Starting with iOS 11, Apple overhauled the way we interact with the iPad, introducing several features designed to make the iPad experience better mimic the way we use a Mac or a PC. Central among these new features is a revamped Dock that holds more apps, an improved app switcher, and most importantly, system-wide Drag and Drop.

With Drag and Drop, text, links, photos, files, and more can be transferred between one app and another without the need to use in-app Share Sheets. It's a great way to do things like add photos or links to an email, save PDFs or documents from an email to the Files app, share links with friends in Messages, and more.

Below, we'll walk you through the steps on how to use Drag and Drop and offer some examples of how it can be used in different apps.

How to Use Drag and Drop

  1. Tap and hold on a link, text, a photo, or a file within any app on the iPad.
  2. While maintaining a finger on the file in question, move your finger away to initiate a drag gesture.
  3. You now have a file, link, or photo that can be dropped into any other app. safaridraganddropios11
  4. To open up another app, you can tap it from the Home screen, bring up the dock with a swipe, use the app switcher, or use a Split-View multitasking window. Dragging multiple files between apps is particularly useful with two apps open at once.
  5. Continue dragging the file/link/photo into the other app.

How to Drag and Drop Multiple Files at Once

Drag and Drop works with more than one file at a time, so if you want to move multiple files to the Files app or drag multiple photos from the Photos app to another location on the iPad, you can do so with Drag and Drop.

  1. Grab a file with a drag gesture (tap, hold, and pull away).
  2. Keep your finger on the file.
  3. With another finger or your other hand, simply tap additional files. multiitemdraganddropios11
  4. The new files will be added to the file under your first finger and you'll see a little blue badge letting you know how many files are being dragged.
  5. Multiple files work just like a single file - open up another app to drop your content where it needs to go.

Drag and Drop Usage Examples

Because Drag and Drop is a system-wide feature on the iPad, you can drag all kinds of files between any app, just like you can do on a Mac or a PC. It makes moving content between apps so much simpler than iOS 10. Below are some of the ways it can be used:

  • Dragging photos from the Photos app to Mail or Messages
  • Dragging a link from Safari to Notes, Mail, or Messages
  • Transferring a photo from a web page in Safari to the Photos app
  • Copying a PDF from the Mail app to the Files app, Notes or another app
  • Dragging your location in Maps from the Maps app to Messages or Mail
  • Dragging a calendar event from the Calendar app to Mail or Messages
  • Dragging a contact from the Contacts app to Messages to share contact info with friends
  • Selecting a block of text and then transferring it from one app to another
  • Dragging an address from Maps to another app
  • Dragging a Reminder into Mail or Messages
  • Dragging an Apple News story into Mail or Messages to share a link
  • Move multiple apps on the Home screen into a folder with multi-drag

While Drag and Drop is a feature available anywhere on the iPad, third-party apps still need to implement support for it, so it may not be immediately available in all apps right when iOS 11 launches.

Drag and Drop on the iPhone

While Drag and Drop was primarily built for the iPad, there are a limited number of Drag and Drop features that also work on the iPhone.

iphonedraganddropios11
You can use the multi-drag feature to drag more than one app from the Home screen into a folder or onto another screen, and you can drag and drop files between different folders in the Files app. Outside of these two use cases, there's no other Drag and Drop functionality available on the iPhone at this time.

Related Forum: iOS 11

Top Rated Comments

Macyourdayy Avatar
88 months ago
Which devices does d&d actually work with?
[doublepost=1505870994][/doublepost]
All of this finger dragging would still be much faster with some mouse support on the iPad pro.
Funny you should be joining in with all the liars in that case, "former Apple user".
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
44267547 Avatar
88 months ago
Drag and drop has to be one of my favorite features with iOS 11. Nice implementation for the iPad.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

Apple Vision Pro 2 Feature 2

Apple Reportedly Suspends Work on Vision Pro 2

Tuesday June 18, 2024 8:17 am PDT by
Apple has suspended work on the second-generation Vision Pro headset to singularly focus on a cheaper model, The Information reports. Apple was widely believed to have plans to divide its Vision product line into two models, with one "Pro" model and one lower-cost standard model. The company is said to have been deprioritizing the next Vision Pro headset over the past year, gradually...
Apple WWDC24 Apple Intelligence hero 240610

Apple Explains iPhone 15 Pro Requirement for Apple Intelligence

Wednesday June 19, 2024 4:48 am PDT by
With iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and macOS Sequoia, Apple is introducing a new personalized AI experience called Apple Intelligence that uses on-device, generative large-language models to enhance the user experience across iPhone, iPad, and Mac. These new AI features require Apple's latest iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max models to work, while only Macs and iPads with M1 or later chips will...
2022 back to school apple feature

Apple's 2024 Back to School Sale Launching This Week

Monday June 17, 2024 12:27 pm PDT by
Apple will launch its annual Back to School promotion for university students in the United States and Canada this week, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Apple's back to school sales provide students with a free Apple gift card when purchasing a Mac or an iPad, and this year's promotion could help Apple push the new M2 iPad Air and M4 iPad Pro models. Last year, Apple offered U.S....
apple watch series 9 display

Kuo: Apple Watch Series 10 to Get Larger Screen and Thinner Design

Monday June 17, 2024 1:20 am PDT by
This year's Apple Watch Series 10 will be thinner and come in larger screen sizes than previous models, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In his latest industry note -10-and-98075c44ce92">shared on Medium, Kuo said the screen size options on the next-generation Apple Watch will increase from 41mm to 45mm, and from 45mm to 49mm, while being encased in a thinner design. For reference,...
M4 Real Feature Red

M4 MacBook Pro Models Expected to Launch in Late 2024

Tuesday June 18, 2024 10:50 am PDT by
MacBook Pro models with an M4 chip are expected to launch in the fourth quarter of 2024, according to display analyst Ross Young. In a tweet for subscribers, Young said that panel shipments for new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models are set to begin in the third quarter of 2024, which suggests a launch toward the end of the year. Apple started its M4 chip refresh in May with the launch...
Apple Pay Later feature 1

Apple Discontinuing Apple Pay Later

Monday June 17, 2024 11:44 am PDT by
Apple is discontinuing Apple Pay Later, the buy now, pay later feature that it just launched last October. Apple Pay Later is being discontinued as of today, but people who have existing Apple Pay Later loans will be able to continue to pay them off and manage them through the Wallet app. Apple announced plans to end the feature in a statement provided to 9to5Mac, which also notes that...
watchOS 11 Thumb 2 1

watchOS 11 Supports Automatic Nap Detection

Monday June 17, 2024 4:05 pm PDT by
watchOS 11 appears to include a new feature that allows an Apple Watch to automatically detect and record when you're taking a nap. As shared on Reddit, an Apple Watch owner took a nap and was able to see the sleep data recorded in the Health app, despite not putting the device in Sleep Mode. Right now, the Apple Watch only tracks and records sleep when it is in Sleep Mode, and there is no...
iPod Nano vs iPod Pro Ad Feature 1

Apple Developing Thinner MacBook Pro, Apple Watch, and iPhone

Monday June 17, 2024 2:22 am PDT by
Apple intends to slim down the MacBook Pro, Apple Watch, and iPhone, with the new ultra-thin M4 iPad Pro a sign of the company's new design trajectory, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. When the M4 iPad Pro was unveiled last month, Apple touted it as the company's thinnest product ever, and even compared it to the 2012 iPod nano to emphasize its slim dimensions. Writing in the latest ...