How to Use Floating Apps (Slide Over) on an iPad

Slide Over on iPad Hero

One of the major features of multitasking on the iPad is called Slide Over. It lets you use a second app in a floating window above a full-screen app. It’s useful, but mastering it can be tricky. Here are some tips.

What Is Slide Over?

Slide Over is a way to multitask on the iPad. It displays a primary app in full-screen mode and secondary app in a small floating window on the left or right side of the screen. The Slide Over window can be quickly dismissed and called back when needed, making it ideal for checking information from an app quickly while working on something else.

An example of Slide Over on the iPad

Apple first introduced Slide Over alongside other iPad multitasking features in iOS 9, which launched in 2015. It’s available on iPad Pro or later, iPad Air or later, and iPad mini 2 or later. All iPad models currently sold by Apple support Slide Over.

Not every app supports Slide Over, but most official Apple-made apps do. Third-party developers must specifically choose to support the feature for it to work properly. There is no master list of Slide Over supported apps, so you’ll have to use trial-and-error to see if your favorite apps work with it.

What Is the Difference Between Slide Over and Split View?

iPad’s other major multitasking feature, Split View, displays two windows side by side with a black divider in the middle. It is designed for using two apps at the same time in a situation where you may need to continuously reference each one or move information from one to the other.

The main difference between Split View and Slide Over is how much screen real estate each app takes up while using multiple apps. They also differ in functionality, each being suited to different types of tasks.

RELATED: What’s the Difference Between Split View and Slide Over on an iPad?

How Do I Use Slide Over?

To use Slide Over, open an app. This will be your primary app that runs full screen while you place a Slide Over window on top of it. The easiest way to use an app with slide over involves dragging it from your Dock.

With the primary app you want to use already open, slowly swipe up from the bottom of the screen to open the Dock.

Bring up the Dock on iPad to start Slide Over

Find the second app you’d like to open, place your finger on its icon, and hold it for just a moment. (But not too long, or you’ll trigger a pop-up menu.) Slowly drag the icon upward off the dock toward the direction you’d like to place the Slide Over window.

Dragging icon from Dock for Slide Over on iPad

After a moment, the icon will become part of a blurry rectangular box with rounded edges. Keep dragging the icon with your finger until it is located in the half of the screen where you want the Slide Over window.

Placing App for Slide Over on iPad

Release your finger, and the new app will appear as a floating Slide Over window.

Slide Over in place on iPad

Once an app is in Slide Over mode, you can easily move it to the other side of the screen by dragging the control bar at the top of the window and repositioning it to the other side.

How Do I Hide and Recall the Slide Over Window?

Apple makes it easy to quickly dismiss a Slide Over window for instances where you might want to check an app quickly, then push it out of the way to see the main app.

If you want to temporarily hide the Slide Over window, place your finger on the control bar at the top and quickly swipe it toward the right or left edge of the screen.

Slide side view window to dimiss on iPad

When you want to check the Slide Over window again, you can recall it quickly by swiping inward from the left or right edge of the screen, depending on which side you hid it.

How to Get Rid of a Slide Over Window

To fully close a Slide Over window so that it doesn’t pop up again if you swipe on the edge of the screen, you have to do some gesture gymnastics. You’ll have to go through Split View first, which is a feature where two apps can be used side-by-side in a larger view.

First, hold your finger on the control bar at the top of the Slide Over window, then begin slowly sliding it toward either edge of the screen.

Transitioning from Slide Over to Split View on iPad

As you slide, the two windows will transform into blurred out boxes with the app icons inside of them. Keep dragging the window toward the edge of the screen.

Transitioning from Slide Over to Split View on iPad

Lift your finger at the edge of the screen, and the two apps will now be in Split View mode. You can now close the unwanted window by sliding the black partition between the two windows all the way to the edge of the screen until one window disappears.

Closing Split View on iPad

Can I Use Split View and Slide Over at the Same Time?

Apple makes it possible to use Split View and Slide Over at the same time. Using this feature, you can have a total of three app windows on the screen at once.

Using Slide Over and Split View at the Same Time on iPad

To do this, start in Split View mode, then open the dock by slowly swiping upward from the bottom edge of the screen. Slowly drag the app icon (for the third app that will be in Slide Over) on top of the black partition in the middle of the screen.

To get rid of the Slide Over window, use its control bar at the top of the window to drag it to the side of the screen until it replaces one of the Split View apps. Then you can close the window by sliding the black center partition all the way to the edge of the screen until one window disappears.

Learn More About Multitasking—or Disable It Completely

Multitasking features on the iPad can be very useful and powerful if you learn to use them. They do take some practice and patience to get just right.

If you prefer to use the iPad as a single-task device or you keep bringing up extra app windows by accident, you can easily turn off Split View and Slide Over from Settings.

RELATED: How to Use Multiple Apps at Once on an iPad

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