How to Use Split Screen on iPad

Excel at multitasking with this nifty feature

What to Know

  • iOS 15: Open an app > tap three dots > select Split View icon (middle icon). Select second app.
  • iOS 11-14: Go to Settings > General > Multitasking & Dock > turn on Allow Multiple Apps.
  • Next, open the first app > swipe up slowly to show the Dock > drag first app off the Dock.

This article explains how to use the iPad Split View feature on iPads running iOS 11 or later.

How to Use Split View on iPad in iOS 15

With iOS 15, Apple simplified the multitasking interface introduced in iOS 11 to make using split screen more intuitive. You no longer have to activate a multiple apps setting, and one of the apps you choose doesn't have to be located on the Dock, two of the components of the original process that earned Apple some criticism.

Split view in iOS 15 is activated through the three-dot multitasking icon that appears at the top of many iPad screens. Here's how it works.

  1. Open an app on the iPad. Tap the three dots at the center of the screen near the top to open the multitasking menu.

    An iPad app open and showing the three dots at the top of the screen

    The three dots don't appear at the top of apps that don't support split view.

  2. The icon on the right side of the multitasking menu is for the Slide Over feature. The icon in the middle is for Split View.

    The multitasking menu at the top of the iPad screen
  3. Tap the middle icon for Split View.

    The multitasking menu on an iPad showing the Split View icon
  4. The app on the screen moves to the far left side of the iPad and a message appears in the multitasking area to choose another app. Scroll through the screens and tap an app.

    iPad multitasking menu prompting the user to choose another app for split view

  5. The two apps appear side by side on the screen. They are spaced so that each app takes up half the screen. You can change how much space each app takes up by dragging the bar between them to the left or right.

    The resizing bar between two apps in the iPad split view
  6. Now you can work back and forth in the two apps. To exit split view, tap the three dots at the top of the screen and tap the left icon.

    The multitasking menu on iPad

Slide Over is also available in the multitasking mode. It is similar to Split View, but Slide Over displays one app in full screen and the second one as a small floating window at the side of the screen.

Using Split Screen on iPad in iOS 11 -14

Split View was a little more complicated when it was initially introduced in iOS 11, but it works just as well when you are used to it.

Enable the Allow Multiple Apps Setting

To use Split View or Slide Over functionality, the Allow Multiple Apps setting must be enabled. Active by default, this setting may have been disabled at some point either manually or by an app.

Take the following steps to ensure that multiple apps are allowed to be viewed simultaneously on your iPad.

  1. Tap Settings located on your iPad Home Screen.

  2. Select General in the left panel. Tap Multitasking & Dock (or Homescreen & Dock depending on the iOS version). 

    Multitasking & Doc highlighted in the iPad General Settings
  3. Locate the Allow Multiple Apps setting, found at the top of the screen. If the toggle accompanying it is green, then the setting is active. If it’s white, it's currently disabled, and you’ll need to tap the toggle once to enable the ability to use Split View or Slide Over features.

    The Allow Multiple Apps in iPad's Multitasking & Dock menu

Activating Split Screen in iOS 11-14

Once the Multiple Apps function is enabled, using the Split Screen view on the iPad is a matter of a few gestures.

At least one of the two apps needs to reside in your iPad Dock for Split View to work in iOS 11-14. If a shortcut to one of these apps is not currently in your Dock, you’ll want to add it there before continuing. 

  1. From your iPad Home screen, open the first app you wish to use in split-screen mode. A shortcut to this particular app does not have to be in your Dock.

  2. Slowly swipe up from the bottom of your screen so that the Dock is displayed.

    The Google Chrome browser with the iPad Dock overlaying it
  3. Tap and hold the icon for the second app in the Dock.

  4. Next, drag the app icon and release it anywhere outside of the Dock.

  5. The second app will be displayed in Slide Over mode, overlaying part of the first app. You’ll notice a dark grey horizontal line at the top of the second app’s window. Tap and drag this line down, letting go when the app window transforms.

    iPad in Slide Over mode
  6. Both apps should be visible side-by-side in Split View mode. If you’d like to make both apps the same size on your iPad screen, tap and drag the vertical gray divider found between the two windows, letting go when they have equal screen space.

    A screenshot of iPad Split View mode

    Not all iPad apps support this split-screen functionality, so your experience may vary if one or both of the apps you are using do not offer Split View mode.

  • How do I exit Split Screen on iPad?

    Position the cursor on the gray vertical line dividing the two screens. Drag the line all the way to the left or right edge of the iPad screen to leave only one image open and exit Split Screen. In iOS 15, you can also exit Split Screen by tapping the three dots at the top of the window you want to leave open and then choosing the left icon.

  • How can I use Split Screen on a Mac?

    Open a window and hover the cursor above the green circle in the upper left corner. Select either Tile Window to Left of Screen or Tile Window to Right of Screen. On the other half of the screen, select a window to view in split screen.

Was this page helpful?