How to quickly flip through a stack of apps in Slide Over

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Slide Over
Hopefully this iPad won't "Slide Over" into the pool. Ho ho.
Photo: Maarten van den Heuvel/Unsplash

iPad multitasking, Split Screen and all that stuff, has been getting a bad rap recently, and rightly so. It’s a mess. But amidst this storm of iPad hatred, there’s one great feature that stays great: Slide Over. On the iPad, Slide Over lets you dock a mini, iPhone-size version of an app over on the right side of the screen. You can swipe this away to hide it, and swipe again to bring it back out.

That’s cool, and very handy (as we shall see in a moment). But even better is that you can dock a whole bunch of apps over there, ready to use, and then fan out the stack to help pick the one you want. Let’s take a look. You’re going to love this.

What makes Slide Over so useful?

Of all the multi-window features on the iPad, I use Slide Over the most. Once you add an app to the side of the screen, you can quickly swipe it in as needed, use it, and dismiss it. I keep the Yoink clipboard/shelf app in there, the Notes and Drafts apps so I can save snippets of text, web pages, and more. Other options are password managers like Dashlane, the Messages app, references like the World Clock panel of the clock app, and so on.

Anything you might check or use for just a moment — anything for collecting or quickly viewing data. You get the idea. You can even have a single Safari tab in there, and pull it out over the top of other Safari windows.

But wait. Did I just say that I like to keep more than one app in Slide Over? That’s right. And what’s more, once they’re in there, you can switch between them with a swipe, just like switching apps on an iPhone.

Switching apps in Slide Over

To stack up multiple apps in Slide Over, just keep adding them, one at a time, whenever you need to use one. The iPad will keep them there, and remember them. To slide out the latest app, swipe in from the right side of the screen. To dismiss it, swipe it off screen again.

But how do you get to the other apps? Easy. Just swipe up on the lozenge-shaped bar at the bottom of the Slide Over panel. This one:

This little bar, circled in red, switches Slide Over apps.
This little bar, circled in red, switches Slide Over apps.
Photo: Apple

Does it look familiar? If you have an iPhone X or newer, it will. This is the same setup as the iPhone’s own app switcher. Swipe it left or right, and you’ll move between apps, in order of most-recently used.

Swipe up to view all your Slide Over apps at once.
Swipe up to view all your Slide Over apps at once.
Photo: Apple

But there’s one final trick. If you swipe up in that little bar, you’ll see all your Slide Over apps fanned out, ready to be tapped. Be careful, though, because if you swipe up too far, you’ll flick the app off the top of the screen, and force-quit it.

I L-O-V-E this trick. It’s probably my favorite multitasking feature on iOS. I could even do without Split Screen view if I could keep this. If you’ve never used it before, try now, because you might like it just as much as I do.