iPadOS 16 with an 11″ iPad Pro for real | by Macweazle Fischer | August 2022

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Take screenshots on iPadOS 16

I had this fairly brief encounter with iPadOS 16, an M1-powered iPad Pro in this article. A few days ago I finally got my own M1 iPad Pro 11″ (selling the iPad Pro 12.9 2020 I’m not that keen on spending that amount of money on something I strength enjoy).

I wrote that I can almost imagine using an iPad Pro for my day job. How about putting it to the test?

The tasks to be accomplished

  1. Update a package in the MDM, with the following steps:
  • Download the file
  • Upload it to the MDM
  • Create a policy
  • Deploy
  • Send logs of this policy to IT Security

2. Join a meeting using Microsoft Teams, which includes

  • Have a video call with the team
  • Add items and files to team chat
  • Share my screen

3. Create a script and run it on a Mac

  • Have some sort of shell running on the iPad
  • Using Screen Sharing to Remotely Access a Mac
  • Transfer the script to the Mac (with screen sharing or scp)
  • Run this thing

4. Update of certain documentary elements

5. Write this piece

OK, that should do it for today.

The MDM Task

IT security wanted me to update an agent on my test Macs, sending me the compressed PKG file as an email attachment.

While Outlook for iPadOS isn’t exactly the best or most versatile email app, especially not on an iPad running iPadOS 16 beta 4, I had no problems downloading the attached file. The file manager app is improving, it had no problem unzipping the ZIP file. Uploading the resulting PKG to our JAMF Pro instance with Safari and creating the policy was totally unspectacular, working like a charm.

After deployment, I had to refer the scope (i.e. the Macs on which the software package would be installed) to IT Security. So, I downloaded the report as a CSV file, opened it using Numbers, and deleted the superfluous columns. Then I copied the remaining columns to Outlook and returned them.

Summary task #1:

It was actually much smoother than expected. Plus, the whole process took me just as long as on a Mac. Files, iPadOS’ file manager, has matured a lot, which is good.

There are some things you have to get used to; otherwise you will struggle endlessly. First, the desktop metaphor is gone. Not hidden, but gone. There is no office. Keep that in mind. Even the concept of a file is somewhat nebulous because how an application organizes its storage is its problem, not yours. That might sound dreadful, and not just because it’s a pretty drastic change that most of us are used to. Whatever your feelings, Apple doesn’t care. And here’s the good news: once you get the hang of it, get used to it, it makes sense.

The Microsoft Teams Meeting

Teams, for some strange reason, seems unable to access the camera while I’m using Stagemanager. No idea why it happened. Other than that, it worked. I could leaf through my… what are they called? The accumulation of icons on the right? — application groups, can drag an image file from Files into the Teams chat. The quirk in this takes: when sharing the screen, Stagemanager is disabled and Teams shares the main iPad screen. It worked, although it wasn’t as expected, I was able to share the screen. I hope Microsoft will have an update as soon as iPadOS 16 is released.

Summary task 2:

Even that went surprisingly well, considering Microsoft Teams needs to be aware of the changes Apple introduced with Stagemanager. My gut tells me that adapting Teams to iPadOS 16 might take more time and effort and won’t be available at launch.

Creation and execution of scripts.

It was a task I looked forward to, in some ways the most daunting of all tasks. You see, iPadOS doesn’t have a Terminal app like macOS, nor does it allow access to its file system. But, of course, there’s an app for that, or two: iSh and a-Shell. At the moment, I prefer iSh, for one simple reason: it integrates perfectly with the Files application.

The script is simple, it retrieves the domain part of an Apple ID if the Mac user has entered one.

user=$( scutil <<< "show State:/Users/ConsoleUser" | awk '/Name :/ && ! /loginwindow/ { print $3 }' )

userHome=$(dscl . read /Users./"$user" NFSHomeDirectory | sed 's/NFSHomeDirectory://' | grep "/" | sed 's/^[ t]*//')

echo "userhome $userHome"

appleid=$(dscl . readpl "${userHome}" dsAttrTypeNative:LinkedIdentity appleid.apple.com:linked identities:0:full name 2> /dev/null | awk -F'full name: ' '{print $2}' | awk -F '@' '{print $NF}')

echo $appleid

Now, how to get it on the Mac? Let’s try the old fashioned way, ssh. Of course, no problem. For screen sharing, which has always been part of macOS, I use the Screens application. While I can enable raw VNC screen sharing on my Macs, I prefer to bang my head on the table until my brain starts shaking. ). Unfortunately, it doesn’t support drag and drop for file sharing, an oversight that I hope the developers will fix.

Summary Task 3

Yawn. I think I got used to how iPadOS 16 works, not even the slightest hiccup. Oh wait, sharing files from iPad to macOS using native screen sharing (as I did years ago with Apple Remote Desktop) is waiting for a budding development team to solve. If I enabled SSH on my Macs, IT security would want my head on a plate. So I should use Cloud storage to provide this.

Documentary update

And here I thought it would be the easiest, until I hit a wall. Let me explain a bit.

For any type of documentation, I use Scrivener on Mac. Mainly because user documentation is pre-installed as ePub using Apple Books, and portions are published in PDF or HTML format for offline and online availability.

Scrivener, due to its extensive flexibility, seemed like the ideal, and it is. Not on an iPad, and not when you’re not using Dropbox for storage and syncing, but OneDrive, because, you know, corporate data. Scrivener for iPad is extremely picky about file storage for reasons that have been discussed for ages if you take a look at their user forum. Unfortunately, I was unable to transfer these files to the iPad’s local storage; which could be a bug in the OneDrive app. Downloading them from the website seems to be fine, so I can edit my documents again.

Just in case your documents rely heavily on fonts that aren’t part of iPadOS: yes, you can install them. But certainly not by just opening a font file, that would be too easy. You can either install a font app, which in turn serves the fonts to your device, or create a profile on your Mac and install it on the iPad.

Summary Task 4

It didn’t go too well. Two apps to blame, OneDrive couldn’t copy to the Files app without creating an error, so there’s the first culprit to blame. Scrivener is still difficult if you don’t want to use Dropbox as cloud storage. Although the error with OneDrive might be due to it running on a beta operating system, Scrivener is designed that way.

Of course, there are other applications with which you can solve more complex writing problems, the genre Ulysses comes to mind, but it lacks an internal text link for the glossaries which I badly need. Pages would do just as well, but for all its nice UI, I don’t really enjoy using it. Word? I won’t care – last time it lost its mind when I added all the high resolution screenshots (about 200+), replacing the low resolution intermediate ones.

write this one

Positivity washes over me. Ulysses works almost flawlessly on iPadOS 16. Unless I want to open a secondary window, then it gets a little crazy. If your text is shaking, just open the side pane (which doesn’t matter) and it stops. However, it didn’t crash once. Not even when I have three windows open, one on the iPad screen, two on my screen. Instead, the whole iPadOS crashes and Feedback Assistant opens.

Summary Task 5

Good. Minor issues when pushing multitasking, which is not unexpected at the start of a beta.

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