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How to Multitask on iPad: An Ultimate Guide [2021]

How to Use Multitasking on iPad

iPads are powerful machines with a big impressive screen that makes them ideal for multitasking. If you have a compatible iPad model, you can use two apps simultaneously and increase your productivity. This saves time, lets you drag and drop, open two emails or message conversations, FaceTime in PiP mode, and more. Interested? Let me show you how to multitask on an iPad running iPadOS 14 or 13.

iPads That Support Multitasking

Multitasking on the iPad comprises three main options – Picture in Picture, Slide Over, and Split View. New iPads support all these features. However, old iPads do not support Split View.

iPads that Support Slide Over and PiP Mode:

  • iPad mini 2 (released in 2013) and later, iPad Air (released in 2013) and later, iPad (5th generation and later), all models of iPad Pro.

iPads that Support Split View, Slide Over, and PiP Mode:

  • iPad mini 4 (released in 2015) and later, iPad Air 2 (released in 2014) and later, iPad (5th generation and later), all models of iPad Pro

Summary: If you purchased recently, it is almost sure that your device supports full multitasking. Still, if you need help, here’s how to identify which iPad model you have.

How to Turn On or Off Multitasking on iPad

  1. Open the Settings app and tap on Home Screen & Dock.
  2. Make sure the toggle for Show Suggested and Recent Apps in Dock is enabled. This will display your recently used apps on the right side of the Dock. It is helpful for most people.
  3. Next, tap on Multitasking.Tap on Home Screen and Enable Show Suggested and Recent Apps in Dock
  4. Make sure Allow Multiple Apps and Gestures are enabled. If you turn off the former, you can not use Slide Over and Split View.Allow Multiple Apps and Gestures for Multitasking on iPad

Add Apps to the iPad Dock for Better Multitasking

Dock on iPad has two elements – the left side, which shows your favorite apps, and the right side shows the recently used apps plus the apps that are open on your iPad (but not already added to favorites on the left side).

You can easily customize the left side with apps you most frequently use. This will make it effortless to multitask.

  • Add an app to the Dock: Touch and hold on the desired app icon from the iPad Home screen and immediately drag it to the left side of the Dock. On my iPad Pro 12.9 inch, it seems like I can have a maximum of 15 favorite apps. On iPad Pro 10.5 inches, this number drops to 13 apps. Tip: You can make app folders even on the Dock.
  • To remove an app from the Dock, follow the same method, and drag the app icon from the Dock to the iPad Home screen.
  • How to See the Dock: On the Home screen, it is always visible. But when you are inside an app or multitasking, slide up gently with one finger until you see the Dock.

How to Use Two Apps at the Same Time on iPad

The iPad lets you perform the following three multitasking actions, which enables you to use more than one app simultaneously on the same screen.

  1. Slide Over: In this, the app slides in front of other open apps.
  2. Split View: In this, you can open and use two apps at the same time, side by side. Some apps like Safari even let you open two windows (more on it later).
  3. Picture in Picture: In this, the video you are watching or the FaceTime video call shrinks into a small floating window. This small popup windows stay on top of all other apps.

Pro Tip: On some iPads, you can even use Split View, Slide Over, and Picture in Picture, all at the same time! (see the below image)

Use Split View Slide Over and Picture in Picture at Same Time on iPad

How to Use Slide Over on iPad

  1. Open the first app.
  2. Open the iPad Dock by swiping up from the bottom of the screen.
  3. Touch and hold the desired app icon on the Dock and drag it to the screen. The app opens in Slide Over view.How to Use Slide Over on iPad
    How Slide Over Looks on iPad

Note: Some apps like Settings can not be opened in Slide Over (or even Split View).

How to Adjust Slide Over Settings on iPad

  • Move Slide Over app screen to left or right side: Place your finger on the small horizontal line at the top of the Slide Over app screen. Now drag it to the left or the right side.
  • Hide the Slide Over app from the Screen: Place your finger on the same small horizontal line at the top of the Slide Over app screen and drag the floating window all the way to the right to hide the app. You can not do this on the left side. To bring back the Slide Over app, swipe right to left from the screen’s right edge.
  • Open a different app in Slide Over: Even when one app is already open in Slide Over, you can follow the same steps to open another app.
  • Switch between apps in Slide Over: Swipe left or right on the bigger horizontal line at the bottom of the Slide Over window. You may also swipe up from this to see all Slide Over apps in a way that resembles App Switcher’s view on the iPhone.
  • Turn Slide Over into Split View: Touch on the top part of the Slide Over window and drag it down to the right or left side of the screen to open this app in Split View.
  • Use Slide Over in Split View: On iPad mini (5th gen and later), iPad (6th gen and later), iPad Air (3rd gen and later), and iPad Pro models, you can use Slide Over even while already in Split View. The steps to do so are the same.

How to Use Split View on iPad

  1. Open the first app.
  2. Reveal the Dock by swiping up from the bottom of the screen.
  3. Touch and hold on an app icon from the Dock and drag it all the way to the left or right edge of the screen.How to Use Split View on iPad
    How Split View Looks on iPad

How to Adjust Split View Settings on iPad

  • Change Either Window Size: Touch on the app divider (small vertical line) and drag it to the left or right to customize the window size.
  • Close Split View: Touch on the app divider and drag it all the way over the other app you want to close.
  • How to Turn Split View into Slide Over: Touch on the small vertical line on the top of the Split View app window and swipe it down.
  • Switch to Other Apps: You can swipe left to right on the bottom horizontal line to switch to other single apps. When you swipe back, you can get back to the Split View screen.
  • Open Two Windows of the Same App: Certain apps like Notes, Mail, Messages, Safari, allow you to open their two windows in Split View. The steps are the same. Reveal the Dock and drag the same app icon to open the second window in Split View.

Open Two Safari Windows in Split View on iPad

  1. Launch Safari on your iPad (preferably in landscape mode).
  2. Long press on a link inside the webpage and tap on Open in New Window. Or,Long Press on Safari Link and Select Open in New Window
  3. Long press on the multi-window button (two small overlapping squares) and choose Open New Window. Or,Long Press Multi Window Button to Open New Window
  4. Touch on one of the tabs from the top of Safari. Now drag it to the left or right side to open it in Split View.Touch and Drag Safari TabHow Two Safari Windows Look in Split View Mode on iPad

How to Close Safari Split View: Long press on the multi-window button, and depending on your choice, choose Merge All Windows.

How to Use Picture in Picture Mode on iPad

When you play a video in full screen in a browser or certain apps, you see a PiP button. Tapping on this starts playing the video in Picture in Picture mode. However, you can also have video, and FaceTime calls automatically continue in PiP mode after following the below steps.

  1. Open the Settings app and tap on General → Picture in Picture.Open Settings on iPad and Tap on Picture in Picture
  2. Make sure the toggle for Start PiP Automatically is enabled.Enable Toggle for Start Pip Automatically
  3. Now, start a FaceTime video call or play a video.
  4. Swipe up to go to the Home screen. The video will start playing automatically in Picture in Picture.Swipe Up for Home Screen
    Video Playing Automatically in Pip on iPad

You can increase or decrease the window size, hide it, or go back to the full-screen video. Our separate guide on how to use YouTube in PiP on the iPhone and iPad will tell you more about these things.

Use Gestures to Multitask on iPad like a Pro

If you are familiar with iPhone gestures, you will have no trouble navigating through the iPad as well. Here are some important ones.

  • Go to App Switcher: Swipe up from the bottom of the screen and hold. You will see all the open apps as small thumbnails.
  • Switch Apps: When you are using an app or are in Split View, swipe left or right with four or five fingers to go to the previously used application. If you are using an iPad with Face ID, you may also swipe left or right on the bottom edge (just like the iPhone).
  • Go back to the Home screen: Pinch inwards using five fingers or swipe up from the bottom edge of the iPad screen.

Use Drag and Drop Between Apps on iPad

You can drag and drop photos, text, and files from one app to another following the steps below.

  1. Open two apps in Split View. For example, you can drag text from Safari to Notes, pictures from the Photos or Files app to Messages, or calendar event to the Mail app, and so on.
  2. Touch on the image, file, or selected text. It will lift. Now, drag it over to the text field or the appropriate field in the other app and drop it.Touch Picture and Drag and Drop it
    Drag and Drop iPad
  3. To select multiple images (or files), touch and slightly drag the first one. Next, tap on other images to select them. A green badge will tell you about the number of selected items. After this, drop them in the other app.

Signing Off

This is almost all you need to know about using more than one app on the iPad at the same time. From iPadOS 13 and onwards, Apple has improved its multitasking capabilities. This has positioned the iPad as a unique, helpful device that sits between the iPhone and Mac.

What do you love the most about your Apple tablet? What do you primarily use it for? Express your opinion in the comments down below.


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