How multitasking works in iPadOS 15

There are a lot of negative reviews on the web regarding iPadOS 15. People are frankly disappointed by the lack of fundamental innovations that would make it possible to really feel the full power of a desktop operating system with adapted applications like Final Cut or Logic on a professional line of apple tablets. In terms of the user interface, there is generally a lot of hate. Widgets are still non-interactive and practically useless, building a grid of application icons on the screen is not rational. And multitasking does not stand up to criticism at all: they say that what has been invented since the days of iOS 9 in 2015, with minor changes, is today. But I disagree with that.

iPad 15

iPadOS 15 Significantly Changes the User Experience with iPad

It so happened that in my professional activity related to constant business trips, I constantly use the iPad and sometimes even more often than the Mac. And on it, two applications are open side by side at the same time, as well as a “carousel” with the third, fourth, etc. I can swipe out from the right edge of the screen to the center. There are a lot of use cases in which there is a real need to split the screen of a 12.9-inch tablet for efficient operation of applications. And in iPadOS 15, engineers from Cupertino have done a really great job that takes my personal interaction with the iPad to the next level.

What is multitasking on iPad

Initially, multitasking on the iPhone and iPad in this general simplified sense meant opening the program switcher, in which you could simply switch to the desired application by tapping on its card, or close it by swiping the card up. There was no talk of any parallel operation of applications in real time. Of course, the operating system would take some time for applications to run in the background before exiting and leave them in RAM to quickly return to them. There were also processes that could work in the background all the time.

How Split View differs from Slide Over

In split screen mode Split View on iPad, two apps are on the screen at the same time. In this case, the screen space can be divided equally between them, and maybe in a ratio of 75% for one application and 25% for another. Larger or smaller, at the user’s request, can be both the application on the left and the application on the right. Resizing is done by dragging the vertical divider.

In the mode Slide Over the second app just sits on top of the main app and can be near the left or right edge of the screen. In the current iPadOS 14, it is possible to add multiple applications to Slide Over mode. At the same time, at the bottom of the window of the current program there will be a strip for switching applications, as on an iPhone with Face ID, and this strip will perform the same functions as on an iPhone, that is, switch between applications and close them if necessary. At any time, an application that is in Slide Over mode can be hidden by swiping the “-” icon at the top of the right edge of the screen. And at any time, swiping your finger from the right edge of the screen, you can pull out the hidden application in Slide Over mode.

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On my iPad Mail & Files in Split View, and Messages in Slide Over

How to launch apps in Split View and Slide Over mode in iPadOS 15

In iPadOS 14, to launch a second application side by side with a running one (Split View), it was required to pull the icon for this application from the Doc at the bottom of the screen and drag it to the left or right side of the screen. The main app was compressed by 50%, and the second app took up the corresponding half of the screen. To launch the second and subsequent applications on top of the main (Slide Over), it was required to pull out the icon of the desired application from Doc and release it in the center of the screen. This caused a certain and significant inconvenience, negating the beauty of multitasking, since to launch the second and subsequent applications, their icons simply had to be in Doc.

On iPadOS 15, there are three dots at the top of a running app. When you tap on them, a new multitasking menu opens, in which there are three icons that clearly demonstrate the available modes:

  • one application in full screen;
  • two apps in Split View mode;
  • the second application on top of the first in Slide Over mode.
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Multitasking menu and two Split View apps on iPadOS 15

When you tap on the Split View icon, the running application is minimized to the right edge of the screen, giving access to the desktop and Doc (bottom bar with applications). Accordingly, now you can flip through desktops and tap any other application directly from them, or from Doc. When you tap on the application icon on the desktop or in Doc, the specified application will occupy the left half of the screen, and the first application will expand from the right edge to its half. When you click on the Slide Over icon, the first part of the process will be identical, but when you select the second application, the latter will unfold as the main one on the whole screen, and the first will unfold from the right edge on top of it.

Of course, in Split View, as before, you can swap applications by dragging them with your finger three points, and you can also change the size of applications from 50% to 75% or 25% by dragging the vertical divider between them to the left or right, respectively increasing one and shrinking another application. At the same time, at the top of the currently active application, the cherished three dots will be highlighted, and the inactive application will be faded.

In Slide Over mode, as before, an application can be on top of another, both to the right and to the left, and there can be several such applications, and switching between them is carried out as on an iPhone with FaceID using the lower horizontal bar at the bottom of the application.

Shelf in iPadOS 15 Multitasking

Back in iPadOS 14, we got the ability in some applications to open multiple windows and switch between them, as well as launch these windows in Split View and Slide Over mode. Typical representatives of such programs can be the Safari browser, Messages, the built-in email client. To launch an additional window, it was required to make a long tap on the application icon in Doc and select the first menu item “Show all windows”. Then, by tapping on the plus sign in the upper right corner of the screen, you could open a new window, and by swiping up on the existing windows, close the last.


Three Safari browser windows on one iPad screen


Safari Window Control Screen on iPad

With iPadOS 15, Apple went further and invented a sleeker window manager for apps called Shelf.


This is what the Windows Shelf looks like in the Safari browser.

It opens in programs that support it in two ways:

  1. the already familiar long tap on the application icon and the choice of the menu item “Show all windows”;
  2. tap on three points to bring up the multitasking menu at the top of the application.

In fact, the “Shelf” is a dock inside the application at its bottom, consisting of thumbnails (thumbnails) of open windows and an empty window with a “+” sign to open a new window. This approach looks much more elegant and practical.

How to open the third app in the center of the screen in iPadOS 15

In the Mail, Messages and Notes applications, you can swipe from the left edge of the application to open a list of all emails, messages and notes, make a long tap on one of the items in this list and select the item in the menu that opens. “Open in a new window”… As a result, the selected letter, message or note will open in the third window on top of the other two in Split View mode. The window will be positioned in the center of the screen.


Three windows in Split View in iPadOS 15

However, it cannot be freely moved to any place on the screen or attached to some other interface elements, you can only tile one of the programs on the left or right side of the screen in Split View mode.

App Switcher in iPadOS 15

As with previous versions of the operating system for the world’s most popular tablets, the app switcher is triggered by swiping and holding your finger from the bottom of the screen to the middle. This opens cards of running applications. And among them there may be “double” cards of applications running in Split View. But in iPadOS 15, in addition to switching between programs and closing them, it became possible to launch applications in Split View mode. To do this, you just need to move the card of one application to another. In this case, it becomes possible to choose which application to place on the left and which on the right. And it is also possible to leave one of the applications already running in Split View by swiping the unnecessary second card up.

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App Switcher can now launch apps in Split View

New App Library in iPadOS 15

In the new version of iPadOS engineers from Cupertino added the debuted last year on the iPhone Application library (App Library). But on iPad it is called in two ways:

  • same as on iPhone by swiping to the left on the last desktop;
  • Tap on the rightmost Doc icon at the bottom of the iPad screen.

Functionally, the Application Library repeats its counterpart on the iPhone, but in addition, it also allows you to pull out any application from it to place it in Split View or Slide Over mode, which makes multitasking on iPad even more convenient.

Application Library

App Library in iPadOS 15

As you can see, in iPadOS 15, Apple has thoroughly refined multitasking, making the use of tablets more intuitive and comfortable. Personally, I really liked these innovations, but what about you – write in the comments and share in our Telegram chat.

Source: — крупнейший сайт о iPhone, iPad, Mac в России by

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