Apple’s mobile devices are pretty intuitive, with the gesture-based touch controls making it easy to figure out how to navigate around the user interface with only a few minutes of use. As the iPad has evolved into more of a laptop replacement, however, it’s inevitable that new features and gestures are becoming a little bit less “discoverable.”
In other words, iPadOS has reached the point where you may actually need some basic tutorials to figure out how to take advantage of all of the advanced features, and this is especially true with the new multitasking capabilities, which by the usual standards of iOS have a much steeper learning curve.
However, Apple’s not pretending that this isn’t the case, and it already has a series of short tutorial videos available on its Apple Support YouTube channel to show you how to use and get the most out of the new multitasking capabilities in iPadOS 13.
In the first video, Apple demonstrates and explains how to use Slide Over, the feature that allows an app to be pinned in an iPhone-like overlay window that can easily be slid off the right side of the screen and brought back as needed.
Slide Over is a great way to keep frequently used apps like Messages, Reminders, and Notes at your fingertips, yet keep them out of the way when they’re not needed. It’s also handy for apps like Files and Photos, allowing you to quickly pop out the app to drag-and-drop content into whatever app you’re working with.
With iPadOS 13, the Slide Over view becomes even more like a mini iPhone screen, with the ability to use the same sort of gestures that you could on an iPhone. You can place multiple apps in the Slide Over panel and swipe between them with the horizontal bar control at the bottom, or swipe up from that same control to see a fanned out display of all of your active Slide Over apps. Both of these work just like they would on an iPhone X or later.
Using the control at the top, the Slide Over panel can also be moved over the left side of the iPad’s screen, (although you won’t be able to slide it off the screen from that side), or converted into a full window by dragging it up to the top of the screen.
Split View isn’t new to iPadOS 13, although what is new is the ability to have two windows from the same app open side-by-side, so for example you could put two notes from the Notes app on screen at the same time, or two Safari browser windows.
The video also shows how to use the new “App Expose” feature, which has been brought over from macOS to allow a single app to exist in multiple, independent windows or screens and switch between them.
With the ability for the same app to run in multiple screens, it’s also now possible to leave certain split view layouts in place, while having other instances of the same apps running in full screen, or even in slide over.
Sadly, if you use a hardware keyboard with your iPad, you’ll be disappointed to discover that Apple hasn’t added any new keyboard shortcuts for accessing these new capabilities, although third-party apps have the ability to do so, and at least one, Things, seems to have nailed it, introducing shortcuts like CTRL+CMD+N to create a new split-screen window, and the familiar CMD+W shortcut to close it again. Hopefully other apps — and Apple itself — will eventually follow suit.
A third video explains how to use new three-finger gestures in iPadOS 13 for copying, cutting, and pasting text, as well and undoing and redoing.
Again, these gestures aren’t at all discoverable — you’re not likely to stumble across them accidentally — but they’re somewhat intuitive once you get used to them. As Apple explains, copying is intended to be a gesture similar to “picking up” text, and pasting similar to “putting text down.”
Three-finger swipes to the left and the right will also undo and redo text actions, although many other apps have already incorporated their own alternative versions of these gestures, so it’s going to be interesting to see how well they play together. One thing the video doesn’t show is that a three-finger tap gesture will present a pop-up menu with all of the available options for a block of text, or even other items such as files in the Files app.
Swiping Is the New Typing
The fourth video Apple has published shows how to use the new QuickPath swipe-style keyboard on your iPad.
Yes, you heard that right — you can use the new iOS 13 swipe keyboard on the iPad too, but we’re not talking about swiping around your 10-inch-plus screen, which would just be strange. What Apple has done in iPadOS 13 is provided the ability to shrink the keyboard down to a floating iPhone-style keyboard that you can place anywhere on the screen.
In this mode, it works in every way just like an iPhone keyboard; the space bar will even move the text insertion point around, and it includes the same QuickPath feature available on the iPhone with iOS 13. In our opinion, this makes it the very best way to enter text on the iPad when you’re carrying it around in your hands, plus it has the added bonus of not taking up half of your working area with an on-screen keyboard.