Apple’s smartphones, tablets, and whatever the iPod touch is have supported multitasking for years. But so far that’s only meant you could switch between apps running in the background and maybe listen to music from one app while you’re looking at another.

But soon you may be able to see up to three apps on the screen at the same time… at least on iPads.

According to 9to5Mac, Apple could unveil support for a split-screen, dual-window mode at WWDC in early June.

split screen ipad

You can already run multiple apps side-by-side on tablets running Microsoft’s Windows 8 software or later, and some Android tablets also have multi-window features, although it’s not something Google has built directly into the operating system.

One thing that could make Apple’s implementation stand out is that in addition to being able to run 1, 2, or 3 apps on the screen at the same time, you may also be able to run multiple screens from the same app. For instance you could view two browser tabs in side-by-side windows.

There’s evidence that Apple’s been working on the split screen support for a while, but 9to5Mac’s sources reports the company had planned to unveil it with iOS 8 last year but decided to hold off until the feature worked better.

Now it will likely launch with iOS 9. You may not need to buy a new tablet: Split Screen support should come to at least some existing iPad models.

9to5Mac also reports that Apple is working on support for multi-user logins, letting more than one person have a profile on the same device (something already offered in Android and other platforms), and that a 12 inch iPad is in the works (something that’s been widely reported). But neither of those things are expected to be announced at WWDC.


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12 replies on “Report: iPad to support split-screen multitasking”

  1. How long has Linux had this feature for? Sad thing is Apple is always seen as the “innovator”.

  2. This is the same company that said “all you need is one mouse button”. Apple seems to think that their users can’t handle multitasking. Next up: multi-user support for iOS (MIND. BLOWN.)

  3. What is this, five years ago?

    Would laugh too see apple do a complete u turn on styluses too.

  4. My Samsung Tab 4 8.0 has this feature. I never use it. It might work better on a 10″ screen, but 8″ is too small for me to split it.

  5. “although it’s something Google has built directly into the operating system”

    Shouldn’t that be “something Google has not built…”?

  6. I’d like an iPad with split-screen functionality, but also I think I would prefer the Mac OS X GUI on a tablet.

  7. I’m surprised google hasn’t implemented split screen multi tasking. Some manufacturers like Samsung and lg have it.

  8. If they release that along with a larger screened model they will probably be hard to dislodge in the tablet market. They could also probably start retiring the lower end of the Mac range…

    1. Since they introduced their low end Mac just a couple of weeks ago, that comment doesn’t look very insightful. Or did you mean the gimped Macbook Air tailored for EDU purposes?

      Without saying this or that regarding their Mac line up, I really hope an Ipad Pro will see the light of day. The “pro” features I want to see the most are: a proper touch sensitive stylus, split screen app tasking and user accounts.

      1. Anything that is not suitable as a graphics/media workstation is pretty much a low end Mac these days…

  9. You can currently run multiple browser instances side-by-side on Windows tablets.

  10. This is my number one complaint about using an Ipad. Multiple windows would be a big help (can watch video while browsing).

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