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 Forum: iOS 9

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Top Rated Comments

jclo Avatar
117 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.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
C DM Avatar
117 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.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Carlanga Avatar
117 months ago
Wasnt there a video of this already
Yea it's the windows surface video from a few years back.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Iconoclysm Avatar
117 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.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Agent OrangeZ Avatar
117 months ago
The way you guys ended this video... I'm surprised it didn't begin with "What is up guys? MKBHD Here..."
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
iTom17 Avatar
117 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'

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Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)