Apple iPad offers lots of multitasking tools that are worth using to save time, perform tasks in new ways, and yes, have more fun. Here's what you can do with multitasking on Apple's tablets.

What does multitasking look like?

There are four components to multitasking on iPad: Slide Over, Split View, Picture-in-Picture, and the App Switcher. These features have received continual improvement since their introduction onto the iPad, including several improvements coming with the release of iPadOS 13.

Slide Over

Slide Over allows you to have a second app on the left or right side of the screen in an iPhone-sized floating pane; you can also hide it off the screen or re-summon it at any time by swiping it away (hence the "slide" portion of the name).

Slide Over doesn't have a default "app" you can slide in from the screen — after a restart, you'll need to drag one on the screen from the Dock or Home screen.

How to use Slide Over in iOS 12

Split View

Split View lets you have two persistent apps sitting side by side on your iPad. Depending on the screen size of your iPad, those two apps may be displayed as Compact (iPhone UI) or Regular (iPad UI) next to each other.

On certain iPads, you can also resize Split View panes for a 50-50, 25-75 or 75-25 split in a horizontal orientation; when holding the tablet vertically, you'll only have the 25-75 or 75-25 options.

  • 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 multitasking in the App Switcher, Split View apps will remain conjoined until separated; Apple calls them "App Spaces." Unlike the Mac's Spaces, you 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.

How to use Split View in iOS 12

Picture-in-Picture

If you're watching a video in an app that supports Picture-in-Picture, you may be able to minimize the video window to float alongside your current workspace, effectively making the video a second Slide Over pane.

Once in Picture-in-Picture mode, you can pinch-to-zoom or shrink the window, position it in any corner of the screen, play/pause video, slide the video off-screen, or return it to its original app.

How to use Picture-in-Picture on your iPad

App Switcher

iOS 12's App Switcher replaces iOS 10's multitasking screen and can be accessed by swiping up with one finger from the bottom edge of the screen and holding in the middle of the screen until the app switcher appears It's comprised of three parts, the Dock, App Spaces, and recently used apps.

App Spaces can be found at the top of the screen; they're what Apple is calling its conjoined Split View apps. You can tap to enter them, though you can't currently separate them or create new App Spaces from the App Switcher interface.

Other recently used apps can be scrolled through by swiping right and tapped on to enter them; you can also force quit them by pressing and holding on a pane and moving your finger upward.

Which iPads can take advantage of multitasking in iOS 12?

Any iPad that runs iOS 12 can use multitasking, but each offers different levels of support depending on its RAM.

12.9-inch iPad Pro (first, second, and third-generation)

The 12.9-inch iPad Pro is Apple's best implementation of multitasking: All three generations have 4GB of RAM (except the 2018 1TB versions, which have 6GB) and a screen large enough to support Split View apps in their largest configuration.

  • Slide Over: Supports Slide Over on top of Split View with full interaction* for all apps

    Third- and second-generation iPad Pro only; first-generation supports Slide Over on top of Split View, but only Slide Over is in focus.

  • Split View: Supports Regular (iPad UI) size classes in Split view; it supports 50-50/25-75/75-25 views horizontally and 25-75/75-25 views vertically.
  • Picture-in-Picture: Supports PiP next to Slide Over and on top of Split View with full interaction.

11-inch iPad Pro

The 11-inch iPad Pro also has 4GB of RAM, but the smaller screen limits it to iPhone UI-style sizes in Split View.

  • Slide Over: Supports Slide Over on top of Split View with full interaction for all apps.
  • Split View: Supports Compact (iPhone UI) size classes in Split view; it supports 50-50/25-75/75-25 views horizontally and 25-75/75-25 views vertically.
  • Picture-in-Picture: Supports PiP next to Slide Over and on top of Split View with full interaction.

10.5-inch iPad Pro

The 10.5-inch iPad Pro has 4GB of RAM.

  • Slide Over: Supports Slide Over on top of Split View with full interaction for all apps.
  • Split View: Supports Compact (iPhone UI) size classes in Split view; it supports 50-50/25-75/75-25 views horizontally and 25-75/75-25 views vertically.
  • Picture-in-Picture: Supports PiP next to Slide Over and on top of Split View with full interaction.

9.7-inch iPad Pro, iPad mini 4 (7.9-inch iPad), and all other 9.7-inch iPads (2017 + 2018)

  • Slide Over: Supports Slide Over; only the Slide Over pane is useable when on the screen, with the background app or Split View apps grayed out.
  • Split View: Supports Compact (iPhone UI) size classes in Split view; it supports 50-50/25-75/75-25 views horizontally and 25-75/75-25 views vertically.
  • Picture-in-Picture: Supports PiP next to Slide Over and on top of Split View with only PiP and Slide Over in focus.

iPad mini 2 and 3, and iPad Air

These devices can't use most of iOS 12's multitasking features due to RAM limitations.

  • Slide Over: Supports Slide Over; only the Slide Over pane is useable when on the screen, with the background app grayed out.
  • Split View: Not supported.
  • Picture-in-Picture: Supports PiP next to Slide Over and on top of Split View with only PiP and Slide Over in focus.

Using Slide Over or Split View

Whether you want to add a Slide Over pane or enter Split View, adding an app to your workspace is pretty simple.

From the Dock

  1. Swipe up from the bottom of the screen to invoke the Dock.
  2. Tap and drag on an app in the Dock to invoke Multitasking mode.
  3. Drag the app out of the Dock up to the screen.

    Swipe up, tap and drag, drag app

Drag a different app on top of your existing Split View or Slide Over app to switch the app that's in Split View or Slide Over.

From the Home Screen

Want to use an app that's not in your Dock? Here's how to go about it.

  1. Go to the Home Screen.
  2. Tap and drag on an app on your Home Screen to invoke Multitasking mode.
  3. While dragging the app, use a second finger to tap the other app you want to use. (If the other app is on another Home screen, you can swipe and then tap while dragging on the first app.)

How to choose the type of multitasking you want: Slide Over or Split View

Once you've picked the app you'd like to use, you can choose what kind of multitasking you'd like to do: Slide Over, or Split View.

  1. To invoke Slide Over, drag the app to the center of the screen.
  2. Release your drag. Slide Over automatically positions on the right side of the screen.

    Drag app to center of screen, release drag

  3. To invoke Split View, drag the app to the far left or right of the screen until you see the main app pane bump over, leaving a black space.
  4. Release your drag.

    Drag app to side, release drag

How to turn a Slide Over pane into a Split View pane

  1. Swipe to the left on the right side of the display to invoke the slide over window.
  2. Pull down on the Slide Over pane's Edit handle at the top of the screen until you see the main app pane bump over, leaving a black space.
  3. Release your drag.

    Open Slide Over, pull down edit handle, release drag

How to turn a Split View pane into a Slide Over pane

  1. Pull down on the Split View pane's edit handle at the top of the screen until you see the main app pane bump over, taking over the entirety of the screen.
  2. Release your drag.

    Pull down on Split View, release

How to reposition an app in Slide Over or Split view

  1. Tap, and drag the edit handle to position the Slide Over window on the left or right side of the screen.
  2. Tap and drag either the edit handle or the left side of the Slide Over window.
  3. Drag the Slide Over window all the way to the right side of the display until it disappears to dismiss the window.

    Tap and drag handle, drag handle, drag window all the way to the side

How to reposition an app in Split View

  1. To reposition the size of each Split View, drag on the vertical edit handle in the middle of the screen.
  2. Tap and drag the top edit handle to the left or right to reposition the split view window.

    Drag edit handle, drag top edit handle

How to use Slide Over and Split View in iPadOS 13

Split View, and especially Slide Over, are seeing improvements in iPadOS 13. Slide Over now has the ability to hold multiple apps, and though you can still only view them one at a time, switching between them is easier than ever.

How to add multiple apps to Slide Over

We just showed you how to have three apps on the screen at once with a combination of Split Screen and Slide Over views. But with iPadOS 13, you can now have more than one app in Slide Over view, so you can work in more apps at once.

  1. Follow the directions above for getting three apps in Split Screen View.
  2. Slide your finger up from the bottom of the screen to bring up the Dock.
  3. Tap-and-drag an app icon from the Dock to the Split Screen view, making sure that it's above the split line or towards the side edges where the window becomes smaller.
  4. This new app will go to the forefront of the Slide Over apps.

    Drag another app from Dock as a Slide Over appDrag another app into the Slide Over view

  5. Repeat steps 2-4 for all of the apps that you need in a single space.

If you want another instance of an app that is already open in Split Screen or Slide Over views (i.e. Safari), you can choose to open up an existing instance, or a fresh new slate.

How to rotate through app tabs in your multi-app spaces

When you have several apps open in the multiple Slide Over view, only the most recent one appears in the front. But it's easy to rotate between all of your open app tabs in a Split Screen or Full-Screen space.

  1. Make sure to get several apps in Slide Over view using the directions above for adding multiple app tabs.
  2. Touch-and-hold the handle at the bottom of the frontmost app in Slide Over view.

    Grab the bottom handle on Slide Over view

  3. Swipe to the right to bring the previous app to the front.

    Drag the Slide Over handle to the right

  4. Repeat the process until you get the app you need in the front.

    The previous Slide Over app will now be in the front

How to trigger the Slide Over Switcher

Earlier, we showed you how to rotate through multiple app tabs in Slide Over view. If you don't want to go through them all one-by-one, you can spread them out and pick the one you want to jump to with the new Slide Over Switcher.

  1. With multiple Slide Over apps active in a space (single or Split Screen view), touch-and-drag the handle at the bottom of the Slide Over app upwards.
  2. Once you see the other Slide Over views peeking through, release your finger.

    Grab this Slide Over handleDrag tha Slide Over handle upwards

  3. All apps that you've opened in Slide Over view will appear spread out in cards.

    • Scroll through them by swiping left and right.
    • Tap on the app you want to jump into.

    iPadOS Slide Over Switcher

How to remove Slide Over windows

  1. While you're in Slide Over view, activate the spread out app tab view (Slide Over Switcher) as described above.

    Open the Slide Over Switcher

  2. Scroll left and right to find the app that you want to remove.
  3. Swipe that app's card up to remove it.

    Swipe up on an app in Slide Over Switcher to closeSlide up in Slide Over Switcher to close

  4. Repeat steps 2-3 until you've removed all of the apps that you want.

How to use App Exposé in iPadOS

When you start opening up a bunch of apps and working with multiple instances of an app, it's easy to lose track of what you have open. iPadOS 13 brings a few new ways to see everything at once: App Exposé and Slide Over Switcher.

How to trigger App Exposé

App Exposé lets you view all open windows for an app. There are two ways to do this.

  1. When you're in Split Screen, Full Screen, or Slide Over mode, slide your finger up from the bottom of the screen to bring up the Dock.
  2. Tap on an app.
  3. App Exposé will reveal all open instances of that app, including Split Screen and Slide Over views.

    Bring up Dock, tap on appSafari App Exposé

The other way to trigger App Exposé is when you're just on the home screen.

  1. On your Home Screen, long-press on an app icon until a menu pops up.

    Long press on an app

  2. Tap on Show All Windows to open App Exposé for that app.

    Popup menu, Show All WindowsApp Exposé from Home Screen

While you're in App Exposé, you can tap on an instance of that app to open it back up. Slide Over views cannot be opened unless there is an active app or Split Screen view.

Other questions on Split View and Slide Over?

If you have any questions about iPad multitasking with iOS 12, drop them in the comments!

Updated September 2019: Added information about iPadOS 13. Serenity Caldwell contributed to an earlier version of this guide.