Multitask Like a Genius: 7 Time-Saving iPad Tricks

Courtesy Apple

The multitasking features remain some of the most hidden of “hacks” for iPad users — and yet, they’re also some of the most helpful, helping you accomplish everything from shaving seconds off of the time it takes you to send an email to upping your efficiency game as you hang out in two apps at once. Read on for the best tips to boost your productivity on your iPad (while you catch up on that House of Cards season).

1. Enable multitasking on your iPad.
Turn your iPad’s Multitasking features on or off by going to Settings > General > Multitasking. Boom, you’re all set.

2. Keep video chatting while you scroll through emails.
Ready to keep chatting with a friend on FaceTime while browsing for an address of that happy hour place you told your wife you’d meet her at? Or half-watching the latest episode of BoJack Horseman while you browse through work emails? If you’re using FaceTime or watching a movie, press the Home button to shrink the video down into a corner of your screen. From there you can open a second app, and it will keep playing. You can move the video or FaceTime call anywhere on the screen you want, and easily return to full screen by tapping the full-screen icon.

3. Slide over messages.
If you want to check messages while you also reply to your buddy’s email, jot down a note to buy eggs, or keep scrolling through the #UFC200 hashtag on Twitter, swipe left from the middle, right edge of your screen to open a second app without leaving the one you’re in. To swap between side apps, swipe down from the top, right side of the screen, then tap the app you want to pull up from the list that appears. As soon as you’re ready to check out of #RoadToRio or your fantasy football league email thread, slide the app away (from left to right) to get back on with what you were doing.

4. Change your screen to Split View.
It can be hard to write up a report while you’re reviewing spreadsheet data if you can’t look at both at the same time. Ditto for looking up hotels while you map out how far your beachside tiki cocktails are from your mountain biking excursion. Use Split View, which enables two full-sized apps to stay open and active simultaneously. Open up your second app by sliding (right to left), then keep sliding the divider until it’s in the middle of the screen. When you’re ready to change apps, slide down from the top of the screen to change the app on the right, or double click the Home button to change the app on the left. If you want to close either of the apps, slide the divider over the app that you want to exit.

5. Select text.
The simple days of T9Word drama and constricting copy-and-paste malaise are long behind us. To grab text swiftly, you don’t have to tap directly onto the text you want to get (though you can). Instead, try moving two fingers anywhere on the screen — including over the on-screen keyboard — and then you can move the cursor to select, edit, and move text.

6. Befriend the on-screen Shortcut Bar.
Racing to fire off one last email before catching your 2:00 p.m. bus to Philly doesn’t have to be stressful. Bold, italicize, and underline by clicking the icons that appear on the top of the on-screen keyboard. Open an app where you’d want to do a bit of typing like Mail or Notes, and the shortcuts bar will appear at the top of the on-screen keyboard (if your shortcuts bar is hidden, drag up the tab at the top/middle of the keyboard, and it will appear). If you like that whole tapping thing, you can also switch between tapping on the screen and deciding your action and using the shortcuts bar. Rely on certain tools a lot? You can also customize your Shortcut Bar so you’ve got the ones you need lined up like iDucks in a row. (Also neat on the shortcuts bar: The ability to copy and paste, attach a document, or add a photo.) 

7. Use keyboard shortcuts.
Use that smart keyboard (or other external keyboard) to get things done like a Genius Bar guru. Get more done with shortcuts beyond copying and pasting your day away, such as switching between apps or calling up the Search bar, which you can get by hitting Command-Space on the Smart Keyboard. You can also use your apps’ own built-in, customized shortcuts: press down on the Command, Option, or Control keys to see the shortcuts you can choose from in whatever app you’re currently using and their key combinations.


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