How iPad Apps Adapt to the New 8.3" iPad Mini

Xcode 12 / iOS 14 Builds

Apps that were built with Xcode 12 or earlier (i.e. targetting iOS 14 or earlier) are unaware of the existence of the new 8.3" iPad screen size and its resolution.

Non-Multitasking Apps

iPad apps that do not support iPad multitasking (i.e. they have UIRequiresFullScreen set to YES in the Info.plist) will appear at the 10.9" 4th Generation iPad Air resolution, scaled to fit the height of the 8.3" iPad. It is letterboxed (black bars to the left/right) in landscape and pillar boxed (black bars to the top/bottom) in portrait. This scaling results in some slight blurring and scaling artefacts.

Xcode 12.5.1 / iOS 14.5 build of Adaptivity running on landscape 8.3" iPad mini simulator running iOS 15.0
Xcode 12.5.1 / iOS 14.5 build of Adaptivity running on portrait 8.3" iPad mini simulator running iOS 15.0

Xcode 13.0 / iOS 15.0 Builds

When built with Xcode 13.0 (i.e. linked against iOS 15.0) or later, apps get access to the native screen size of the 8.3" iPad mini whether they require full-screen or not.

Xcode 13.0 / iOS 15.0 build of Adaptivity running on landscape 8.3" iPad mini simulator running iOS 15.0
Xcode 13.0 / iOS 15.0 build of Adaptivity running on portrait 8.3" iPad mini simulator running iOS 15.0

Split Screen Multitasking

The 8.3" iPad mini shows two compact-width apps side-by-side when using a 50:50 split.

Xcode 13.0 / iOS 15.0 build of Adaptivity running side-by-side on 8.3" iPad mini simulator running iOS 15.0
Xcode 13.0 / iOS 15.0 build of Adaptivity running side-by-side on 8.3" iPad mini simulator running iOS 15.0
Xcode 13.0 / iOS 15.0 build of Adaptivity running side-by-side on 8.3" iPad mini simulator running iOS 15.0

Slide Over

The 8.3" iPad mini shows compact-width Slide Over apps with a width of 375 points (750 pixels) in landscape and 320 points (640 pixels) in portrait.

Xcode 13.0 / iOS 15.0 build of Adaptivity running in Slide Over on 8.3" iPad mini simulator running iOS 15.0
Xcode 13.0 / iOS 15.0 build of Adaptivity running in Slide Over on 8.3" iPad mini simulator running iOS 15.0

iPhone-Only Apps

As descibed in my article How iPhone-only Apps Appear on iPad, iPhone-only apps run on iPad appear as pixel perfect iPhone 8 (and similar) at the small zoom size. Since iOS 12, iPhone apps on iPad are scaled at the larger zoom size to fill the screen (whilst maintaining the correct aspect ratio).

iPhone only build of Adaptivity running on 8.3" iPad mini simulator running iOS 15.0

Conclusion

In WWDC 2019: 224 Modernizing Your UI for iOS 13, the presenter discusses backward compatibility and states:

Adaptivity

The screenshots in this article were taken from my Adaptivity app. Adaptivity is an app for developers and designers. It has tools to visualise how Size Classes and margins for layout, readable content and the safe area look on real devices and how they change with respect to orientation, iPad multitasking and Dynamic Type size changes. A comprehensive System Images view shows the different SF Symbols data sets across iOS versions with availability, localization and name change information. There are also views for visualising Dynamic Type styles, System Colors, System Fonts and System Materials. The app is a universal purchase and includes the Mac Catalyst version.

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Geoff Hackworth

Geoff Hackworth

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Independent and freelance software developer for iPhone, iPad and Mac