The house of : A song of iOS vs iPadOS

Thomas Henry

Dec 1, 2022

7 min read

Sam and Dean, Luke and Leia, Thor and Loki, Ross and Monica. They are some of the famous sibling duos we know who more often than not, complete each other. Correspondingly, the iPad and iPhone also share a similar symbiotic relationship. Along with a Mac, one can hope to complete the Apple ecosystem with new devices being added evermore. Read further to know more about iOS vs iPadOS.

The iPad was created to be better at web, browsing, eBooks, emails, games, photos, music, and videos. It was going to be the third category of devices after the Macs and iPhones. So it had to be superior to a laptop or smartphone, otherwise it had no reason to being.

Did you Know?

Altough the iPhone was developed and released before the iPad. The concept for an iPad was there well before the iPhone.

Becoming independent: Getting its own OS

The first iPhone had a modified version of Mac OS X. Similarly, the very first iPad, launched with the same OS as the then-current version of iPhone OS or “iOS” version 3.2. It wasn’t until almost a decade later did the iPad get its own OS, the iPadOS 13. Though most features are congruent between iPhones and iPads, there are a few things that the iPad is capable of doing that the iPhone is not and vice versa

The uncanny resemblance and then some

Sam and Dean gif Tenor

To the untrained eye, the latest versions of both, iOS and iPadOS look very similar. They both have a design which resembles each other. There are so many things one can do on the iPad and the iPhone

Apple apps

When you use both an iPhone and an iPad you will experience a sense of deja vu. To allow the user to have a sense of familiarity Apple allows a few applications to be cross compatible with its devices.

Facetime, Messages, Apple Books and Notes are some of the native applications developed by Apple. These apps are found on both the iPhones and iPads.

iOS vs iPadOS: Control Centre and Dock

The Control Centre and Dock on both iOS and iPadOS are similar in aesthetics. The dock is found on the bottom of the screen orientation. The control centre houses the same quick settings options on iOS and iPadOS.

The Apple cornocupia

Apple provides some software features which is commonly found on both iPadOS and iOS

Siri is a virtual assistant that is a part of Apple’s ecosystem. It can be found on both iPadOS and iOS. AirPlay intially known as AirTunes is a proprietary wireless communication protocol stack developed by Apple which facilitates the streaming between devices of audio, video, device screens and photos and the relevant metadata. AirDrop is the file transfer software which can transfer all kinds of files, images and other media. Other common features found on both iPads and iPhones are the Find My app, iCloud and Face ID

The uniqueness that sets them apart

Geller siblings from F.R.I.E.N.D.S Tenor

With just a glance, the proverbial elephant is obvious even to a child whose mind may not understand the intricate differences between the devices that house iOS and iPadOS. The size difference. iPadOS was mainly created to cater to the vast size difference in iPads and iOS devices.

The Pencil is mightier than the sword

The Apple Pencil is a secondary accessory made by Apple for the iPad. Loyal to the iPad alone, the Apple Pencil ceases to function on the iPhone. Some may think that it’s a software issue, but. In fact, it is a question of whether the iPad has what the iPhone lacks. It is because the iPhone displays are not manufactured to be compatible with the Apple Pencil.

Made for the iPad

Apps were created specifically for the iPad to leverage its large screen. Most of the iPad specific apps are more immersive and provide a more roubst experience compared to it’s iOS counterpart

Split-screen apps

The iPad has a feature which allows 2 apps to be opened at the same time on screen. This allows you to multi-task and be more prodcutive with work. This feature also allows you to have mutiple instances of the Safari web-browser. This feature allows you to levearge the use of at most 2 Safari windows at a time

The tale of the missing calculator

Before the first iPad in 2010, Apple’s development team did have an iPad calculator ready to go. It was however just a scaled-up version of the iPhone app. Steve Jobs caught wind of it and quickly nixed it. There wasn’t enough time to design an iPad-optimized calculator before the iPad hit shelves. Similarly the Apple Health app and the Phone app are not available for download on iPadOS devices. In addtion to that, the Apple watch can only be paired with iOS devices and not iPadOS devices.

Sharing is caring.

Shared devices are organization-owned multi-user devices. These devices can be special-purpose or multi-purpose as needed in each environment. Shared devices enable front-line workers in healthcare, hospitality, retail, manufacturing, and other industries to access critical applications and tools essential to their role in the organization. In education, shared devices are used as learning aids or test-taking devices in classrooms. The shared iPad feature is exclusive to the iPad. No other device in the Apple ecosystem has this feature. Shared iPad requires a mobile device management (MDM) solution and Managed Apple IDs that are issued and owned by the organization. Users with a Managed Apple ID can then sign in to Shared iPad, which is owned by the organization. Devices must have at least 32GB of storage and be supervised.

iOS vs iPadOS: Managing your devices

Does it matter if you have only a handful of devices? Or does every employee in your organisation use an iPad or iPhone?

Surely, you would have heard about Hexnode’s expert endpoint management. Here we combine our management solution for both iOS and iPadOS. Except for a few handpicked features which are exclusive to iOS, you can manage your iOS and iPadOS devices cohesively with a single management solution.

Exclusively handpicked features for iOS

Due to the absence of the phone app on iPadOS devices, we won’t be able to block calls that can’t be placed. Like the loyalty of the Apple Pencil, the Apple Watch has sworn fealty only to iOS devices. Apart from these few exceptions, everything which can be done on iOS devices can be done on iPadOS devices.


The BYOD policy allows employees to bring their own devices. BYOD facilitates the user to bring his own devices and gain restricted access to data that is privy to the organization. Hexnode supports the user enrollment on BYOD-compliant devices on iOS and iPadOS.

User Enrollment: A usable BYOD solution for iOS?

Staying up-to-date

With timely OS updates, your iOS and iPadOS devices have the latest features both in aesthetics and in security measures. Know how to enforce updates on iPhones and iPads.

A conclusion to the iOS vs iPadOS duel

Both iOS and iPadOS offer different outcomes based on the user perspective. It is not a 2 dimensional question whether one is better than the other. Apple has developed an ecosystem which allows the various devices to exist cohesively with each other. The devices in the ecosystem are independent of each other too.

How can you manage your Apple devices

It’s no joke! Managing devices is a strenuous endeavour without the right tools. Hexnode is the swiss army knife you didnt know you needed. Do you have a hybrid set of devices with a variety of OSs? Using Hexnode you can manage them all.

Thomas Henry

A writer, reader, and traveller. Also, a comic book, TV & film geek who is always on the lookout for adventures in the concrete jungle.

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