iOS 9 Feature Preview: Multitasking on the iPad

iOS 9 logo
One of the most highly anticipated features of iOS — multitasking — is coming to the iPad in iOS 9. After months of speculation, Apple announced the addition of multitasking to the iPad in a brief overview presentation during WWDC 2015. Now that iOS 9 is available to developers and public beta testers, we can dig a bit deeper into the new feature and provide additional details on what Apple has brought to the table and how it plays out on the tablet device.

Apple has taken a three-pronged approach with its multitasking implementation in a move that is designed to provide a little something for everybody. The core components on multitasking on the iPad include Slide Over, Split View, and Picture in Picture. Each option allows you to bounce quickly and easily between apps, but does so in different ways. Rather than one single solution, you can pick and choose which multitasking option works best for the task at hand.

Slide Over

iOS 9 Slide Over
Slide Over likely will be the most utilized component of multitasking in iOS 9 as it allows you to work full screen in one app and access information in another app at the same time. When you are working in an app, simply swipe from the right side of the display to reveal a small window pane that contains information from a second app that is running in this slide-out drawer. When this panel is opened, the background app is grayed out and idle while you interact with the secondary app. iOS selects the secondary app for you, but you can easily change the app that is running in this panel. Just slide to open the drawer and swipe down from the top to reveal a list of open apps. Select an app from the list and tap on it to open it in the window. When you are done working with the secondary app, simply tap the primary app to return to full screen mode.

Split View

iOS 9 iPad Split View
Split View is an extension of Slide Over, allowing you to work with two apps on on the screen at the same time. Instead of sliding the side panel so it covers only a quarter of the screen, you simply continue sliding the side panel until it locks in the middle and splits the iPad’s screen into two side-by-side segments. Both apps remain active so you can interact with either one without switching screens or changing views. It’s perfect for times when you need to access content in one window while actively working in the other window. To end a split screen session, just slide one window until it fills the screen again.


iOS 9 - Picture in Picture multitasking
Last, but not least, Apple has added a picture-in-picture view that is similar to PiP function of most modern television sets. As expected, this option lets you view one app in full screen view and overlay another app that can be tucked away in a corner. For example, you could be searching the internet using the main window, while talking on a FaceTime call in the picture-in-picture window.


Currently, these multitasking features are only compatible with Apple’s stock iOS apps. Third-party apps with multitasking will roll out as developers begin supporting this feature. It also should be noted that these three multitasking options are not available to all iPad owners. Due to hardware limitations, the Split View option is only available on the iPad Air 2, while the Slide Over and Picture-in-Picture work on the iPad mini 2/3, the iPad Air and iPad Air 2.

With the fall debut of iOS 9 rapidly approaching, it won’t be much longer until iOS 9 and all its new features are available for the public to install on their iOS devices. Are you excited for iOS 9? What features do look forward to the most? Let us know in the comments.

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