How to Multitask on iPad?
The iPad is dominant in the world of tablets due to the variety of models available and the various use cases its app ecosystem provides. And over the last few years, with the introduction of iPadOS, Apple has slowly and steadily improved the tablet’s functionality, adding a plethora of features surrounding productivity. And the features are available on every model, ranging from the basic $329 iPad to the $1000+ iPad Pro.
So, if you have an iPad in your household and would like to use it for more than play, here is a guide on how to multitask better with your iPad.
This guide is performed with steps on an iPad Pro 11-inch (2018), running iPadOS 15.5
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Terms to know
Before we delve into how to use the various features your iPad offers, there are a few terms you will be better off knowing. You’ll find them mentioned across other supporting articles, this one included, and having a reference can help in the future.
The following terms are essential to navigating iPadOS with ease:
Slide Over: This term refers to the little window you can create on your iPad to appear over any applications active on the screen. It makes an iPhone-sized window that stretches from the top to the bottom of the display.
Split view: This feature on iPadOS refers to when you open two different windows active on display, effectively splitting it into two halves. We mention windows here because some applications — like Notes, Safari, Word, etc. — allow users to open two instances that access different tabs or files at once.
Shelf: An element of iPadOS which showcases the separate windows open for any supported application. It automatically appears when an application with multiple windows is re-opened and can also be manually activated by bringing up the Dock and tapping on the icon for the app.
Dock: Available on every OS shipped by Apple, the Dock is found along the bottom edge of the screen and can consist of applications that you want to access quickly, often because you use them the most.
App Library: App Library refers to the collection of apps found to the right of your last Home Screen Page or compressed into a button at the right edge of your Dock. Users can discover installed applications grouped by type in this section or access a List View with a swipe down when the App Library is open.
Multitasking button: Added with iPadOS 15, this is a tiny glyph (triple dots) found along the top edge of your iPad display to activate Split View or Slide Over if you aren’t comfortable with using the gesture-based system.
How to use Slide Over on iPad?
You will need an iPad running iOS 9 and later to use Slide Over. Once you’ve confirmed your device supports the feature, follow the steps below.
- Open the application you want in the Slide Over window.
- Tap on the multitasking button.
- Choose the last available option (marked in red).*
- Now, tap on any other application you want open; this will put the previously open app into a compact window.
In case you want an app to open in a compact window over the application you’re already using, pull up the Dock and drag an application from it or the App Library to the middle of the screen; this will open the app in Slide Over too.
How to use Split View on iPad?
To use Split View, follow the steps listed below.
- Open a supported application on your screen, say Apple Notes.
- Now, tap on the Multitasking Button, and choose the middle option.
- Next, tap on any other app you’d like to share the other half of the screen. This can be Photos, Safari, Notability, or even another instance of Apple Notes.
- This will create a screen where the two apps are split across your display.
Split View is supported on iPads running iOS 9 or later.
How to use Multiple Windows?
Multiple Windows in iPadOS can help with segregation of work. Perhaps you use your iPad to write content online. You could keep your tabs dealing with research consolidated to one window in such a workflow, while another window could be logged into your content management system or preferred online writing tool.
To use Multiple Windows, follow the steps below.
- Open an application that supports Multiple Windows.
- Tap on the Multitask button to bring up the Shelf.
- Now, tap on New Window to create a new application instance.
This will create a separate instance for you to perform your actions. You can also individually view the different instances in the App Switcher.
Multiple Windows are supported on iPad models running iPadOS 13 or later.
Apart from having iPadOS 13 or later, an application will also need developers to build support for Multiple Windows. Unfortunately, Apple doesn’t mandate developers to disclose whether an app provides the function or not. Hence, you may have to run a trial and error sequence with some applications. However, popular apps like Word, Adobe Reader, and Apple’s first-party applications support this feature.
Tips & Tricks
Tips for Slide Over
Users can also stack multiple applications in Slide Over with a similar drag and drop motion. Just initiate another Slide Over instance and drop it on the currently open Slide Over app.
Tips for Split View
Users can resize the application windows in Split View by placing their finger on the middle bar and dragging it to the left or right. The direction in which you move will result in one of the two apps receiving more area to use.
Create Split View Combinations in App Switcher
iPadOS even allows one to create Split View combinations in the App Switcher. To do this, just pick up a compatible application and drag it over another that you know you can use in Split View. This will create a combination that can then be easily accessed with a single tap.
Each of these features is compatible with the iPad models currently on sale. Check out our iPad Buying Guide for 2022 to understand which model is best for your use case. And if you already have an iPad and know of some neat tricks not mentioned in this article, let us know with a comment below.
iPad Models Available in 2022
iPad 9th gen
The iPad 9th Gen. features refreshed internals and an improved front-facing camera, making it the perfect tablet for kids or seniors in your family who need a device to keep in touch or get school work done with just enough power for gaming.
iPad Mini (6th generation)
The all-new iPad mini features a massive redesign, bringing it in line with the looks of the new iPad Air and iPad Pro. It packs the A15 Bionic, features support for the 2nd generation Apple Pencil, has Touch ID built into its power button, and implements a USB-C port for wired connectivity.
iPad Air (5th generation)
iPad Air 5th Gen brings the highly rated M1 processor, 5G connectivity (for cellular models), Center Stage capability, and all-new colors. It starts at $599 for the 64GB WiFi-only model, with an upgrade to 256GB of internal storage available.
iPad Pro 11-inch (2021)
iPad Pro 11-inch is the best of what Apple offers in a smaller form factor. It comes with the M1 Processor and ProMotion display, which work to provide a power-packed user experience that delivers on all fronts, be it media consumption or productivity-based tasks.
iPad Pro 12.9-inch (2021)
The 12.9-inch iPad Pro combines the best hardware available in Apple’s tablet stable. It comes with the Liquid Retina XDR display with support for ProMotion and is a choice worth looking at for those who need a high brightness panel when on the go.