Hands-On With iOS 9's New iPad Multitasking Feature

In iOS 9, the iPad is gaining a feature that will completely change the way a lot of us use our tablets, introducing functionality that will make it much easier to use the iPad as a serious computer replacement. That feature, which has been much-desired for several years now, is multitasking.

We went hands-on with iOS 9 to check out the multitasking feature on an iPad Air 2, and made a quick video to share what the new features look and feel like.


There are three different aspects to multitasking on the iPad: Slide Over, Split View, and Picture in Picture. Slide Over can be activated in any supported app. Pull over from the right side of the screen to the left to open up a second window, which takes up 1/3 of the screen.

This isn't true multitasking because it pauses the background window, but it's a way to quickly send an email or answer an incoming email without having to stop what you're doing. You can change the app shown in the Slide Over by swiping down from the top of the screen.

On an iPad Air 2, if you pull the Slide Over window further to the left, it'll enter Split View. Split View shows two apps at once and is a true multitasking feature. You can use both apps independently of one another and both are fully functional, with each taking up half the screen.

The third new multitasking feature is Picture in Picture, which works similarly to the picture-in-picture function on televisions. When watching a video or participating in a FaceTime call, the video window can be minimized to one corner of the iPad so you can continue to use other apps while you watch (or chat).

For now, all of these features are compatible only with Apple's apps, but third-party apps will also be compatible with multitasking with developer support. Slide Over and Picture in Picture work on the iPad Air, iPad Air 2, iPad mini 2, and iPad mini 3, but Split View feature is limited to the iPad Air 2, which has a more powerful A8X processor and 2GB RAM.

Multitasking is built into iOS 9, which is currently only available to developers. Apple plans to release a public beta of iOS 9 in July, with the official public launch coming in the fall

For more on what's new in iOS 9, make sure to check out our detailed iOS 9 roundup.

Related Roundup: iOS 9


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13 months ago
Guys, I left a line out. I'm sorry. It's a Friday at 5:30 and we're all exhausted after a long week. Updated to say that the iPad Air 2 is the only iPad that can do Split View because of the A8X processor AND 2GB RAM.
Rating: 14 Votes
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13 months ago

Do you guys know what you're writing about?

Split view has nothing to do with CPU power and everything to do with RAM capacity.

Or a combination of multiple things.
Rating: 13 Votes
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13 months ago

Wasnt there a video of this already

Yea it's the windows surface video from a few years back.
Rating: 9 Votes
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13 months ago

You're not paying attention. Surface has been doing well and can do true multi-tasking with actual split windows. They got that right. It's Apple that took too long to get split windows available for iOS when it should've been released earlier on.

And for the record, Surface is growing popular by working professionals, especially in digital and graphic arts field. Trust me. I KNOW what I'm talking bout. Wacom and Surface are two of the most popular methods of input for the creative professionals, not iOS.

And it appears to me that the multi-tasking sidebar is actually a revamped version of the old double-click home button method.

So golden lesson for you is arrogance will bite you in the a$$ and it will Apple. Where's your beloved revamped Apple TV? Not here. Where's Apple's foray into Augmented Reality? Not here yet and falling behind. How's your iTunes and Apple Music? Oh wait, what a mess isn't it? How did you like Cue's messy live performance with his lazy getup? Open. your. EYES. Apple. is. getting. LAZY.


The Surface that's doing well is essentially just a touchscreen laptop, even the newer versions of the non-RT Surface are just touchscreen laptops. No, I will not trust you because it's obvious you have an extreme bias.

His arrogance? Have you looked in a mirror lately? Apple has NEVER forayed into that many technologies at once, it's not their MO to simply throw everything at the wall and see what sticks. Your use of words like "beloved" show such extreme condescension that I'm pretty sure you are oblivious to what's really happening with the products you are referring to. This is how you sound: "HAHAHA, you arrogant idiots!!! How's Zune, I mean Xbox Music, I mean Windows Music, I mean subscription/no subscription doing?!!!?!?!?!" That's how you come off.
Rating: 7 Votes
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13 months ago
The way you guys ended this video... I'm surprised it didn't begin with "What is up guys? MKBHD Here..."
Rating: 6 Votes
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13 months ago
It's clear that some people don't understand how these new Multitasking capabilities really work. I watched the session from WWDC where they explained how developers should optimize their apps for this, and it showed that three things are being used: RAM, CPU and I/O. Memory is being used more than CPU and I/O of course, but in another way. It uses adaptive NSCache for example. CPU and I/O still take quite a part of the resources needed for the multitasking capabilities. See image I took from that session below.



Not going further into the deep stuff, since I am not an actual developer. But I like watching those videos and I found that out. Thought it would make sense sharing this with your guys. :)

By the way, those who are interested in watching that session themselves: the session is called 'Optimizing Your App for Multitasking on iPad in iOS 9'



Rating: 5 Votes
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13 months ago
Oh, question: Is this feature limited to landscape, or does it work in portrait as well?
Rating: 5 Votes
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13 months ago

Do you guys know what you're writing about?

Split view has nothing to do with CPU power and everything to do with RAM capacity.

Yes, dude because the CPU is completely worthless. The ram runs the entire tablet.:cool:
Rating: 5 Votes
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13 months ago

Totally different products first off. The surface pro 3 is "alive" and well actually. The Surface 3 is doing quite well too. Look I've longed loved apple but the surface just destroys the iPad in productivity and for the most part is almost equal in consumption. The iPad was never meant to be a production device. It is literally only a blown up iphone. The only thing that would compare is if apple put os x instead of ios on a tablet, which I don't understand why they haven't because I'm pretty sure it would sell like nuts even without making os x touch screen friendly.
The iPad is more like a adult toy then anything else. While the surface is actually a full PC in a tablet form.

I wonder how many who praise the Surface line have actually owned one. I've owned two, and currently own a hybrid Windows tablet/notebook.

The Surface (any windows hybrid devices) is the kind of device that sounds great on paper but not so great in actuality. The Surface makes a fine ultrabook, but a sub-par tablet. The Surface (both Pro and non-Pro) are competition for the Macbook Air and new Macbook, not the iPad. Using a Surface primarily as a touch device is not Microsoft's primary use case... they expect users to use it as a notebook. That is why they never produced an ad that didn't prominently feature the TypeCover and yet is an additional-cost accessory. And it is why Microsoft never shows ads of the Surface where people are getting things done just with touch... they don't even sell a cover for the Surface that doesn't have a keyboard.

There is still a significant lack of quantity of quality touch-optimized Modern UI apps for Windows 8.x. That has a direct impact on the Surface as a tablet. Using desktop mode on the Surface with touch is nothing more than "tablet computing circa 2000". Putting OSX on a tablet will not fare any better. Thankfully Apple realizes that and won't make that mistake.

The claim that the iPad is literally just a blown up iPhone is as old as the iPad itself... that claim was made on day-1. Nothing new there and yet many people have been using iPads (myself included) for more than media consumption. But for some there is this binary all-or-nothing approach to productivity... "in order for a device to be considered for productivity it must be able to do everything that a desktop/notebook can do." It's more involved than that. Yes, for some, "but it doesn't run full Photoshop" is the litmus test for "serious computing".

The new capabilities introduced with iOS9 like SplitView, are only the application software side of things. We have yet to see what Apple will do regarding hardware (and the underlying system additions to support the hardware). Perhaps an active digitizer, Bluetooth support for mice and pointing devices, etc. could significantly improve the "Pro-ness" of the iPad.

I've been using multiwindow and PIP on my Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 (and my older Galaxy Tabs before that). It is smooth and works extremely well. The only thing thing that it still has over an iPad 2 running iOS9 is support for pointing device.

Apple isn't leading in this regard. And they know it. They're playing it safe... waiting to see if what sells on other platforms is nothing more than a gimmick or fad. They waited it out on the 7" tablet, until it was proven that there is a sustainable demand. They've waited out the "extended capabilities" of tablets as well. They see that it isn't a fad and are starting to make moves.

Ironically, Microsoft has helped position the iPad to be a more "Pro" device by the introduction of MS Office for iPad. There still isn't a touch version of Office for their own platform. And if their recent decision (regarding eliminating the Modern UI version of Skype) is any indication, the iPad (and Android to a lesser extent) will be great mobile productivity/"pro" devices.
Rating: 4 Votes
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13 months ago
Do you guys know what you're writing about?

Split view has nothing to do with CPU power and everything to do with RAM capacity.
Rating: 4 Votes
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