One of the biggest bugaboos about working on an iPad is how rigid the multitasking system can be. At the moment, you need to have a recent app in your Dock in order to open it in a multitask view. It’s also not that straightforward to open apps in the view you want. It seems Apple felt the same, as iOS 15 will address iPad multitasking in a few seemingly positive ways. The changes won’t fix everything, but it’s a start.
In iOS 15, open iPad apps will now have a three-dot menu sitting in the center of their windows. When you tap this, you can choose whether the new app you open is presented in full screen or split view. From there, your current app will slide off to the slide, giving you access to the full iPad Home Screen so you can browse through all of the apps on your device.
Apps you start using with multitasking will also move into a new multitasking-focused menu at the bottom of the iPad called the Shelf, so you can quickly switch back and forth between all the apps you’ve used recently, including those you’ve had paired with other apps in split view. The iPadOS App Switcher will be a lot more functional, too, enabling you to combine apps into split views right from the Switcher.
I think these changes are pushing iPadOS in a much better direction. For those who use an iPad Pro with a Magic Keyboard, these iPad multitasking upgrades definitely pull the system more in the direction of traditional desktop computing.
One thing that disappoints me, though: It appears you’re still limited to split view with two apps at the moment. I think Apple could’ve bumped it up to three. Also, iPhone apps that don’t have an iPad version still break this experience entirely, and require you in most cases to hold your iPad in a portrait view to use them properly. If your iPad is attached to a keyboard, this is obviously not ideal. I have no idea why Apple won’t flip the orientation of iPhone apps and enable them to be used in landscape mode. It’s been over a decade.
There’ll undoubtedly be some smaller details about iPad multitasking that didn’t get hit on in the WWDC 2021 keynote, so perhaps we’ll get word on those once the iOS 15 beta is out. Apple’s annual developers conference is still rolling on. We’ll add more as it is warranted.