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Top 7 iPad Multitasking Skills for Seniors and Beginners

Our iPads are powerful devices, and mastering iPad multitasking will level up how you use your iPad, allowing you to switch from one task to another easily.

Multitasking can help bring your iPad as close to a laptop replacement as possible. So it’s well worth learning these features, and I’ll show you how.

The Main Features of Multitasking

The 7 main features of multitasking on the iPad consist of:

  • Split View
  • Slide Over
  • Picture-in-picture
  • App Switcher
  • Center Window
  • Shelf
  • Multitasking Menu

With each new iteration of iPadOS, these features have continually improved.

How to Reveal the Multitasking Menu in iPadOS 15

  • Open any application ie Safari
  • Tap on the three dots at the top center of the page
  • The menu will show 3 or 4 options
  1. Full Screen
  2. Split View
  3. Slide Over
  4. Center Window only if allowed in this app

You should also see the Shelf at the bottom of the page if multiple windows are active.

Split Screen Using Split View

Split View divided the iPad Screen into two halves. As a result, you can use two different apps or similar apps together.

  • Open the first app you want to use: we’ll stay with Safari
  • Use the menu at the top of the screen by tapping on the three dots
  • Select the Split View icon (second option in the menu)
  • The app will slide over to the screen’s edge; now, choose a second app
  • Both apps will open in 50% view

Adjust Split View Settings in iPadOS 15

Manage the Window Size

To adjust the size of the window, tap and hold the gray divider (small vertical line in the middle of the screen) and drag it to the left or right to adjust the size of the windows.

Reverse App Positions

Hold the three-dot icon at the top of the page. Now drag and drop the window over the other app. The second app will move left or right, making space for the first.

Close Split View in iPadOS 15

Tap the three dots at the top of the screen in the app you want to continue to use. Then, select the Full-Screen option on the far left.

Split View Via the App Switcher

The App Switcher is an excellent way to enter into Split view.

  • Swipe up from the bottom of the screen to enter the App Switcher
  • Touch, hold, and drag the app window over another app window
  • When you see the two apps converge, let go of the window.
  • Now tap the window to bring the apps into Split View.

How To Enable Slide Over in iPadOS 15

While one app remains full screen, another app slides over the top and takes up about 25% of the screen, creating a floating window.

  • Open the app you want as the floating window
  • Tap on the three dots to enter the Multitasking Menu
  • Select the slide-over icon ( third option in the menu)
  • Select the full-screen app once the current app slides to the edge of the screen.
  • Now your initial app will be floating over the second app you chose.

Reposition the Slide Over Window

Push and hold on to the three dots at the top of the window and drag to the left or right.

Hide the Slide Over Window

Touch the three dots at the top of the window and slightly push them towards the edge of the screen. Right or left, it doesn’t matter; the window will slide off the screen. To bring the window back, slide your finger from the edge of the screen where the hidden window lies.

Open a Different Window in Slide Over

The slide-over window is capable of using multiple windows at the same time. Just drag and drop any app on top of the floating window.

Switch Between Apps in Slide Over

You can swipe between all the apps in the Slide Over window by swiping on the horizontal line at the bottom of the page. This allows you to access each app you have opened.

Change the Background App

To change the background app while maintaining the slide Overview. Bring up the dock and tap on the new app. 

How to Use the Center Window Feature in iPadOS 15

In iPadOS 15, you can quickly open a preview window centered on the screen. It’s limited in functionality and right now supports

  • Notes
  • Email
  • Messages

To use this feature:

  • Open a supported app
  • Long press a note/email/message in the sidebar
  • Select Open in New Window from the menu
  • The quick preview window will open at the center of the screen

This feature works in Split View or Slide Over is active. However, it’s only designed for previews and hides in the Shelf when you press anywhere else on the screen.

Master the Various Views

You can switch between the various views with just a tap. Let’s walk through how this is done.

Turn Split View into Slide Over

Tap the multitasking menu (three dots) and select the slide Over option. (third option) You can also grab the three dots at the top, drag them over the other app, and drop them into Slide Over.

Turn Slide Over into Split View

Select the Multitasking Menu (three dots) and tap on Split View (second option). The current app will instantly enter a 50/50 split. So the other option is to grab the three dots and pull the app over until you can drop it into the 50/50 split.

Turn Split View or Slide Over into Center Window

There are two ways to tackle this but remember it’s only available in a few apps. 

Multitasking Menu (three dots) and select Center Window if available.

Drag and Drop Place your finger on the three dots, and drag and drop the app to the center of the screen

How To Use the Shelf in iPadOS 15

When you select the Multitasking Menu, the Shelf appears at the bottom of the page. It can help you access all active windows for a particular app. Previously this could only be done in the App Switcher. Here are a few things you can do with the Shelf:

  • Open a New app – tap the three dots, now tap the +icon to add another window to the mix
  • Switch between windows – tap the window you want to switch to.
  • Close Windows – Swipe up on the window you want to close.

Use Picture in Picture Mode

You can continue playing your videos or FaceTime calls while working in other apps. 

Let’s start by enabling PIP mode

  • Open Settings
  • Tap General
  • Select Picture in Picture
  • Toggle on Start PIP Automatically

Now when you play a video in full screen or are using FaceTime, swipe up to go to the Home screen. The video will play automatically in PIP, even if you’re in Split View/Slide Over.

You can increase or decrease the window size, hide it or go back to the full-screen video. 

How to Open Multiple Windows of the Same app on the iPad

This was added in iPadOS 13 but refined in iPadOS 15. When one of the app windows is opened: 

  • Select the Multitasking Window -choose Split View or Slide Over and tap the same app icon.
  • Slide up the Dock – Hold, and drag the same app icon and drop it on the screen to enable Split View/ Slide Over.


Wow, there are a lot of multitasking features, and they can make your work and personal life more manageable. It’s also loads of fun! If you have any questions, hit me up in the comments.

Need help with your device? I’m always available Free Consult.

Like Video instead? Head to my YouTube channel for more great tips.

Hi, I'm Ellen!

I help mature adults master their iPhone and iPads, even if they aren’t  techie! 

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