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iPadOS Multitasking Without Using the Dock

Jordan Merrick, two years ago:

As some iOS 11 users have pointed out, one alternative to this is to invoke Spotlight to search for apps, though this requires the use of an external keyboard to show Spotlight while an app is still active. Another option is to create a folder of apps and place it in the Dock, though this still means you’re still limited to a selection of apps you can multitask from.

So I was wrong yesterday when I wrote that the only way to get a second app on screen is to drag it from your Dock. But one of the other two ways to do it requires an external keyboard to be connected. The other way, jiminy:

There is another way of multitasking apps that doesn’t require using the Dock at all, allowing you to one-handedly drag any app from your Home screen and place them in Slide Over or Split View. You can even use this process to replace any app in a pairing.

  1. Press the Home button to go back to the Home screen.
  2. Tap-and-hold an app until you can drag it around.
  3. Either:
    • Tap to select another app and launch it from the Home screen.
    • Invoke the App Switcher (either by swiping up from the bottom of the screen or double-pressing the Home button).
  4. You can then drop the app in Slide Over or Split View, or replace either app in the pairing.

The first of the “either” steps no longer works in iPadOS 13 — once you start dragging an app from the homescreen, tapping another app doesn’t launch it, it adds the tapped app to the app you started dragging in a stack. So the only way now is the second option, sliding up to enter the multitasking spaces view while still holding onto the app icon you’re dragging.

This is so convoluted, so undiscoverable, so easy to make a mistake with, that it proves my point that the multitasking interaction model on iPadOS is a shambles. Just try doing this while holding your iPad in your hand, not resting it on a table. It’s like playing Twister with your hands. This reads like a joke and in practice it’s worse than it sounds. It’s embarrassing.

Tuesday, 28 January 2020