Okay, I admit it. I am one of those folks who hated the iPad Dock in the beginning. But over time, I’ve come to really like this iOS and iPadOS multitasking features. I find myself using it all the time, especially when dragging and dropping content between apps. That’s fantastic!
But one thing is still driving me a bit bonkers and that’s how the heck do I close (or dismiss) apps when in a multitasking session to get back to a single on-screen app?
I just can’t seem to get the knack of how-to close apps in iPad Multitasking split view or slide-over. After all this time, it’s still hit or miss–sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. So I figure I’m not alone in this problem…or at least I hope not!
Follow these quick tips to turn off split-screen and slide-over on your iPad
- For iPadOS go to Settings > Home Screen & Dock > Multitasking
- For older iOS versions, go to Settings > General > Multitasking & Dock
- Close a Slide Over app by swiping the left edge all the way off the right side of your screen
- Close a Split View app by tapping and holding the center gray handlebar and swiping it off screen (left or right)
- Customize your Home Screen app icons and Today View in iPadOS
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- You can now use Quick Actions and Peek on any iPhone or iPad running iOS 13
- How to get the most out of QuickPath keyboard feature on iPadOS
- How-To Use Your iPad Dock
- How to Close & Switch Between Apps in iOS
- Drag & Drop in Your iPad with iOS
Updates for iPad multitasking with iPadOS
iPadOS brings some awesome multitasking changes!
With iPadOS, switching between apps is easier and much more intuitive. Here’s a quick peek at these updates.
Slide Over feature in iPadOS
- Keep multiple apps open in Slide Over
- Move between Slide Over apps by swiping along the bottom handle
- Swipe up on the bottom handle in Slide Over to see all the apps in a Slide Over App Switcher–and close apps using the slide-over app switcher by flicking up on the app preview
- Change a Slide Over app to full screen by dragging the slide over app’s top handle down until the app icon shows up and then dropping that app icon in the top center of the screen
Split View features in iPadOS
- Open any app on either side of Split View (both sides)
Open multiple instances of the same app in Split View or Slide Over
- Use multiple windows from the SAME app in Split View or Slide Over
- For example, work on two different notes or Pages documents, viewing two or more Apple Maps or Safari webpages, or organizing files in the Files app
App Exposé for iPad
- See all the open windows for an app by tapping its icon in the Dock to open the Quick Actions menu
- Choose Show All Windows to see all the open instances of that app, including apps in split view and slide over
Your iPad multitasking dream team: Split View, Slide-Over, and Picture-in-Picture
We’ve got three amazing multitasking features available in iOS (11 & 12) and iPadOS, so what’s the difference? Let’s review each so we’re on the same page.
Open apps with Slide Over
Slide Over floats a single app in front of any open app, as if the second app is layered on top of the original app.
You can float an app to either the left or right side of your screen–the default is the right side. Slide Over only works on iPad Pros, iPads (5th generation +), iPad Airs, or iPad mini 2 +.
How to open Slide Over
- Open an app
- Swipe up to open your Dock
- On the Dock, press and hold the app that you want to slide-over
- Release to float to screen right
- To float over the left side, press and hold the top gray handlebar OR the right edge and move horizontally to screen left
How to close Slide Over
- Tap and hold the top gray handlebar OR the left-edge and drag right until the app’s fully offscreen–you can only swipe off a slide-over on your screen’s right edge! Not the left–don’t ask me why!
- If you want to see that app again, place your finger(s) off-screen on the right and swipe left
- If tapping the gray handlebar opens split-view instead, use the left-edge to swipe the app offscreen
Moving your Slide Over around
This is the thing that always, ALWAYS, trips me up.
- When in Slide-Over mode, if you want to move it from the right side of your screen to the left side of your screen, tap and hold the RIGHT EDGE of the screen beside the Slide-Over panel. Then move it to the left, in one sweeping motion
- Want to move from left to right, tap and hold the LEFT EDGE of the screen next to the Slide-Over panel. Then move it to the right, in one sweeping motion
You can use the gray handlebar, BUT make sure you swipe horizontally. Even a slight dip down and it puts your Slide-Over into Split-View.
That’s where I have trouble. Whenever I use the gray handlebar for moving my Slide-Overs, it always puts it into Spit-View instead of moving the Slide-Over panel!
Open apps with Split View
Split View places apps side by side. You can place an app to the left or right side of your screen. Split View is available on these models: iPad Pros, iPad (5th generation +), iPad Air 2+, or iPad mini 4+.
How To open Split View
- Open an app
- Swipe up to open your Dock
- On the Dock, touch and hold the app that you in split view
- Drag it to the far right or left edge of the screen, almost offscreen
- Release when app pops into place and repositions original onscreen app
- If the app opens in Slide Over instead, press and hold the top gray handlebar and swipe down
Adjust Split View size
- Drag the center gray handlebar in the app divider line and swipe left or right to change BOTH app’s window sizes
How to close Split View screen on iPad
- Drag the center gray handlebar all the way left or all the right until it’s offscreen
- Only floating apps reappear when swiping from the right edge
Moving your Split View around
Unlike Slide-Over, you can ONLY use the top gray handlebar to move a split view left or right. AGAIN, make sure you swipe horizontally. Even a slight dip down and it puts you into Slide-Over.
Change from Slide to Split View or vise-versa
- To turn a Split View into a Slide Over, swipe down from the top of the app
- To turn a Slide Over into a Split View, swipe down from the top of the app
Using Split-View AND Slide-View at the same time?
Yes, you can open up a bunch of multitasking panels at once.
If you’re working with two apps in Split View and want to open another app in Slide Over, open your Dock, drag that third app, and drop it on top of the app divider. Not all apps support this mode.
Open apps with Picture In Picture
With Picture in Picture (PiP), you can read or respond to emails while watching a video or using FaceTime. An app allows picture-in-picture when you see the PiP icon:
If an app supports PiP, tap the icon and that app scales down to a corner of your display.
Open your email app or whatever app you want, and your video continues to play on that smaller screen. To return your video to the full screen, tap the PiP symbol again.
You can move the video too! Just drag it to any corner.
iPad stuck on split-screen or slide-over? Hate your iPad’s multitasking features?
- To turn Multitasking features off, on iPadOS go to Settings > Home Screen & Dock > Multitasking
- For older iOS versions, go to Settings > General > Multitasking & Dock and turn off these available features
- Allow Multiple Apps: Turn off if you don’t want to use Slide Over or Split View
- Picture in Picture (or Persistent Video Overlay): Allows videos and FaceTime calls to continue playing in overlay even when swiping to go Home or use other apps. Turn this feature off if you don’t want to use Picture in Picture
- Gestures: Toggle this setting off to remove any of your Multitasking gestures: pinch for Home Screen, Swipe up for App Switcher, and Swipe left or right between apps
- Show Suggested and Recent Apps: Turn off so recently used apps do not appear on your Dock
All the multitasking options take time getting used to.
It’s like yoga–a practice that grows with experience and mistakes. After weeks of using the Dock and these multitasking options, I still get mixed results! So here’s my cheat sheet for those looking for a quick reminder, when they need it.
iPad multitasking cheat sheet
- To move left or right, swipe the gray handlebar horizontally in one sweeping motion
- Close your Slide Over by swiping the left edge all the way off the right side of your screen
- Close your Split View by tapping and holding the center gray handlebar and swiping it off screen (left or right)
- Toggle from split to slide or vice versa by pulling down on the gray handlebar at the top
For most of her professional life, Amanda Elizabeth (Liz for short) trained all sorts of folks on how to use media as a tool to tell their own unique stories. She knows a thing or two about teaching others and creating how-to guides!
Her clients include Edutopia, Scribe Video Center, Third Path Institute, Bracket, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Big Picture Alliance.
Elizabeth received her Master of Fine Arts degree in media making from Temple University, where she also taught undergrads as an adjunct faculty member in their department of Film and Media Arts.
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