The iPad is a great device. It is a product that sits in the middle between a tablet and a laptop. And iPadOS, the operating system that runs on the iPad, is packed with some pretty cool features—the much-anticipated iPadOS 16 arrived this week.

But it surprises me how many people don’t use – or even know about – many of these features.

One killer iPad feature you probably aren’t using? Multitasking, also known as split screen or split view.

Yes, the ability to run two apps side by side on the screen and seamlessly switch between them. Using multiple apps at once lets you browse two websites at the same time, use the Notes app while reading an article, or even check your messages while watching a video in a second app without missing a beat.

Also: How to use Stage Manager on iPadOS 16: 5 tips to transform your iPad experience

How to use Split View for split screen on iPad

From the home screen, launch the first app on your iPad and look for three dots at the top of the app. Tap it to access the preview options.

Screenshot of an iPad with Safari open

When you open an app, you can tap the three dots at the top of the screen.

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

Tapping the three dots will open the options your iPad gives you to view the current app:

  • Split view: Two apps are placed next to each other and you can resize the apps by dragging the border between them.
  • Swipe over: One app floats on top of another app and you can drag it to the left or right of the screen.
  • Full screen: Tap this to end multitasking.

Note: Not all apps are compatible with multitasking mode or split view. If the three dots are not visible on your iPad screen, split-screen mode is not available for this app.

iPadOS multitasking menu

iPadOS multitasking options.

Screenshot by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

To get a split-screen view, tap the middle option that has the Split View icon and you’ll be prompted to select a second app to view alongside the first.

Once both apps are visible on the screen in multitasking mode, you can drag and drop them to switch sides or resize the two windows.

Also: Not sure which iPad is right for you? We break it down

Screenshot of iPad with Safari and Apple News

Tap and drag this bar in the middle of both apps to resize the Safari and Apple News windows.

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

You can also see both apps at the same time, as shown below, where the Notes app is visible as a floating app or a floating panel above the Safari window on the side of the screen. You can switch between the two apps seamlessly.

The Notes app window hovers over the Safari window.

Notes becomes a floating app that hovers over Safari.

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

Using the feature is easy. Tap the three dots, tap the feature you want to use, and then select the second app you want to view. To end multitasking, tap the Full Screen button on the multitasking toolbar.

This is a great way to make great use of all available screen space on the iPad.


How do I get out of split screen on iPad?

You can exit Split View on your iPad the same way you can enter it: When you’re browsing two apps, tap the three dots at the top of the app you want to view full-screen and select the full-screen icon ( the first option). The app will go into full screen mode.

Alternatively, drag the divider bar to the left or right edge of the screen to close a window. If your iPad has a home button, you can also double-press it to close the apps you want to get rid of.

Why doesn’t my iPad do split screen?

If you can’t see the three dots at the top of the screen, chances are the app you’re using doesn’t support multitasking or split view.

It’s also possible that your iPad doesn’t support the feature. To use Split View on an iPad, it must be an iPad Pro, iPad 5th generation or later, iPad Air 2 or later, or iPad Mini 4 or later.

If you have a compatible device but are still having trouble using split screen on your iPad, check if it’s enabled by following these steps:

  1. From the Home screen, go to Settings on your iPad.
  2. Select General.
  3. Tap Multitasking.
  4. Make sure the Allow multiple apps switch is on.
  5. Enable persistent video overlay and gestures.

Another culprit for not being able to use split screen could be your iPad’s auto-rotation. Make sure auto-rotate is enabled and not locked before trying to multitask.

Can I open multiple windows in Safari?

We all know that you can have multiple tabs open at once in Safari, but you can also open multiple windows using the iPad’s Multitasking menu. To do this, open Safari and follow these steps:

  1. Tap the three dots at the top of the screen.
  2. Select the Split View button.
  3. When selecting an app, select Safari again.

This will open another window for you so you can view two pages at the same time.