Split Screen on iPad: How to Open and Close Apps

safari and maps split view

On your iPad you can open two different apps at the same time, side-by-side. You can even open two windows of the same app, such as two separate Safari windows. This feature is called Split View by Apple. You may be wondering how to open two such windows, or maybe you already know how to do this, but you haven’t figured out how to get rid of it, and end the split screen once you have it open.

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In this article we’ll explain how to open and close windows in Split View. We’ll also explain Slide Over windows and how you can switch between Split View and Slide Over windows.

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Split View

Open a Second Window in Split View

Starting with one app open, you can open a second app in Split View. The second app must be available in your Dock. See Other Tips below for help on this.

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  1. While you have your first app open, swipe up from the bottom of your screen to see the Dock. If you swipe too quickly or too far up, you will just close the app you have open, so swipe slowly and just enough to make the dock appear.
  2. Select an app from the Dock by pressing and dragging it to the edge of your screen, right or left. This will open it in a side-by-side view. If you don’t drag it all the way to the edge, your second app will open in a small window on top of your first app, called a Slide View window.
  3. You can move the divider in between the apps to give one app more space or to give them equal space on your screen.

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Close Split View

You can resume normal view on your iPad by closing one of the apps you have open in Split View. Just drag the app divider to the right or left of your screen until the app you want to close is squashed out of existence.

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Other Tips & Troubleshooting

  • Split View not Working? You must have multitasking enabled to use Split View and Slide Over. Go to Settings > Home Screen & Dock > Multitasking. Toggle the switch to Allow Multiple Apps.
  • Apps in Dock: In order to open an app in Split View, you need to have the second app available in your Dock. First check this setting: Go to Settings > Home Screen & Dock. Toggle the switch next to Show Suggested and Recent Apps in Dock. Now, your recently opened apps will show in Dock, so in order to open your second app in Split View, first open it normally so it will show in Dock.
  • Change your Split View apps: If you already have two windows open in Split View, you can replace one of them by dragging an app from the dock on top of the window you want to replace.
  • Slide Over: If you are already in Split View, you can turn one of your windows into a smaller window, that will appear on top of the other open app.
    • Find the small horizontal bar at the top of the window you want to make smaller. Touch this horizontal bar and drag down and release. This smaller window is a Slide Over window.

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Slide Over

Slide Over windows allow you to open an app in a small window that will slide in front of the app(s) you have open. You can use Slide Over windows and Split View at the same time. You can also have multiple windows in Slide Over.

safari and stopwatch slide over window

Open a Slide Over Window

  1. Starting with one app open in normal view, swipe up slowly from the bottom of the screen until the Dock appears.
  2. Press and drag the app up onto your screen above the Dock.

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Hide or Close a Slide Over Window

  • Hide: Slide the Slide Over window by touching the horizontal bar near the top of the window and dragging the window off the right side of your screen.
  • Close: Press the horizontal bar at the bottom of the Slide Over window and swipe up. Your app that is open in normal view will become blurry. Touch and swipe the Slide Over app up to close it.

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Retrieve a Slide Over Window

To retrieve your Slide Over window, drag your finger from the right side of your screen toward the center of your screen.

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Other Tips & Troubleshooting

  • Split View & Slide Over: These two features can be used at the same time, but only on newer iPads.
  • Your Slide Over window can be repositioned to the left or right sides of your screen by dragging it.
  • Open another app in Slide Over: You can open another app in a Slide Over window the same way you opened the first one. The second Slide Over Window will replace the first. You will be able to switch between the two.
3 Slide over windows
  • Switch Between Slide Over Apps: If you have more than one Slide Over window opened, touch the horizontal bar at the bottom of the open Slide Over window and swipe to the right or left to switch apps.
    • Swiping slowly to the right or left will let you see the other Slide Over windows to choose from before you complete the swipe.
    • Press the horizontal bar at the bottom of the Slide Over window and swipe up. All your Slide Over windows will become visible. Tap on the one you want.
    • Note: Be careful about apps like Mail which also use left/right swiping motions to perform actions. Swipe carefully so you don’t accidentally delete an email.
  • Turn Slide Over into Split View: Press the horizontal bar at the top of the Slide Over Window and drag the window to the left or right edge of your screen and release.
  • Slide Over & Control Center: When I have a Slide Over window hidden off the right of my screen, I find accessing Control Center a little more tricky. To open Control Center and not your hidden Slide Over window, start with your finger on the top edge of your screen, in the top-right corner, then swipe down.

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Dr. Stacey Butler is a tech writer at macReports covering news, how-tos, and user guides. She is a longtime Mac and iPhone user and holds a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. Here is her LinkedIn profile.

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