Using iOS 11 iPad Multitasking

iOS 11 has a new method for doing multitasking on the iPad. You can now have a floating window as well as two apps sharing the screen. The floating window can be easily moved and temporarily hidden. In all multitasking modes both apps are active. You can also exit and return to screens that are showing multiple apps.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: Using iOS 11 iPad Multitasking.

Let's take a look at the new multitasking functionality in iOS 11 on the iPad. Now the iPad had some great multitasking for iOS 10 as well but things are a little different now.

So, we have this Dock now at the bottom of the screen. The Dock works like it did before where it's persistent across different Home screens. You can drag items down to it and add it to it and drag things up. It's important, this time, that you put the apps that you use most, especially ones that you're going to use for multitasking the most, in the Dock because this is how you start multitasking.

As an example let's go into Safari and I'm just browsing a webpage. Say I want to check Mail at the same time. I'm going to tap below the bottom of the screen and drag up and you see the Dock appears. If I keep going I get the full screen with Control Center and all my recent apps and everything like that. I don't want to go all the way up. I just want to go just far enough up so the Dock appears at the bottom. I can switch to another app by tapping on it or I can tap and drag another app onto the screen.

I'm going to do that with Mail. Tap and drag onto the screen. I can add to the left side or the right side in two different modes. One is to just release like this when it's kind of this floating window and I get floating window for that app. Notice that Safari is still full screen behind this. I can grab that handle at the very top, there's a little handle at the top of that window, and drag to the left side, the right side. I can drag off the right side, only the right side, and it dismisses it but yet I can tap off the right side and drag back on and it comes right back on. It's a really quick and easy way to get something out of the way.

So I can be reading something here in Safari and I can maybe get it out of the way to read something here and get it out of the way to read something there or take it off the screen completely and then bring it back.

I can also, if I wanted to, make this a full one-third of the screen. So I'm going to tap the handle at the top and drag it down a little bit. Now it makes it a full third of the screen. Now I can drag that middle portion there to move it across, to split screen like that, or to completely get rid of it. I could start in that mode as well. By dragging up to get the Dock. Dragging Mail. If I go too far to the right it will go into that mode there where I've got now both apps having their own portion of the screen.

Notice that in all these different modes both apps are completely functional. I could scroll through both of them and do what I need in both of them. So it's, unlike before where sometimes you would have one app that was kind of frozen behind there and you would just see. So it's really very useful to be able to do this. Not only that but when you're in this mode, not the floating window mode but where each app has a portion of the screen, if I were to go back to the Home screen and go back to one of those two apps, like say Safari, it gives me back that screen with both of them. As a matter of fact if I were to drag up from the bottom and go all the way to see my recent apps, you can see Safari and Mail are grouped together there and I can, you know, tap to go back to that screen that both of them are on. Kind of like Mission Control, a little bit, on the Mac.

It's also very easy to swap apps here. So if I wanted the Music app instead of Mail to be there I can tap and drag and bring up the Music app and have it replace that.

So a lot of good functionality in iOS 11. You've got to practice with it and get used to it but definitely it works great here on the standard screen iPad Pro which is what I'm using, the old 9.7 inch.

One thing to keep in mind, is of course the apps need to have been developed to work with these various modes. So, for instance, there will be some apps that you know that are not Apple apps that are not going to work very well. So let's run the Kindle app, for instance, and with Kindle I can still bring up another app. So let's say bring up the Music app here and have that as a window but I can't make that into a full one-third of the screen because the Kindle app doesn't have a mode where it can only display in two-thirds. So this gives me the ability to use multitasking with apps that don't even have an enabled as long as they are the big app in the background.

Comments: 9 Responses to “Using iOS 11 iPad Multitasking”

    Edward Walsh
    2 years ago

    Hello Gary:

    Thanks for the video. Does this iOS11 feature work on just certain iPad’s?

    The reason I ask is I have tried to get it to work on my iPad Air and I can’t seem to get it to work. Maybe it is just me. So I hope you don’t mind taking a moment to reply to my question.


    Edward Walsh :-)

    2 years ago

    Edward: It works fine on the current iPad Air (2nd gen) but if you have an iPad Air first gen, or an older iPad mini, then there isn’t enough RAM to use some of the multitasking features.

    Kika Waialae
    2 years ago

    My iPad is running on 9.3.5 and says that the software is up to date. Can this not be updated?

    2 years ago

    Kika: Which iPad do you have? Apple lists the requirements for iOS 11 here: (at the very bottom).

    Edward Walsh
    2 years ago

    Hello Gary:

    Thanks for your reply. :-)

    Yes, I have the Apple iPad Air 1st Gen. In iOS10 I was able to do the Split Screen but I guess with iOS11 it is more demanding.

    Anyway, I appreciate your response and at least this explains why it wouldn’t work for me.

    All the best…

    Edward Walsh :-)

    Ron Seddon
    2 years ago

    Hi Gary,

    Loving your work!
    You mentioned in one response… “It works fine on the current iPad Air (2nd gen) but if you have an iPad Air first gen, or an older iPad mini, then there isn’t enough RAM to use some of the multitasking features.”
    Is there a list of features vs iPad/Mac etc where it would show the various cut off points of new functions? As in, my iPad A1745 doesn’t allow the split screen function quite as you show it in your demo.

    2 years ago

    Ron: yes. Look on the iOS 11 page at Apple’s site and you will find footnotes for this.

    Terry Haddow
    2 years ago

    I’m not sure what advantage this multi tasking has over the old. I liked the way you had a list of apps on the right ( in ios10) where you could scroll to another app. This new way seems to require you bringing the app down to the dock before you can open it in split screen – therefore a two step operation.

    2 years ago

    Terry: The new Dock includes recently-used apps too, so the app you need is more likely to be there. Plus, you can just switch to it, then back, and it will then be in that recently-used section. Te main advantage for me is the floating window instead of taking up screen real estate from the other app. Plus, apps are always active, not “frozen” as they sometimes were with the old multitasking.

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