The Complete Guide to iPad Multitasking: Split Screen, Slide Over & Picture-in-Picture

Multitasking on iPad was introduced with iOS 9. Productivity on the iPad is all about learning small hacks like keyboard shortcuts, gestures, and multitasking. There are three main multitasking functions on iPad: Split Screen, Slide Over, and Picture-in-Picture. Unfortunately, not all models of iPad can perform multitasking and some can only perform Slide Over and Picture-in-Picture. We’ll go over which iPads have iOS multitasking functions and how to use them.

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Slide Over on iPad allows you to use a third of the screen to open another app, but you can only use one app at a time. Split Screen (or Split View) allows you to split the screen in half with one app on either side, and you can use both simultaneously. With Picture-in-Picture apps on iPad you can watch a video in the corner of your screen while working within an app. For example, if you find a video in Safari you want to watch, you can activate Picture-in-Picture then check your emails while the video plays.

Table of Contents:

How to Use Slide Over on iPad

How to Use Split Screen on iPad

How to Use Split Screen in Safari on iPad

How to Use Picture-in-Picture in Apps on iPad

Which iPad models can Multitask?

I’m going to list each multitask function along with the models of iPad each works with below. But to summarize, the iPad Air 2 or later & iPad mini 4 can use all multitask functions. While iPad Air and iPad mini 2 or later can use Slide Over and Picture-in-Picture. The original iPad and iPad mini are not capable of multitasking.

Slide Over:

iPad Pro, iPad Air, iPad Air 2, and iPad mini 2 or later.


iPad Pro, iPad Air, iPad Air 2, and iPad mini 2 or later.

Split Screen:

iPad Pro, iPad Air 2 or iPad mini 4.

How to Use Slide Over

Slide Over on iPad allows you to open a second app on the right third of your iPad’s screen.

To open Slide Over:

  • Swipe left from the right of the screen. Your previously opened app will open.

  • To switch which app is open, swipe down from the top of the Slide Over screen.

You can switch between the two apps you have open, but you can’t use them simultaneously. Hence the need for Split View.

How to Use Split Screen

Split Screen is an extension of Slide Over. To open Split Screen:

  • Swipe left from the right of the screen as though opening Slide Over.

  • Then continue your swipe, dragging the edge of the Slide Over screen to the middle, creating Split Screen.

  • Slide down from the top of the right screen to change which app is open.

  • To close one of the apps, slide the center divide over until the app you want to close is edged out.

The benefit of Split View is that you can use both open apps simultaneously for true multitasking. However, Split Screen isn’t available for all apps. Some of the apps it works with include Mail, Notes, Safari, Photos, and Calendar.

How to Use Split View in Safari

If your device is running iOS 10 or later, you can use Split View in Safari to view two tabs side by side. To use the feature, open Safari in landscape mode and tap the plus icon to open a new tab. Enter a URL and tap Enter. Now press and drag the tab to the upper right cor- ner of the screen and let go. You should now be looking at two tabs side by side! To go back to your regular view, close the second tab or drag and drop it on the tab bar on the left. 

How to Use Picture-in-Picture

Picture-in-Picture allows you to watch a video or chat on FaceTime while working in other apps. To use Picture-in-Picture,

  • Locate a video in Safari and look for a new icon that looks like two overlapping squares.

  • Tap this icon to scale the video down and place it in the corner of the app.

  • You can drag the video to another corner and make it larger or smaller by pinching two fingers.

  • The video will have three buttons: Pause, Return, and Exit. To return to the page where the video was playing, tap the same icon you tapped to begin Picture-in-Picture. To simply close the video and continue what you’re doing, tap the X.

Picture-in-Picture Apps

Every now and again I’ll come across a video that doesn’t offer Picture-in-Picture. It works well for videos found in Safari and is excellent for FaceTime, but as of yet, it doesn’t work within the YouTube app. But YouTube videos embedded in Safari do offer Picture-in-Picture.

You May Also Like: How to Use iPad-Only Gestures
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Conner Carey holds a bachelor's in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing and resides in Fairfield, Iowa. When she's not writing, you can find her singing jazz or watching anime. Her personal blog can be found at; you can also follow her on twitter @connerleecarey.