10 June 2014

That iPad split-screen feature you’ve been waiting for? It’s in the iOS 8 code

The mere mention of the possibility that Apple might include split-screen functionality in iOS 8 caused a real ruckus on the Internet. Nearly everyone was shocked and excited to hear that Apple was finally thinking beyond one window at a time.

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Then, WWDC 2014 came and went, with no mention of what would have been a real standout feature. Of course, adding split-screen functionality would also have been a huge concession to the multitasking thinking behind Windows 8 and Android, so perhaps Apple wasn’t quite ready to hear the I-told-you-sos. Now, one developer has spotted a bit of code that indicates split-screen functionality is possible in iOS 8.

It seems that Apple did not consider its efforts at creating a split-screen effect in iOS 8 polished enough for a big reveal at WWDC, but it left the door open for developers in the meantime. Developer Steve Troughton-Smith alerted his followers to the presence of special code in iOS 8 that will allow the use of two apps side by side. You can even alter the size of the app windows to maximize the use of space for specific apps. Apple has inserted code that allows for windows in three sizes: 1/4, 1/2, and 3/4.

Theoretically, you’d be able to watch a show on Netflix, while taking a peek at your Twitter feed or your email inbox on the side. Some rumors hint that split-screen functionality will only arrive on the iPad Air and bypass the smaller iPad Mini, but so far, that’s just speculation. Apple may offer the split-screen feature on all iPads with iOS 8 installed, though it probably won’t offer it on the iPhone for obvious reasons.

It’s possible that Apple is still working on the split-screen feature, but it could also be waiting to debut it during what has become known as the iPad event during the fall. Apple often keeps a few new iOS features on the back burner, so that it has something interesting to show off during hardware events. Either way, it’s likely that we’ll be seeing this long-awaited feature soon.

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