Curious about the iPad's new multitasking features in iOS 11? Here's what you need to know.
The iPad is getting a pretty significant interface adjustment in iOS 11 when it comes to working with multiple apps. In the fall when iOS 11 ships, Apple's 64-bit iPad line will receive a new Dock, multitasking features, drag and drop, virtual keyboard features, and a lot more. If you're curious about how this will look on your iPad — and whether it's eligible — read on!
What's new for iPad multitasking in iOS 11?
A whole lot. iPad owners are going to see the following features show up on their devices later this year:
A new Dock
Not only does the Dock look more Mac-like, with a rounded overlay interface, but it can store many more apps. Users can also now access it from any app with a small swipe up from the bottom of the screen, and switch apps with a tap.
A new multitasking screen
Extend that swipe up to the middle of the screen (or use a four-finger gesture), and you'll see the iPad's new App Switcher, a combination of the Mac's Mission Control interface and iOS 11's customizable Control Center widgets. The iPad's new Control Center is set up with widgets on the right side of the screen, the Dock along the bottom, and App Spaces — app thumbnails, along with Split View instances — an easy swipe to the right. You can tap (or tap and hold) on any widget to control it, or tap one of the apps to jump into full screen.
New Split View and Slide Over controls
Split View and Slide Over have gotten super-charged in iOS 11, letting you have more open panels than ever before. Split View will also allow you to actively swap panels with different apps, and control which apps sit on which side of the screen.
Drag and Drop
No, you're not dreaming. Drag and drop has come to the iPad at last, with full support for dragging apps, documents, photos, text, and more, all with a tap and hold.
Which iPads are going to get the new iOS 11 multitasking features?
Pretty much the entirety of Apple's 64-bit iPad line, with a few caveats.
- 12.9-inch iPad Pro, 2nd generation
- 12.9-inch iPad Pro, 1st generation
- 10.5-inch iPad Pro
- 9.7-inch iPad Pro*
- iPad Air 2*
- iPad Air*
- iPad, 5th generation*
- iPad mini 4*
- iPad mini 3*
- iPad mini 2*
*= These devices have less than 4GB of RAM, and as such won't be able to use every Split View and Slide Over option (detailed below).
How does the new Dock work?
Like before, the Dock lives along the bottom of your Home screen, but it now has a bunch more spaces for your favorite apps — up to 13 static apps on the 9.7-inch, and more on the larger options. As before, you can drag apps you love to the Dock to save them there; iOS will also intelligently suggest up to three more recently opened apps along the right side of the screen from which to pick.
In apps, the Dock is omnipresent, too: Swipe up from the bottom of the screen in any app, and the Dock appears, ready to switch to a different app, open up an app in Slide Over mode, or enter Split View.
How does the new Split View and Slide Over work?
Like the Split View of iOS generations gone by, iOS 11 allows iPad users to sit two iPad apps side by side while working. But how you get into Split View in iOS 11 is a little different — as well as what you can do with it.
As before, to enter Split View, you open the first app you'd like to use. But from there, there's no side-of-the-screen swiping. Instead, you swipe up from the bottom of the screen to pull up your Dock, and drag the app you want to use onto the left or right side of the screen.
A single Slide Over window appears, showcasing the new app on top of the existing one — but unlike years past, both the Slide Over app and active app can be interacted with simultaneously. This means that even if an app hasn't implemented true Split View support, you can use two apps simultaneously without having to constantly open and dismiss a Slide Over app. You can also move the Slide Over panel to either side of the screen at any time, so you're not blocking the content you need. It's additionally easy to turn that Slide Over panel into a proper Split View screen if the apps in question support it: Just drag down on the top edit handle to pull the app into Split View mode; you can then adjust the vertical edit handle to change the sizing of each panel.
Can you use Split View on multiple instances of the same app in iOS 11?
Not that we can tell, beyond apps that currently support it (like Safari).
How can I adjust Split View apps?
In Split View, you can look at applications in three ways when holding the iPad horizontally:
- 50-50: Each app takes up the exact same real estate on the iPad.
- 25-75: The app on the left takes up just 25% of the screen, with the right app taking up 75%.
- 75-25: The app on the left takes up 75% of the screen, with the right app taking up 25%.
When holding the iPad vertically, you'll only have the 25-75 or 75-25 options.
You can also adjust which pane is on the left, and which is on the right: Tap and drag the top slider to swap it to the left or right side of the screen. You can also drag it down again to return it to Slide Over mode.
How do I swap out different apps in Split View?
The best way is to pull up the Dock and go from there. Swipe up from the bottom of the screen, then drag the app you wish to use from the Dock into one of the Split View instances. It will then take over that instance, populating with the app in question.
Note: You can't currently quick switch out an app in Split View for a non-Dock app — it needs to be in your Dock for you to swap it out.
You can also use Spotlight search when connected to a keyboard.
How do I return a Split View app to a Slide Over panel?
You need only pull down again on the top edit handle.
What about getting rid of the Slide Over panel?
Just swipe to the left or right to sweep the Slide over panel off the screen. (It will continue to live on that side of the screen, so you can slide it back into existence at any time.)
What about leaving apps entirely or finding a new app?
To exit Split View, you can drag the center edit handle all the way to the left or right side of the screen to have one of the two apps take over the entirety of the screen; from there, you can change the current app by opening the Dock, or swiping all the way up to enter the App Switcher, which contains snapshots of every app you've opened on your iPad.
You can alternatively search in Spotlight for a new app: Pull down from the bottom of the screen and swipe right to access the Search bar, then type in your app query.
What does Split View look like on the 7.9-inch, 9.7-inch, 10.5-inch, and 12.9-inch iPad?
Each iPad model has a slightly different implementation of Split View, based on internal RAM and screen size.
iPad mini 2 & 3
These can't use true Split View; instead, they'll be able to pull up a single Slide Over implementation.
iPad mini 4 (7.9-inch iPad) & all supported 9.7-inch iPads
These iPads all use the Compact size class when going into Split View: This means that after you set two apps into Split View, those apps will display iPhone-style UI when set side by side in a 50-50 split, and one iPad, one iPhone-style when in a 25-75 or 75-25 split.
Because of RAM limitations on these iPads, you can pull up a maximum of two Split View apps with both in focus; you can also pull up to two Split View apps, one Slide Over app, and a Picture-in-Picture video all on the same screen, but only the Slide Over app will be in focus.
10.5-inch iPad Pro
This iPad uses the Compact size class when going into Split View: This means that after you set two apps into Split View, those apps will display iPhone-style UI when set side by side in a 50-50 split, and one iPad, one iPhone-style when in a 25-75 or 75-25 split.
This iPad has 4GB of RAM, allowing it to pull up a maximum of two Split View apps, one Slide Over app, and a Picture-in-Picture video all on the same screen and in focus (all are useable at the same time).
These iPad uses the Regular size class when going into Split View: This means that after you set two apps into Split View, those apps will display iPad-style UI when set side by side in a 50-50, 25-75 or 75-25 split.
Both 12.9-inch iPads have 4GB of RAM, allowing them to pull up a maximum of two Split View apps, one Slide Over app, and a Picture-in-Picture video all on the same screen and in focus (all are useable at the same time).
What's the App Switcher, and how do I use it?
You can either swipe all the way up from the bottom of the screen or use a four-finger swipe upward to access the App Switcher, which squishes App Spaces and Control Center together in an easy-to-access location. It essentially replaces both iOS's Multitasking View and that awkward grey vertical scrolling space when swapping apps in Split View in iOS 9 and 10; instead, you're presented with a horizontally-scrolling thumbnail gallery of every app you've ever opened — including those saved in Split View configurations.
Can I have multiple Split View configurations of the same apps?
Unlike the Mac's Spaces, you unfortunately can't have multiple configurations of the same apps (i.e. an App Space that had Safari and Mail, and an App Space that had Safari and Fantastical) at this time. It's definitely a feature I'd like to see come to iPad in the future, however.
How do I force quit apps in the new App Switcher?
Tap and hold on any app (or App Space) to bring up Edit mode; from there, tap on the X in the upper left corner of the app or App Space to remove it.
How does Drag and Drop work on the iPad?
Drag and Drop uses a touch-and-hold based multitouch interface to let you drag a remarkable amount of items inside an app itself, or even between apps using the Dock or Home button. To choose something to drag, simply highlight it and tap and hold — the item will enlarge slightly and its opacity will dim.
From here, you can use a secondary finger (or fingers) to either bring up the Dock or App Switcher while continuing to hold on that original item; you can navigate with your secondary fingers until you've found the app you wish to drop the item in, then hover it over the instance. The app will then double-pulse and open; if you can add the item to the new app, you'll see a green plus button in the upper right hand corner — once you see it, you're free to release your hold on the item. Otherwise, releasing your hold will snap it back to its original location.
What can I drag, officially?
There's no master list available currently on Apple's website, but we've seen the following work:
- Apps onto other apps in Split View (to replace the active pane)
- Multiple apps into a folder on the Home Screen
Can I drag multiple items?
Yup! After you tap the first item, use secondary fingers to lightly tap any and all additional items you want to move.
What about the old iPad multitasking gestures? Are those still there?
Yep! You can still use some multi-finger gestures in iOS 11:
- Four-finger later swipes to switch between apps
- Four-finger upward swipe to bring up the App Switcher
- Four-finger pinch to return to the Home screen
- Two-finger pinch to adjust the Picture-in-Picture options
- One-finger drag to hide Picture in Picture
Other questions about iPad multitasking?
Let me know in the comments and I'll get to digging.