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.
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.