iOS 9’s Split View for iPad is everything you hoped it would be

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Split-View-iPad-Air-2

Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

 

When iOS 9 rolls out to the public this fall, it’ll be iPad users that appreciate it most, thanks to the many improvements Apple has made to multitasking. One of the biggest is Split View, a feature that’s exclusive to the iPad Air 2, which lets you run two apps side-by-side — just like you would on your Mac.

Split View lets you read articles in Safari while composing an email in Mail, enjoy a novel in iBooks while taking notes in the Notes app, and talk to friends via iMessage while organizing your schedule in Calendar.

But is Split View as game-changing as it looks at first glance? You bet it is.

I tried split-screen multitasking on the iPad, and here’s what I discovered

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OS X brought to iOS
OS X brought to iOS

Almost from the start, iPad users have begged and pleaded with Apple to add a missing feature: split-screen multitasking.

Split-screen multitasking is the ability to run two or more apps simultaneously, side by side, just like you can on a desktop computer. But iOS, of course, is the antithesis of traditional multitasking. You can have only one app on the screen at a time.

That may be about to change. Apple is rumored to be adding multitasking to the iPad in iOS 8, which is expected to be shown to developers at next month’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference.

With split screen multitasking, you could write a paper in Pages on the left while researching in Safari on the right. You may even be able to drag and drop items between the two apps, like photos or chunks of text.

For some, this would be nirvana. Better multitasking would turbocharge the iPad, especially for work, right?.

Microsoft loves to crow about the Surface 2 tablet’s ability to multitask, which in Redmond’s eyes makes the tablet appear more suited for work than watching cat videos. Some iPad users have been lobbying for it for years. The feature has been the subject of plenty UI mockups, design videos, and jailbreak tweaks.

My iPad Air is jailbroken, and for the last week I’ve been using a new jailbreak tweak called OS Experience, which allows me to have split-screen multitasking.

I’ve tried using it as part of my daily workflow. And what I found was surprising.

OS Experience brings desktop multitasking to iPad for jailbreakers

OS X brought to iOS
OS X brought to iOS

What would it look like if Apple let you work in multiple apps side by side on the iPad? Apple’s competitors like to poke fun at the iPad’s lack of desktop-class multitasking. But plenty of people are using the iPad to get work done, which begs the age-old question: is less really more?

Imagine OS X’s Mission Control ported to the iPad, and you’ve got the jailbreak tweak OS Experience. It’s an ambitious idea that is executed with surprising finesse.

Auxo 2 Takes Multitasking In iOS 7 To The Next Level For Jailbreakers

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The jailbreak tweak called Auxo did card-based app switching in iOS 6, and then Apple came along and fully implemented the idea in iOS 7. Auxo, which started as a concept that went viral online, was suddenly obsolete.

A successor to Auxo has been in the works for quite some time, and now it’s available for jailbreakers to install in Cydia. Auxo 2 doesn’t reinvent iOS 7 multitasking, but the tweak builds upon it by adding more controls and customization.