iOS 11 Demo Highlights Potential for Drag and Drop on iPad

During this week's Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple revealed a collection of iPad-specific abilities coming to iOS 11, including a new customizable dock that can be accessed from within any app, a Files app, a new app switcher, and support for drag and drop.

With the first beta of iOS 11 currently in the hands of developers, a few specific examples of what's possible with the much-anticipated drag and drop feature have been causing excitement online.


The short video above demonstrates a possible use case in Safari in particular. The clip shows how the user can now long-press on a URL address in the Safari search bar and drag it to the right-hand side of the screen to duplicate the Safari window in Split View mode. Another action demonstrations the ability to drag a hyperlink on a web page and drop it on the + icon at the top right of the Safari toolbar to instantly open a new tab showing the linked page.

A similar hyperlink drag is then drawn over to the Bookmarks icon at the top left of the screen, but this time the user holds onto the link and is able to navigate to their Reading List and store the link there for later referral.

Lastly, the same action is performed on a web-hosted file link, dragging it to the right of the screen to open the download link in another Safari window in Split View. With the hosted file selected with one finger, the user then uses the finger of another hand to invoke the new iPad dock with a swipe up from the bottom of the screen. Continuing with multitouch, he then drags the File app icon up to the right to open the last-viewed Documents sub-folder, and simply drops the selected file into it with his other finger.

Developers are still experimenting with the potential of drag and drop on iPad, but it's safe to assume that with support for multi-select and spring-loading, the possibilities for various workflows are far-reaching. For instance, another developer has discovered that it is possible to drag up to four different stacks of objects from various apps using four fingers on one hand in order to drop them all into a single Notes sheet.

Drag and drop on iPhone appears to be limited at this stage in iOS 11 in developer beta testing, with the majority of related features restricted to iPad, but it's possible that some aspects could come across to the smaller screen if Apple feels they're practicable.

The public beta of iOS 11 is expected to be released later this month, with the final version coming in the fall.

Related Forum: iOS 11

Top Rated Comments

ChrisCW11 Avatar
72 months ago
If it works as well as text selection and copy and paste, forget about it. Still baffled that its near impossible sometimes to properly select text on iOS and Safari, its either one word, or the whole f*cking page of text and you can't adjust it, yet same website on Chrome on Android text selection works properly.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
GrumpyMom Avatar
72 months ago
I might struggle with this new way of doing things, but I've watched kids 12 and under use iPads and drag and drop on game interfaces in various gaming systems. They move their fingers around the user interface at speeds my eye and brain can't follow and have skills I probably can't develop at this stage of my life. My 12 year old seemed to find this part of the keynote interesting. In this case, Apple might be addressing the future better than those of us who grew up on mice and joysticks can appreciate.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Sunny1990 Avatar
72 months ago
Finally iPad is getting features it Needed form long time.Now it's lot more than a big iPhone
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
prospervic Avatar
72 months ago
I might struggle with this new way of doing things, but I've watched kids 12 and under use iPads and drag and drop on game interfaces in various gaming systems. They move their fingers around the user interface at speeds my eye and brain can't follow and have skills I probably can't develop at this stage of my life. My 12 year old seemed to find this part of the keynote interesting. In this case, Apple might be addressing the future better than those of us who grew up on mice and joysticks can appreciate.
Exactly! So appreciate your honesty. So many of the complainers on here apparently have "old-fart" mindsets -- they've forgotten what it's like to be young, inquisitive and open to new things. Being over 50, I nonetheless LOVE the new iOS 11 interface, and am so excited about the "future of computing" it portends!
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
fokmik Avatar
72 months ago
just from safari,the whole video, thats impressive
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
djcerla Avatar
72 months ago
I like the iPad precisely because it's on rails, so relaxing for what I use it for.

But this is a tremendous feature for a generation that feels more at home with multitouch rather than a single mouse pointer.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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