iPadOS Shortcut and Window Control

Since 2019, Apple has made the iPad closer and closer to macOS and shipped with case & keyboard combo like the Smart Folio and Magic Keyboard. Just like macOS, it has keyboard shortcuts to make navigation and completing task faster. It pays to learn some new keyboard tricks. Posted by erwinkarim on 10:50 AM, January 27, 2021 Last updated on 9:42 AM, January 28, 2021 Filed in: ipados, keyboard shortcuts,

iPadOS was introduced in 2019 as Apple wanted to branch out the iPad into it’s own platform and bring it close to the macOS. One of the key features it brings is some windowing control and a slew of keyboard shortcuts to make the iPadOS experience closer to a laptop experience. Apple later added trackpad and mouse support as an accessibility feature. With the introduction of Magic keyboard that actually comes with a trackpad, the iPadOS is becoming a viable laptop replacement for most users except for developers at this point.

Keyboard short cuts

Generally, to find out what keyboard shortcuts that is available on the app, just hold the command key until a list shows up.

Holding down ⌘ in an app will display a shortcut map like the one above.

Unlike macOS, the default iPadOS does not have the ESC key. So the available modifier keys are:-

  • Command (or cmd) - ⌘
  • Option (or alt) - ⌥
  • Control (or ctl) - ^
  • Shift - ⇧

Here are some of the most useful keyboard shortcuts within iPadOS:-

Command Effect
+ tab App Switching
+ h Switch to home screen
+ Spacebar Search Bar (Spotlight like functionality)
+ c Copy selected element
+ v Paste selected element
+ x Cut selected element
+ shift + 3 Take a screenshot
+ shift + 4 Take a screenshot and open markup immediately

Here some shortcuts in Safari :-

Command Effect
+ t New Tab
+ + t Reopen closed Tab
+ + n New Private Tab
+ w Close Tab
+ f Find ...
+ [1, 2 or ...] Go to tab 1, 2 or ...

Window Control

Window Control in iPad OS is different from macOS and iOS. First and foremost, all apps in iPad OS is by default is in full screen size. There are three window modes in iPadOS:-

  • Full screen (default)
  • Split screen
  • Slide Over
  • Picture-in-Picture (PiP)

Please note that the windowing mode must be enable by the app, otherwise, the app could not enter any of the mode described above.

Full screen is the default mode. When you launch your app, it will always in this mode. The other window mode is available by default, but it also depends on app support.

split screen mode

To get an app into a split screen with another app, while in session with the first up, slide up from bottom of the screen. This will bring up the dock. Hold select the app that you wish to have split screen with. Drag the app icon to the left or right edge of the screen. The main app will shrink and you can put the app into the new empty space to confirm this mode. The middle bar is where you can adjust the screen size. The screen is split into four equal parts so in split script mode, each app will have at least 1 quarter of the whole screen.

Slide Over in action

Slide Over is a feature where you have a collection of apps running in quarter screen mode, but they all can run simultaneously like an app drawer. You can switch between apps in that are in Slide Over mode, take them off from the Slide Over or add another app to do just that.

To get an app to Slide Over, follow the same instruction as you would do a split screen mode. Instead of putting the selected app into the middle of the first app, put at the side until the icon changes shape to a rectangle. Let go and the app will be side loaded. You can have multiple app side loaded in this mode. Please note that side loading apps tray will be only be available when an app is opened. It will not be available when in home screen mode.

Swiping up the bottom bars of the Slide Over app will bring out the Slide Over task manager where you can remove apps from the Slide Over tray.

Depending on the app configuration, the side loading apps will run in the background or pause when not in use. In side loading mode, there will be two bars, a short one at the top of the app and a long one at the bottom of the app. To remove an app in Slide Over, swipe up the bottom bar in the Slide Over. It will line up all the apps that is in Slide Over. You can delete any apps in Slide Over by swiping up each app. Tap anywhere to return into normal Slide Over mode. To call up side loading apps, slide from the right edge of the screen. To switch side loading apps in the side loading tray, swipe left or right at the bottom bars. To dismiss Slide Over, swipe the top bar of the app to the nearest screen edge.

Picture-in-picture on iPadOS. Pinch in and out to resize the picture.

For Picture-in-Picture of video playback, the app itself must support such feature. If the app support such feature, there’s an icon to make it picture in picture. You can put at each corner of the iPad screen. You can adjust the size by pinch or spread the video.


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