How To Use The Dock In iOS 11

iPad dock in iOS 11

The Dock at the bottom of the homescreen of the iPad has always been a great way to easily access your favorite apps. In iOS 11, the Dock is much more powerful. It still lets you launch apps, but now you can access it from every app and use it to multitask. Read on to learn all about how to use the Dock in iOS 11.

Revealing the Dock While in Apps

The Dock is always present on the home screen of your iPad, but who wants to have to go back to the home screen every time you want to launch an app?

Luckily, you can access the Dock at any time, from any app. Here's how:

  • Simply swipe up from the bottom of the screen (on earlier versions of the iOS, this was used to reveal Control Center).
  • If you're using an external keyboard with your iPad, you can bring up the dock by clicking Command (or ) + Option + D at the same time.

How to Add Apps to and Remove Apps from the Dock in iOS 11

Since the Dock is used for launching apps, you'll probably want to keep your most-used apps there for easy access. On iPads with 9.7- and 10.5-inch screens, you can put up to 13 apps in your Dock. On the iPad Pro, you can add up to 15 apps thanks to the 12.9-inch screen. The iPad mini, with its smaller screen, accommodates up to 11 apps.

Adding apps to the Dock is super simple. Just follow these steps:

  1. Tap and hold the app that you want to move.
  2. Keep holding until all the apps on the screen begin to shake.
  3. Drag the app down into the dock.
  1. Click the Home button to save the new arrangement of apps.

As you might imagine, removing apps from the Dock is equally easy:

  1. Tap and hold the app you want to take out of the Dock until it starts shaking.
  2. Drag the app out of the Dock and into a new position.
  3. Click the Home button.

Managing Suggested and Recent Apps

While you can choose which apps are in your Dock, you can't control all of them.

At the end of the dock there's a vertical line and three apps to the right of it (if you're a Mac user, this will look familiar). Those apps are automatically placed there by the iOS itself. They represent recently used apps and suggested apps that the iOS thinks you might want to use next. If you prefer not to see those apps, you can turn them off by:

  1. Tapping Settings.
  2. Tapping General.
  3. Tapping Multitasking & Dock.
  4. Moving the Show Suggested and Recent Apps slider to off/white.

Access Recent Files Using a Shortcut

The Files app that's built into iOS 11 lets you browse the files stored on your iPad, in Dropbox, and elsewhere. Using the Dock, you can access recently used files without even opening the app. Here's how:

  1. Tap and hold on the Files app in the Dock. This is tricky; hold too long and the apps start to shake as if they're going to be moved. Let go too quickly and nothing happens. A tap-and-hold of about two second should work.
  2. A window pops up that shows up to four recently opened files. Tap one to open it.
  3. To view more files, tap Show More.
  4. Close the window by tapping elsewhere on the screen.

How to Multitask on the iPad: Split View

Prior to iOS 11, multitasking on the iPad and iPhone took the form of being able to run some apps, like those that play music, in the background while you do something else in the foreground.

In iOS 11, you can view, run, and use two apps at the same time with a feature called Split View. Here's what you need to do:

  1. Make sure both apps are in the Dock.
  2. Open the first app you want to use.
  3. While in that app, swipe up to reveal the Dock.
  4. Drag the second app out of the Dock and towards the left or right edge of the screen.
  5. When the first app moves aside and opens a space for the second app, remove your finger from the screen and let the second app fall into place.
  6. With the two apps on the screen, move the divider between them to control how much of the screen each app uses.

To return to a single app on the screen, just swipe the divider to one side or the other.

The app that you swipe across will close.

One really cool thing that Split View multitasking allows is for you to keep two apps running together in the same "space" at the same time. To see this in action:

  1. Open two apps using the steps above.
  2. Double click the Home button to bring up the app switcher.
  3. Notice that the two apps you just opened the same screen are shown together in this view. When you tap that window, you return to that same state, with both apps open at the same time. This means that you can pair apps that you use together and then switch between those pairs when working on different tasks.

How to Multitask on the iPad: Slide Over

Another way of running multiple apps at the same time is called Slider Over. Unlike Split View, Slide Over puts one app on top of the other and doesn't pair them together. In Slide Over, closing an app closes Slide Over mode and doesn't create the saved "space" that Split View does. To use Slide Over:

  1. Make sure both apps are in the Dock.
  2. Open the first app you want to use.
  3. While in that app, swipe up to reveal the Dock.
  4. Drag the second app out of the Dock towards the center of the screen and then drop it.
  5. The second app opens in smaller window at the edge of the screen.
  6. Convert Slide Over to Split View by swiping up on the top of the Slide Over window.
  7. Close the Slide Over window by swiping it off the edge of the screen.

How to Drag and Drop Between Apps

The Dock also allows you to drag and drop some content between some apps. For example, imagine you come across a passage of text on a website that you want to save.

You can drag that into another app and use it there. Here's how:

  1. Find the content you want to drag to another app and select it.
  2. Tap and hold that content so that it becomes moveable.
  3. Reveal the Dock by swiping up or using an external keyboard.
  4. Drag the selected content onto an app in the Dock and hold the content there until the app opens.
  5. Drag the content to the place in the app where you want it, remove your finger from the screen, and the content will be added to the app.

Quickly Switch Apps Using a Keyboard

Here's a bonus tip. It's not strictly based on using the Dock, but it helps you switch quickly between apps the same way the Doc does. If you're using a keyboard attached to the iPad, you can bring up an app-switching menu (similar to those present on macOS and Windows), by:

  1. Clicking Command (or ) + Tab at the same time.
  2. Moving through the list of apps using the left and right arrow keys or by clicking Tab again while still holding down Command.
  3. To launch an app, select using the keyboard and then release both keys. 
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