Right from the start, Apple decided that the iPad was to be a single-task device and you could run only one app on the screen at a time. This all changed with iOS 9 and you can have two apps side by side.

Apple appears to have changed its mind on this and now it allows a limited form of multitasking. It does not work on all iPads, but it is a step in the right direction.

Whether your iPad can perform this trick depends on which model you have and some features are limited to the very latest models. If you have at least an iPad Air or iPad mini 2 then you can bring up a second app on the screen at the same time as the main app.

This feature does not work with every app you might have on your iPad and they have to be designed to use this feature. To see how it works, open an app like Maps.

iPad

Now swipe in from the right-hand side. The screen darkens and a panel appears on the right that contains a list of apps. This is called Slide Over.

iPad Slide Over

Swipe up and down to browse the list of apps and select one. For example, you might want to check your Twitter feed. Tap the Twitter icon.

iPad Slide Over

Twitter opens in the panel at the right side of the screen and it can be used in the usual way. The limited screen space restricts the app a little, but you can do most things in it and it is a useful way to check for new items without abandoning the current app.

Tapping on the main app, which is dimmed, dismisses the side panel and returns to normal. The app in the panel does not stop and you can swipe and pull the panel out to use it again.

There is a little bar at the top of the panel and pulling this down exits the app and displays the app list again. This enables you to switch to another app in the list.

Notice that Twitter has not only an icon, but a background too. This shows that the app is currently running in the side panel. If you switch to another app, then that app’s background will appear and this is so you can tell the one that is being used.

iPad Slide Over

If you have a more recent iPad, such as an iPad Pro, iPad Air 2 or iPad mini 4, then Split View is available. With Slide Over the main app is dimmed and suspended, but newer iPads enable both apps to run simultaneously. The right panel can be dragged to the middle and this enables two apps to run side by side.

For the first time we have multitasking on the iPad and this makes it easy to research information by calling up Safari, and it makes it much easier to copy information from one app and to paste it in another.