How to use split screen mode on your iPad

Whether you use it to watch Netflix, write your work, or just scroll through social media, the main benefit of an iPad is having access to a larger screen. That big screen means it’s useful for a lot more than your standard smartphone, but did you know that iPad can use that big to open more than one app at a time? iPadOS supports split screen mode, so you can use this large screen to share your view between two apps at the same time.

All you need to get started is a little knowledge, and we’re here to provide you with that know-how. Here’s how to use split screen mode on iPadOS 14.

Further reading

Split this screen

The dock is the heart of all split screen functionality on your Apple device, as this is where all the apps are located for launch. First, make sure to set up your iPad via Settings> Home screen and docking station> Multitasking. Then activate the three controls for Allow multiple apps, Picture in picture, and Gestures. This guarantees maximum flexibility.

  • Move an app icon to the left side of the dock: First, line up all the apps you plan to use in the dock. You only have to do this once. Long press an app you want to use and drag it to the dock if it’s not already there. Icons can only be added to the left side of the divider. On the right are the icons of the apps you recently used. Alternatively, if you don’t want apps living in the dock, you can quickly launch and close the apps you want to use in order to place their icons in the dock for easy access later.
  • Launch an application: If you have a main app that you split the screen with and you want its window to be bigger, open that app first. You can split the screen 50-50 or 25-75, so your choices are limited to using two apps at once, although you can have several more open and waiting behind the scenes.
  • Swipe up from the bottom to access the dock: After your first app launches, swipe up on the toolbar to view the other apps in the dock, then choose your second app.
  • Select and drag the app icon: Press and hold on your second app, and swipe up from the dock. When you hover over it on the open app, a rectangular window appears that you can drag to the left or right of the screen, then release to open the second app.
  • Organize the split screen: With a large window taking up most of the screen and a smaller one on the side, you can arrange the windows however you like, left or right.
  • Hide and show the application tab: If you want to hide any of the apps, tap the gray bar at the top of its window and drag it to the side of the screen, which will temporarily make the app window disappear.
  • Divide the screen evenly: The second tab is in front of the first by default, but you can split the screen equally between the two apps by long pressing the gray bar at the top of the second tab and dragging it down (or up ). The two tabs will be temporarily blurry but will divide the screen evenly when released.
  • Disable multitasking: Whenever you want to quit using these features, you can go back to settings and turn them off.

The iPad’s multitasking gestures act as a manual shortcut to the app switcher or the Home screen, but it may take a bit of practice to become fluent with these gestures. For the app switcher, swipe up with one finger from the bottom edge of the screen and hold it in the middle until the app switcher appears, then choose the app you want to use. To switch between apps, swipe left or right with four or five fingers to go to a previous app. On an iPad Pro with Face ID, an 11-inch iPad Pro, a 12.9-inch iPad Pro (3rd generation), or an iPad Air 4, this gesture involves swiping the bottom edge of the screen. To return to the start screen, swipe up from the bottom edge or – this is the easiest movement – pinch five fingers together on the screen.

Slide on the slide

You can use the Slide Over feature in Split View to open even more apps at the same time – the process is pretty much the same. Simply swipe up from the bottom of the screen to show the dock, drag the app over the app divider to open an app in the windowed Slide Over view. The Slide Over view opens another app in a smaller window that floats above your main apps. You can move this window and use it just like any other application.

If you open multiple apps in Slide Over, you can toggle between them right or left using the black bar at the bottom of each window. If you want to close an app, swipe up and hold your finger in the middle of the screen to view all the apps you’ve opened. Swiping up again will close the app.

Move content in split-view apps

If you’ve opened two or more apps on your device, you can drag and drop to share content, like texts or photos, with each other. Or you can extract text or images from an email or webpage directly to your Notes application or from a web page to a text message. The options are virtually endless.

  • Open two applications in the Split View or Slide Over function.
  • Press and hold the item you want to move.
  • When it comes off, slide it carefully without removing your finger from the screen. Drop the content into your other app.
  • Try to select multiple items at once using multiple fingers; as you drag the first image, select your second content item with a different finger and untie that item as well.

Picture-in-picture mode

You can play videos in a different window while performing other tasks on your device, such as scrolling through your emails, using picture-in-picture mode. The video should continue to stream to your device even if a second app is open and running. You can move the image out of your way by dragging it to any part of your screen. Just touch the arrow icon at the top left of the screen and the video will shrink to a smaller square. You can now use your device as you normally would while you are still watching the video. To expand the video to a full screen image, tap the arrow in the lower left corner again. If the need arises, you can also hide your video by dragging it to the side of your screen.

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