Some iFolks, like me, love using split-screen on our iPads, but others really detest this feature!
Split-screen lets you view two apps, files, or documents side-by-side. It’s a great feature for folks that need to reference two things at the same time.
Recent iPadOS and iOS versions (11+) really changed the way split-screen works on our iPads, and it’s easy to get confused and find that all those things we used to do, no longer work!
iOS 11 introduced new ways to access split-screen using the iPad Dock. And with iPadOS, those features get even more refined with App Expose!
So if your iPad’s split view isn’t working as you expect, read on for tips on how to fix your iPad.
Or, if you’re asking yourself how do I get rid of the split-screen on my iPad, we show ways to get rid of all those annoying split-screens!
- Quick tips
- Why Isn’t Split-Screen Working On My iPad?
- iPad Split View comes from the Dock!
- How to open an iPad Split-Screen session using your Dock
- How to use split view on iPad
- Split Screen on iPad Not Working?
- How To Turn Off Split Screen on iPad
- Stuck On iPad Split Screen Safari? How to turn off safari split screen
- Reader tips
Follow these quick tips to get split-screen or slide-over working on your iPad
- Check your multitasking settings and toggle on Allow Multiple Apps
- When adding a second app, drag and drop it on the right or left edge of your screen to open the app into a split-screen view
- Temporarily change your screen’s orientation from portrait mode to landscape or vise-versa
- Restart or force restart your device
- Try resetting all settings
- These new multitasking and UX features in iPadOS will bump your productivity
- How to close apps in iPad multitasking Split View or Slide-Over
- 13 settings you should change in iOS 13 or iPadOS
- You can now use Quick Actions and Peek on any iPhone or iPad running iOS 13 or iPadOS
- How to use (Multitouch) Multitasking Gestures for iPad
- Using Multitasking Gestures on iPad
- How-To Use Your iPad Dock
Why Isn’t Split-Screen Working On My iPad?
Notably, not all apps support split view (split-screen.) In particular, a lot of third-party apps do not support split-screen, so before you assume split view isn’t working, test it out using some of Apple’s native apps like Safari, Notes, or Messages.
When testing out the split view feature, make sure you pull that second app close to your iPad’s left or right edge.
Upgrading from iOS 10 and below? These multitasking gestures & slide over features no longer work in iOS11+ and iPadOS
- Opening the last app you used by swiping left on the middle right edge of the screen
- Changing the app by swiping down on the top-right side of the screen and tapping the app you want to use
- The old Slide Over method of swiping an app in from the right (and then choosing from a list of available apps by swiping down from that same split window) does not work.
iPad Split View comes from the Dock!
Apple really wants us to embrace the iPad Dock!
With an app already open and on-screen, when you drag an app up from the dock to the right or left edge and drop it, iPadOS automatically places that app into split-view (or floating slide-over) mode.
Multiple app windows in Split Screen and Slide Over
And with iPadOS, you can now have multiple instances and windows of a single app open side-by-side in split view–like two different notes in the Notes app. You can even open a third instance using slide-over mode!
iPadOS App Exposé
This iPadOS only features allows you to see all the open windows for an app by tapping its icon in the Dock.
How to open an iPad Split-Screen session using your Dock
- Swipe up from the bottom of the screen and reveal your Dock
- Tap an app in the Dock
- Drag the app out of the Dock into the screen
- Release the drag, and your app slides over to the right side of the screen, creating a floating iPad split-screen!
- OR drag the app to your screen’s left or right edge, and your main app moves aside, creating room for an iPad split-view!
- Release your drag, and the app fits into that space
How to use split view on iPad
Turn a Floating Slide Over into Split View
- Move your floating app’s window to the side of the screen you’d like it on
- Tap the top gray handle and pull down until it pops into place
Turn a Split View into a Floating Slide Over
- Pull the vertical gray handle (in the black space between the apps) until the app is 50% or less of the screen
- Tap the top gray handle and pull down until the app floats above
Split Screen on iPad Not Working?
- Verify that Allow Multiple Apps is toggled on. Go to Settings > General > Multitasking
- Change your screen’s orientation and see if you’re now able to use split-screen. With iOS 11+ and iPadOS, split-screen works in both landscape and portrait mode. Sometimes a quick change of orientation jump starts your system and gets split-view working again.
- Toggle the Multitasking Settings off and on. Go to Settings > General > Multitasking
- Reset All Settings to remove any personalized setting conflicts. Go to Settings > General > Reset > Reset All Settings
- Force Restart your iPad
- Users report they often need to do this a few times before it reboots Multitasking
Try Your Home Screen Instead of Your Dock
- Go to the home screen, press and hold an app then immediately start dragging it (press on the app until it starts to float NOT wiggle)
- With another hand or finger, open another app from the Dock or open the app switcher via double-click the on the home button or using the swipe up gesture
- Drag the first app onto the other app’s preview in the switcher. That app spring loads and lets you place it on screen
Try Spotlight Search
- Swipe Down on your screen (not in the black border) to reveal Spotlight Search
- Type in the app name
- In the search results, press and drag the app icon
- While touching on the app icon, open another app from the Dock or via the app switcher
- Drag the app icon over an app preview
- Allow app preview to open an app
- Release app icon for floating window or drag to one side to open in split-view
How To Turn Off Split Screen on iPad
As I said, some folks just really DON’T want a split-screen.
And it’s relatively easy to open split-screen sessions inadvertently. So, if you are one of those finding no way out of split-screen view, try the following:
Close Split Screen on iPad
- Look for a gray handlebar in the black space between the screens. Tap and Hold that Handle until the screen shows just the app icon (surrounded by white) then maintain this hold swipe the app you don’t want completely off the screen (left or right)
- Turn off all the multitasking features in Settings. Go to Settings > General > Multitasking and turn off Allow Multiple Apps, Persistent Video Overlay, and Gestures
- In split-screen (not float mode,) swipe the app you don’t want all the way off the display
- If you want to hide a window, go into float mode and swipe the app all the way right, until it’s off the display. The app remains available by swiping to the left from the right edge of the screen
- activate float mode by pressing the top gray handle and swiping down
- If that doesn’t work, close the app window with the split view. Double Tap Home or swipe up from the bottom the Dock to bring up your iPad’s App Switcher. Find the screen tile that shows the split-screen and swipe up to close
Turn Split View completely off so it doesn’t work at all
- Go to Settings > General > Multitasking & Dock
- Toggle off Allow Multiple Apps if you don’t want to use Slide Over or Split View
Stuck On iPad Split Screen Safari? How to turn off safari split screen
- Look in the upper right of the screen and tap on the tabs icon ( 2 overlapping white boxes.) Tap the Upper Left “X” to close all of the open pages in the Split view area on one of the sides. Once all of the windows on that side are closed, Safari returns to a single screen, full-screen mode.
- Alternatively, press and hold the icon of the tabs icon–the two overlapping boxes (doesn’t matter which side of the split-screen, both should work), and after a second a so you should get a popup with an option to Merge All Tabs
- Drag your Safari tab(s) from one of the screens to the other. Once the last tab has been dragged to the opposite side, Safari returns to full-screen Tips
We hope these tips help you better understand how to use split view on iPads using iPadOS or iOS 11+.
Although it takes some time getting used to using the iPad Dock, once we got the hang of things, we really love using iOS multitasking and in particular, the iPad split-screen features with the dock.
But for those that don’t want this feature or just can’t get used to it, just follow the tips on how to close split view on iPad. But we urge you to give the dock and split view a chance!
- Slide up the dock and drag any docked app to the side and hold there for a few seconds until the app opens. Then drag the new app to that same position to get your split-view. For me, this fixed my iPad split-screen not working problems!
- To open apps in split view or slide over that aren’t in the Dock, swipe down on the screen to bring up Spotlight Search. Type the name of the app you want to add to your screen, then tap and immediately move its icon. Then with your other hand swipe up from the bottom to view the dock or open the app switcher, tap and app there and drop the other app onto it
Obsessed with tech since the early arrival of A/UX on Apple, Sudz (SK) is responsible for the original editorial direction of AppleToolBox. He is based out of Los Angeles, CA.
Sudz specializes in covering all things macOS, having reviewed dozens of OS X and macOS developments over the years.
In a former life, Sudz worked helping Fortune 100 companies with their technology and business transformation aspirations.