop & Dock. Tap on it.
  • Now, look at the right-side menu for the Windows & Apps option.
  • There, you should see the Stage Manager text along with its icon.
  • Click Stage Manager to activate the feature.

When you hit the button, the interface of the Mac will change drastically. The last selected app will come to the center stage of the screen. All other background apps will show up on the left side panel, known as Recent Apps. The Dock will show up below the center stage.  

Creating App Groups

After activating Stage Manager for the first time, you must keep adding more apps to the center stage to create a workspace of preferred apps. Now, all these open apps on the center stage form an app group. 

These apps remain on the Recent Apps and the center stage as groups unless you close one or more of these apps. When you click another app group on the Recent Apps, all the windows open simultaneously, and the existing group goes to the Recent Apps.

Stage Manager Customizations on Mac

The Mac Stage manager consists of the following modification options:

  • Recent applications
  • Desktop items
  • Show windows from an application

You can change any of the above to increase the Stage Manager real estate and get a better view of the apps. To increase center stage space, try these steps:

  • Go to Windows & Apps via the Apple menu on the Mac toolbar > System Settings > Desktop & Dock.
  • Beside the Stage Manager feature, you should see the Customize button.
Stage Manager Settings
Image Credit:
  • Click Customize to open more Stage Manager settings.
  • On the screen overlay, toggle on or off Desktop items and Recent applications


So, this is how you can utilize the Stage Manager feature on the latest iPad or Mac. Give the above features and functionalities of Stage Manager a couple of spins, and you should become a master of multi-tasking.

Try using Stage Manager regularly to figure out secret and unknown multi-tasking hacks you should only know!

You might also like these Mac Terminal commands to do more work with less effort on a MacBook, iMac, Mac Pro, or Mac Studio.

  • Tamal Das
    Tamal is a freelance writer at Geekflare. After completing his MS in Science, he joined reputed IT consultancy companies to acquire hands-on knowledge of IT technologies and business management. Now, he’s a professional freelance content… read more
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