iPadOS 14 Siri will finally let you use apps running behind it

iPadOS 14 brings a lot of big changes to Apple's biggest mobile device but it also has one change that ironically takes a small form. In the next version of iPadOS, actually also in iOS 14, Siri will no longer take up all of your screen when you use it. Unfortunately, previous beta builds made that advantage pointless since you can't use the rest of the screen anyway but it seems that Apple has finally fixed that in iPadOS 14 Beta 5.

Siri doesn't really need to occupy the whole screen, especially on an iPad. With a hulking 12.9-inch iPad Pro, that results in a huge amount of wasted space for transient information. The upcoming compact Siri will thankfully only take up a small portion in the corner of the screen, allowing you to see the rest of the app that happens to be running.

Unfortunately, you could only see the app but not touch it, at least as far as previous betas were concerned. Touching anywhere on the screen immediately dismisses Siri, making that new compact form moot. After all, you can't even use the rest of the tablet while Siri's still answering your question, which ultimately brings back the old problem of a fullscreen Siri.

Redditor Aiden Alderson, fortunately, has some good news to share. As of the fifth beta for the next iPadOS release, you can interact with whatever app is in the background. It is reportedly still spotty, though with some actions working while others are ignored or dismiss Siri like before. In this "interactive" mode, you will also have to either wait for Siri to time out or swipe it to the right to make it disappear.

This feature, however, seems to be limited to iPadOS even if iOS 14 will also be getting a compact Siri form. Users seem to be divided over which behavior is preferable on a smaller screen like an iPhone but Apple is unlikely to make it something users can switch on or off anyway.