Example of Apple Split View on iPad

Split View on the iPad is a powerful multitasking feature that lets you use two supported apps on the screen at the same time. Still, it can be confusing to figure out how it works, and mastering it takes practice. Here’s how to use it.

What Is Split View?

Split View displays two windows side by side in split-screen mode with a black partition in the middle. It is designed for using two apps at the same time in a situation where you may need to continuously reference each one or move information from one to the other.

An example of Split View on the iPad

Apple first introduced Split View alongside other iPad multitasking features in iOS 9, which launched in 2015. It’s available on iPad Pro or later, iPad (5th generation) or later, iPad Air 2 or later, and iPad mini 4 or later. All iPad models currently sold by Apple support Split View.

Not every app supports Split View, but most official Apple-made apps do. Third-party developers must specifically choose to support the feature for it to work properly. There is no master list of Split View supported apps, so you’ll have to use trial-and-error to see if your favorite apps work with it.

What Is the Difference Between Split View and Slide Over?

iPad’s other primary multitasking feature, Slide Over, displays a primary app in full-screen mode and secondary app in a small floating window on the left or right side of the screen. The Slide Over window can be quickly dismissed and called back when needed, making it ideal for checking information from an app quickly while working on something else.

The main differences between Split View and Slide Over are how much screen real estate each of the two apps takes up, and that each is suited to different types of tasks.

RELATED: How to Use Floating Apps (Slide Over) on an iPad

How to Use Split View on an iPad

To use Split View, open an app. This will be one of the two apps you use on the screen at the same time. To open a second app, you first need to make sure it is added to your Dock.

RELATED: How to Add an App to the Dock on an iPad

With the first app you want to use already open, slowly swipe up from the bottom of the screen to open the Dock.

Bring up the Dock on iPad to start Slide Over

Find the second app you’d like to open, place your finger on its icon, and hold it for just a moment. (But not too long, or you’ll trigger a pop-up menu.) Slowly drag the icon upward off the dock toward the direction you’d like to place the second window.

After a moment, the icon will become part of a blurry rectangular box with rounded edges. Keep dragging the icon with your finger toward the far left or right edge of the screen where you want the second window.

Placing App for Slide Over on iPad

Near the edge of the screen, the first app separates from the edge with a black border, and that is how you know you are about to enter Split View mode. (This is important to note because it is easy to place the app in Slide Over mode instead by accident.)

Transitioning from Slide Over to Split View on iPad

Once the icon you are dragging is located over the black border, you can release your finger, and the second app will snap into place. Then you’ll see Split View: two apps on screen with a black partition in the middle between them.

An example of Split View on the iPad

If it didn’t work, then you either didn’t get the maneuver just right (it is tricky and takes practice), or the app does not support Split View mode. In that case, try again, or try with a different app.

Using your finger, you can drag the partition left or right and resize both windows proportionally, making one app wider or narrower than the other according to your preference.

Proportional control of the two apps in Split View on iPad using the black partition

How to Get Rid of Split View on iPad

If you’d like to dismiss Split View, you need to get rid of one of the windows. Place your finger on the center of the black partition line, and drag it at a steady medium speed toward the right edge of the screen.

Dismissing Split View on iPad Step 1

As you slide closer to the edge of the screen, the apps will blur out, and you will see two windows with the apps’ icons in them instead. Keep sliding your finger to the right.

Dismissing Split View on iPad Step 2

Toward the very edge of the screen, the black partition between the two windows will begin to grow wider (this visually signifies that you are about to “break up” Split View). Keep sliding your finger until you reach the edge of the screen.

Dismissing Split View on iPad Step 3

Once at the edge of the screen, release your finger, and the Split View should be gone.

Maps on iPad

Multitasking features on the iPad can be quite handy and powerful if you get the hang of them. Because of the nuances of the gestures involved, they do take patience and practice to get just right.

On the other hand, if you prefer to use the iPad as a single-task device, or you keep bringing up extra app windows by accident, you can easily turn off Split View and Slide Over in the Settings.

RELATED: How to Use Multiple Apps at Once on an iPad

Profile Photo for Benj Edwards Benj Edwards
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.
Read Full Bio »