The Complete Guide to iPad Multitasking: Split Screen, Slide Over & Picture-in-Picture (UPDATED FOR iOS 11)

Multitasking on iPad was introduced with iOS 9. However, iOS 11 brings a lot of new multitasking features to iPad that you’re going to want to know. From how to use Split View (aka Split Screen) on iPad to changes in iOS 11 regarding the Dock, App Switcher, Drag & Drop, Slide Over, and more. iPad Multitasking with iOS 11 is better than ever. You can even have three apps open at once. Of course, regardless of all of the awesome changes with iOS 11 and iPad Multitasking, we’ll still cover the three main multitasking functions on iPad: Split View, Slide Over, and Picture-in-Picture. Unfortunately, not all models of iPad can perform multitasking and some can only perform Slide Over and Picture-in-Picture. We’ll go over which iPads have iOS multitasking functions and how to use them. Here’s everything you need to know about iPad Multitasking with iOS 11.

Related: Ready to Learn iOS 11? Become an Expert with Our Complete Guide

Master your iPhone in one minute a day:

Sign up to iPhone Life's Tip of the Day Newsletter and we'll send you a tip each day to save time and get the most out of your iPhone or iPad.

Before I jump into how to use iPad Split View in iOS 11, I’ll cover all of the new iPad Multitasking features for iPad and how to use them. The new changes make a huge difference in your productivity flow and ability. If you’re used to using iPad Multitasking with iOS 10, this article will bring you up to speed on how to use Slide Over and Split Screen (View) in iOS 11. But if you don’t skip the What’s New information below, you’ll also learn some brand new tricks for multitasking on iPad.

What’s New: iPad Multitasking in iOS 11

Expanded Dock

In iOS 11 on iPad, the dock expands edge-to-edge on screen and can hold up to 13 apps. The three apps on the very right of your dock are the most recent apps you’ve visited. You can turn this feature off, however, by opening Settings, tapping General, selecting Multitasking, and toggling off Show Recents.

You can also now drag and drop apps to and from the Dock. We’ll cover more on Drag & Drop in iOS 11 below; but for now, what you need to know is how to drag and drop an app:

  • Simply tap and hold the app for a couple seconds until it pops out a little.
  • Then it drag it where you want it to go and drop it by lifting your finger off the screen.

Lastly, the Dock on an iPad with iOS 11 is accessible in other apps. When you open an app, the Dock will disappear. But a quick swipe up from the bottom of your screen will bring the Dock back. This makes switching between apps much quicker; for example, let’s say you’re in the Notes app and you need to copy a quote from Safari. Simply swipe up on your Dock, tap Safari, copy the quote, open the Dock again, and tap Notes to return.

Drag & Drop

Another new feature in Multitasking on iPad with iOS 11 is the ability to Drag & Drop. This feature is aptly named, as it allows you to drag and drop files, photos, apps, text selections, and reminders. To use Drag & Drop:

  • Tap a piece of content until it pops out slightly.
  • If you’re moving one piece of content, hold the popped out file with one finger and use another finger to swipe up and open Dock.
  • Then click on the app you want to move the content to.
  • Once it opens, drop the content where it needs to go.

For example, let’s say you have an image in Notes that you want to move to the Files app. You could pop it out, open the Files app, and drop the image in. This allows you to skip the process of sharing a piece of content to another app, amongst other things.

How to Drag & Drop Multiple Pieces of Content

  • Let’s say you want to move some images to a Note.
  • Tap and hold one image to pop it out and begin the dragging process.
  • Then, with your other hand, tap the other images you want to add to the first.
  • A blue number will appear in the top corner of the bundle, letting you know how many pieces of content you’ve selected.
  • If you’re using Split View or Split Screen, you can drag the content from one app to the other app that’s open.

Overall, Drag & Drop makes it really easy to move content from app to app. However, it doesn’t work in all apps. Here’s a list of the current iOS app that Drag & Drop works in:

  • Reminders 
  • Calendar
  • Messages
  • Files
  • Safari
  • Contacts
  • iBooks
  • News
  • Notes
  • Photos
  • Maps
  • Keynote
  • Pages and Numbers

Redesigned App Switcher

The iPad App Switcher got a major facelift with iOS 11. You open the App Switcher by pressing the Home button twice. In iOS 11, this shows you a grid with all of the apps that are open on your device in the background, whether active or inactive. Any apps that you’ve used together in Split View mode will show up together, which makes it easy to return. Control Center has also  found a new home in the App Switcher.

Keyboard Shortcut

The on-screen keyboard on iPad has changed with iOS 11. Now, each key also has a corresponding number or punctuation mark. Instead of having to switch between keyboards to insert numbers and punctuation, all you need to do in iOS 11 is swipe down on a key and release to enter the secondary option. Overall, this makes the flow of typing much smoother.

iPad Multitasking in iOS 11

Which iPad models can Multitask?

Slide Over:

iPad Pro, iPad Air or later, and iPad mini 2 or later.

Split View:

iPad Pro, iPad Air 2 or iPad mini 4.

Picture-in-Picture:

iPad Pro, iPad (5th generation), iPad Air and later, or iPad mini 2 and later.

How to Use Slide Over with iOS 11

Slide Over on iPad allows you to open a second app on the right third of your iPad’s screen. To open Slide Over:

  • Open an app on iPad.
  • Swipe up for the Dock.
  • Drag the second app you want to open onto the middle of the screen.

With iOS 11, you can use both apps are the same time without the other side graying-out like it did in iOS 10. You can also now move Slide Over around your screen by tapping the gray bar at the top and dragging it to the left or right.

To Close Slide Over in iOS 11

  • When you have the Slide Over window on the right side of your screen, you can swipe right to dismiss it and swipe in to bring it back.

How to Use Split View (aka Split Screen) with iOS 11

Split View on iPad allows you to work in two different apps simaltaneously. You can split the screen and have one app on either side, or have one app that's taking up a third of the screen. To open Split View on iPad with iOS 11:

  • Open an app on iPad.
  • Swipe up for Dock.
  • Drag the second app you want to open to the left or right side of the screen.
  • Alternatively, you can open Split Screen from Slide Over by gently swiping down on the gray bar at the top of Slide Over.
  • That will open Slide View. You can swipe down again on the gray bar to return to Slide Over.
  • Once you’re in Split View, you can resize your app windows by dragging the app divider to the center of your screen.

To Close Split View in iOS 11

  • Drag the app divider over the app you want to close.

How to Open Three Apps at Once on iPad with iOS 11

Something new you can do, if you have an iPad compatible with Split View on iPad, is open three apps at once.

  • To do this, follow the directions above to open Split View.
  • Once Split View is open, you can swipe up to open the Dock, and drag yet a third app onto the screen in Slide Over.
  • However, when you do this, make sure to drag the third app to the center of your screen; otherwise, you’ll just replace one of the Split View apps.
  • But from here, you can easily swipe right to dismiss the Slide Over while you use other apps and swipe in to bring it back.

This is ideal for use with an app like Music, which you don’t need constant access to but may want to easily skip a song or change a playlist now and again.

How to Use Picture-in-Picture

Picture-in-Picture allows you to watch a video or chat on FaceTime while working in other apps. To use Picture-in-Picture:

  • Locate a video and look for an icon that looks like two overlapping squares.
  • Tap this icon to scale the video down and place it in the corner of the app.
  • You can drag the video to another corner and make it larger or smaller by pinching two fingers.
  • To return to the page where the video was playing, tap the same icon you tapped to begin Picture-in-Picture.

Every now and again I’ll come across a video that doesn’t offer Picture-in-Picture. It works well for videos found in Safari and is excellent for FaceTime, but as of yet, it doesn’t work within the YouTube app. But YouTube videos embedded in Safari do offer Picture-in-Picture.

 
 
Master your iPhone in one minute a day: Sign up here to get our FREE Tip of the Day delivered right to your inbox.

Conner Carey holds a bachelor's in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing and resides in Fairfield, Iowa. When she's not writing, you can find her singing jazz or watching anime. Her personal blog can be found at connerleecarey.com; you can also follow her on twitter @connerleecarey.