How to use multi-app multitasking on the iPad

If you like using multiple apps on your iPad, Apple has a bunch of multitasking options for you in iOS 10 and iOS 11. Here's what you need to know.

Which iPads can take advantage of multitasking?

Any iPad that supports iOS 10 or later can use multitasking, but each offers different levels of support depending on its RAM.

12.9-inch iPad Pro (first and second generation)

The 12.9-inch iPad Pro is Apple's best implementation of multitasking: Both generations have 4GB of RAM 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.
  • 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.

10.5-inch iPad Pro

The 10.5-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.

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

  • Slide Over: Supports Slide Over; only the Slide Over pane is useable when on the screen, with the background app or Split View apps greyed 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 11'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 greyed 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.

How to use multitouch gestures on the iPad

With gesture navigation on the iPad, you can use four fingers to pinch and swipe your way through apps and the Home screen.

How to access the Dock

Note: This is an iOS 11-only feature.

Apple occasionally offers updates to iOS, watchOS, tvOS, and macOS as closed developer previews or public betas for iPhone, iPad, Apple TV and Mac (sadly, no public beta for the Apple Watch). While the betas contain new features, they also contain pre-release bugs that can prevent the normal use of your iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV, or Mac, and are not intended for everyday use on a primary device. That's why we strongly recommend staying away from developer previews unless you need them for software development, and using the public betas with caution. If you depend on your devices, wait for the final release.

  1. Swipe up from the bottom of the screen with one finger.

How to bring up the App Switcher/Multitasking View

  1. Place four fingers on the screen of your iPad.
  2. Swipe up.

How to return to the Home screen

  1. Place four fingers on the screen of your iPad.
  2. Pinch your fingers together.

How to switch between apps

  1. Place four fingers on the screen of your iPad.
  2. Swipe from left-to-right or right-to-left. (If the screen bounces back, there's no previous or next app to go to.)

    If you have a hardware keyboard, you can use Command-Tab to switch between recently-opened apps, too.

How to customize iPad multitasking

The iPad has a few different controls for multitasking that enable or disable certain features.

How to enable or disable Slide Over

Slide Over is enabled by default on all iPads that support it, but iOS 11 will allow you to disable the feature.

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Navigate to General > Multitasking > Allow Multiple Apps.
  3. Toggle the switch On or Off.

How to enable or disable Picture in Picture

Picture in Picture is enabled by default on all iPads that support it, but iOS 11 will allow you to disable the feature.

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Navigate to General > Multitasking > Persistent Video Overlay.
  3. Toggle the switch On or Off.

How to enable or disable gesture navigation

Multitouch gesture navigation is enabled by default on all iPads that support it, but iOS 11 will allow you to disable the feature.

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Navigate to General > Multitasking > Gestures.
  3. Toggle the switch On or Off.

How to enable or disable Recent Apps in the Dock

The Dock puts a few recently-used apps on display along its right side by default, but iOS 11 will allow you to disable the feature.

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Navigate to General > Multitasking > Show Recents.
  3. Toggle the switch On or Off.

Questions about multitasking?

Let us know below.

Multitasking on the iPad

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