iOS 9 Insight: iPad Multitasking With Split View, Picture In Picture, And Slide Over

The iPad has been available since 2010 running the same version of iOS as the iPhone. Each year we hope for software specific features for the iPad to take advantage of the screen’s real estate, and we have finally reached that year. iOS 9 launches with an iPad specific feature that truly changes the usability of Apple’s bigger touch screen device. The iPad is now capable of true multi-tasking, not just fast app switching. Apple offers three flavors of multi-tasking in iOS 9 with Slide Over, Split View, and Picture in Picture.
Slide Over offers the simplest implementation allowing you to simply swipe your finger from the right side of the screen to bring in a second app. The main app you’re using pauses, and the new app fills 1/3 of the screen by default. Any app can be overlaid, but apps have to be updated for multi-tasking support to appear in the side pane. Once a a compatible app is in the side pane, you can swipe down on the top of the sidebar window to bring up a list of supported apps that you can switch between to fit in the sidebar. Slide Over is made to glance at information, whether it’s a new message, research information, Twitter/Facebook that you just want to look at while using a main app since only one is active at a time.

If you have an iPad Air 2, the new iPad mini 4, or plan on getting the iPad Pro in November, there’s another multi-tasking choice for you. Split View is only available on the three devices mentioned above, but lets you truly run two apps simultaneously. You can activate Split View by sliding the Slide Over sidebar from 1/3 of the screen to half the screen. Once activated, Split View allows you to interact with both apps at the same time as each one is running independently on either half go the screen. You can copy and paste information from Safari right into Notes, or reply to e-mails while browsing the web. The main caveat is that Split View mostly just works with Apple’s stock apps, as third party apps will need to be updated with support, and very few updates have been released at time of publishing.
Finally, there’s Picture in Picture, which lets you watch a video while using another app. To activate Picture in Picture, simply tap the home button while watching a video from Youtube in Safari to a FaceTime call. When you tap the home button, the video content shrinks to the corner of the screen, and you’re sent to the home screen with the ability to open another app while the video continues to play. You can send the video to any of the four corners of the screen, and use another app with just a playing video accented on top. This is another feature that has a lot of promise, but apps need to be updated to support it. We all want Netflix, Hulu, WatchESPN, HBO Now, and other video apps playing Picture in Picture, but none have been updated as of yet.

iOS 9 multi-tasking is one of the main new features, but even though iOS 9 has launched to the public, developers still need to update their apps to support the various multi-tasking functionality. Without the app updates, there’s little you can multi-task at the moment.

Again, Split View requires the iPad Air 2, new iPad mini 4, or the upcoming iPad Pro. Slide Over and Picture in Picture is available on those devices as well as the iPad Air, and iPad mini 2 & 3.

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