For several years, the iPad languished as a product capable of performing a single task at a time. It was heralded as a serious competitor to laptops and netbooks when it debuted in the spring of 2010. Time proved that assertion to not really be true.

Frankly, it still hasn’t earned that distinction, but it’s come a long way. The release of iOS 9 and 11 brought it closer than ever to earning the title of “laptop killer.”

iOS 9 was a decidedly iPad-focused release, featuring Split View and Slide Over as its marquee iPad features. These “multitasking” tools allowed people to begin using their iPad with more than one app at a time.

Finally.

Gone were the single-app limitations that held the iPad back from becoming a serious competitor to the far more capable laptop. iOS 9 brought the first taste of the future with it.

I use these features every single day. They’re a big reason why I’ve been able to turn my iPad into the computer I use most for my work.

Without them I’d still be stuck to a laptop or desktop computer screen. Instead, I get to enjoy the supreme portability and ease of use that my iPad gives me.

Let’s go over how to use Split View and Slide Over so that perhaps you can join me in the iPad lifestyle.

Split View

Split View became a cinch to use when iOS 11 was released. The Dock at the bottom of the screen made so many things simpler.

We’re going to start Split View in four steps:

  1. Swipe up slowly from the bottom of the screen until the Dock is revealed.
  2. Tap and hold on the app icon you want to use until it increases in size.
  3. Drag the app icon out of the Dock and toward either the left or right side of the screen. The main app will shrink over a bit to make room for the new one.
  4. Release the app icon.

Pow! You’ve got a Split View session going on now. I’m proud of you.

The app windows can be resized to your preference by placing your finger on the small white bar between the two windows and sliding it left or right.

Either of the windows can be closed by dragging the bar to the edge of the screen.

Slide Over

Slide Over creates a mini window that rests on top of your current app. It’s about the width of an iPhone screen, so that’s the view it gives you.

I find Slide Over useful for giving me quick access to whatever media I’m playing while I’m working. If I’m listening to music or a podcast, that respective app is going into Slide Over.

Starting Slide Over is as easy as Split View:

  1. Swipe up slowly from the bottom of the screen until the Dock is revealed.
  2. Tap and hold on the app icon you want to use until it increases in size.
  3. Drag the app icon up on top of the current app. If you have a Split View session going, drag the app icon on top of the divider between the two apps.
  4. Release the app icon.

The icon will morph into the app you want to use as soon as you lift your finger up. You can reposition the Slide Over app to either side of the screen. To remove the app, slide it all the way off to the right side. To return it, slide your finger left from the far right side of the screen.


It was an exciting time when the iPad started receiving the attention it deserves. I won’t get into the tired argument of whether or not an iPad is a computer replacement; it is if you want it to be. However, it’s always a nice thing when useful technology becomes even more useful.

Split View and Slide Over have helped make my time spent on my iPad more productive and enjoyable. The iOS 11 feature of drag and drop increased its utility even more and I’ll write about that in the future.

Try to use this tip in your daily workflow. Give it some time and practice. I hope you find it useful.

Slide on over, cats.

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