Crossed-out iPad Split View

Apple first introduced multitasking features called Split View and Slide Over in iOS 9. These multitasking features are powerful if you know how to use them, but they can be confusing. If you’d rather have that classic iPad single-tasking experience, Apple lets you disable multitasking.

Update, 9/21/22: Unfortunately, disabling multitasking is no longer possible for iPadOS 15 and above. You can still manually exit Split View. And if you want to hide a Slide Over app, tap and hold the multitasking button (three dots) at the top of the window and swipe the app off your screen to the left or right.

How to Disable Multitasking on iPadOS 13 or Newer

First, launch the “Settings” app. Its icon looks like a set of gears and is located on the first page of your homescreen by default.

Launch Settings App on an iPad

Once in Settings, locate “Home Screen & Dock” in the left column and then tap it.

Select Home Screen and Dock in Settings

Locate “Multitasking” on the right side of the screen and select it.

Select Multitasking options

You’ll see a list of multitasking options with switches beside them. This is what they do:

  • Allow Multiple Apps: This option enables or disables Split View and Slide Over that allows two apps on the screen at the same time.
  • Picture in Picture: This option enables or disables the ability to play a video in the corner of the screen while you use other apps.
  • Gestures: This option enables or disables multitasking gestures, such as launching the app switcher with a single-finger swipe upward from the bottom of the screen, switching apps with four-finger swipes, and returning to the home screen from an app by swiping up from the bottom of the screen.

To totally disable multitasking, tap all three switches to turn them off.

iPadOS multitasking features enabled

Some people keep the Gestures toggle enabled (which eases switching between apps) and disable the other two options. That comes down to personal preference.

iPadOS multitasking features disabled

And now you’re set. No more accidentally launching multitasking on your iPad!

How to Disable Multitasking on Earlier Versions of iOS

If you’re running iOS 9 through iOS 12, you can disable multitasking by following these steps. The settings that control multitasking are located in a different location than the example shown above.

First, Launch the “Settings” app. Navigate to General > Multitasking (this is called “Multitasking & Dock” on iOS 11 and 12). Find the Allow Multiple Apps, Persistent Video Overlay, and Gestures switches and tap each one to turn the features off.

Prior to iOS 9, the iPad operating system did not ship with Split View and Slide Over features.

That’s it! Sit back, relax, and enjoy your single-screen iPad experience.

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Benj Edwards is a former Associate Editor for How-To Geek. Now, he is an AI and Machine Learning Reporter for Ars Technica. For over 15 years, he has written about technology and tech history for sites such as The Atlantic, Fast Company, PCMag, PCWorld, Macworld, Ars Technica, and Wired. In 2005, he created Vintage Computing and Gaming, a blog devoted to tech history. He also created The Culture of Tech podcast and regularly contributes to the Retronauts retrogaming podcast.
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