This year’s refreshed iPad Pros have powerful new processors that separate them from the predecessors, but they also have an underrated new video-calling feature that frees you from your desk.
The 11-inch and 12.9-inch M1 iPad Pros have an upgraded 12-megapixel ultra-wide-angle lens with 122-degree field of view, and that new lens enables a trick called Centre Stage. If you enable it in a video-calling app, Centre Stage uses the front-facing camera to track your face as you move around the frame — and because its field of view is so wide, you can free yourself from your desk to, say, stand up and move around while still keeping yourself in the centre of the frame.
This trick is even more useful when you want to hop on a video call with someone next to you. Centre Stage zooms out and refocuses to keep you both in frame, which makes it easier to look good on a call.
To enable Centre Stage in FaceTime, open Settings and tap FaceTime. Toggle on the Centre Stage setting to keep it enabled, and you can always dive back in to toggle it off if you want. If you’re in a FaceTime and want to turn on the feature, swipe up from the bottom of the screen and tap on Centre Stage.
You can also use Centre Stage in third-party video-calling apps. The feature is in different spots in those apps — in Zoom, for instance, you access it from the lefthand sidebar.
The only bummer is that Centre Stage doesn’t make the iPad Pro’s camera placement any less awful — if you use the iPad in landscape orientation for video calls, as is natural, then you’ll still have to awkwardly look to the left of the screen to make yourself look like you’re paying attention. Maybe one day Apple will place the front-facing camera in a place that makes sense. Today is not that day, but at least we have Centre Stage.