Drag almost anything to create a new window in iPadOS

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Drag windows
As many windows as you like.
Photo: Pierre Châtel-Innnocenti/Unsplash

By now, you know that you can use multiple windows from the same app in iPadOS 13, just like you can on the Mac. And you probably also know that it’s a pain to open a new window from scratch. You have to open the app, then slide the Dock up from the bottom of the screen, then tap the app icon again, then tap the little + icon at the top right.

But did you know that there’s an easier way to open a new window in iPadOS? You can just drag an item to the edge of the screen, and drop it there to open it in a brand-new Split View window. Let’s check it out.

How to drag anything to a new window in iPadOS

First, here’s an (incomplete) list of what you can drag into a new window in iPadOS:

  • Files
  • Links
  • Locations
  • Email addresses
  • PDFs

Those are a few common examples, but there are more. In fact, pretty much anything can be dragged into a new window. All you do is tap and briefly hold on the file, or the link, and then drag. It will turn into an object that can be dragged to the side of the screen. Now, you might want to drop this dragged object along the way. You can drop a URL into the Notes app, for example. (This kind of operation has been available since iOS 11.)

Drag to a screen edge to open a window

But if you drag it to a screen edge, then the Split View/multitasking animation will begin. The app window that spawns will depend on the kind of item you are dragging. Thus, you can drop a link over there to open a new Safari window. A dragged email address will open a Mail window, and so on. And on my iPad, dragging a PDF attachment out of an email opens up a window from Readdle’s Documents app.

And, just like when you drag an app window into multitasking view, you can choose how to drop the new window: either in Split View or Slide Over. Let’s take a look it in action.

As you can see, I first drag an email from a mailbox, to open it in a new Split View window. Then, I drag the PDF attachment from that email into another new window, which opens Documents.

Still buggy

It’s all very smooth and easy, although the receiving apps might not always open the document you use to create the window. That might be down to the fact that I’m using an iOS 13.3 beta right now, but I doubt it. It’s probably yet another bug in iOS 13. In general, this works almost perfectly with Apple’s own apps, and is hit-or-miss anywhere else.

Also, you cannot drag anything from the leftmost source list in the Files app. That might not seem like much, but when you get used to this way of opening windows, it becomes a massive pain.

That said, this is a fantastic way to open windows. The best way, even, because it’s so immediate, and so intuitive. Try it out.