New iPadOS 16 feature: Window resizing in progress?

As is always the case ahead of WWDC, speculation is rife regarding potential new features and changes. One of the biggest questions every year is whether this year’s iPadOS update will finally be the one that unlocks the full power of iPad hardware.

Ahead of WWDC 2022 kicking off on June 6, recent changes to WebKit hint at some big changes that may be coming to the iPad when it comes to window resizing…

Window resizing with iOS 16?

For those unfamiliar, WebKit is Apple’s browser engine that powers Safari and other web browsers. Because WebKit is an open source engine, the code is public and available to everyone on GitHub.

As first noted by Steve Troughton-Smith on Twitter, recent additions to the WebKit framework on GitHub point to support for a new “multitasking mode” that would enable freely resizable windows on iPadOS. WebKit GitHub updates indicate that iPadOS would add a new system-wide toggle for “multitasking mode” that would enable this feature.

A separate GitHub update from an Apple engineer corroborated these changes, again referring to WebKit updates designed to improve compatibility with this so-called “multitasking mode”.

Smith explained what exactly this could mean, comparing it to the “tablet mode” feature currently available for Windows devices:

It seems that “multitasking mode” can change at runtime, so apps can jump in and out of it. I could imagine something like Windows 10’s “tablet mode” which you can toggle at any time to restructure the UI for touch versus mouse and keyboard.

WebKit code repeatedly references the idea of ​​whether or not the iPad has “multitasking mode” enabled or disabled. Safari would adjust its behavior based on the current state of this system toggle.

It’s hard to glean too many specific details from these WebKit infrastructure changes, but WebKit changes in the past have been good indications of future iPadOS, iOS, and Mac updates. This isn’t the first information from WebKit that we’ve seen suggesting potential iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 changes, either.

In February, 9to5Mac reported WebKit code changes that suggest iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 may bring new features for dark mode as well as an API to manage cookie consent forms and allow or block modal pop-ups for specific websites . These features could also be incorporated into macOS, as WebKit is also the engine that powers Safari on the Mac.

Again, take these WebKit changes related to a new “multitasking mode” with a grain of salt for now. We’ve all been repeatedly burned hoping that a new iPadOS update will bring significant improvements for power users, but this seems like pretty solid evidence to suggest that iPadOS 16 could be the year that changes that. finally.

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