Khamosh Pathak is a freelance technology writer who specializes in tutorials. His work has also been published on iPhoneHacks, Zapier’s blog, MakeUseOf, and Guiding Tech. Khamosh has seven years of experience writing how-tos, features and technology guides on the internet. Read more.
The iPadOS 13 update brings new window management features that almost turn the iPad into a laptop replacement. With it, you can open multiple windows of the same app. Here’s how this works on the iPad.
Create a New Window Using Drag and Drop
iPadOS 13 picks up where iOS 11’s drag-and-drop feature left off. In iOS 11, you could select elements, text, and links and then drop them into another app.
Now, you can do the same with parts of an app. This can be a note in the Notes app, an email in the Mail app, or a link in Safari. The simplest way to learn this new mechanism is by using Safari as an example.
Open a website in Safari, tap and hold on a link, and move your finger. You have just picked up a link.
Now, move your finger to the right edge of the screen untill you see a black bar and a Safari icon.
When you lift your finger, iPadOS will create a new Safari window with the link open.
If you want to open the window in a floating Slide Over panel, drag the link (or any element you’ve picked up) right to the edge of the screen, but stop before the black bar appears.
The page will open in a Slide Over panel when you lift your finger.
Similarly, you can open a link from Safari in a new full-screen window by dragging the link to the top of the screen. When you let go, it will open the Safari window in a new space.
Some apps (like Safari) will include an “Open in New Window” option in a contextual menu. If you can press and hold to expand or open a page in an app, you’ll see this option.
Manage and Close Windows Using App Expose
macOS users will be familiar with App Expose. Just like on the Mac, App Expose on iPadOS 13 is used to list and manage all open windows for a given app.
To get to the App Expose mode, swipe up a bit from the bottom of the screen to reveal the Dock while the app is open on the screen. You’ll see the current app’s icon in the Dock. Tap on it.
When you tap on an app icon from the Dock—while the app is already open—you’ll be taken to the App Expose view.
Here, you’ll see all the open windows (full screen, Split View, and Slide Over) for the app across all of the Spaces. Tap on any of the windows to switch to it. If you want to quit a particular window or Space, just swipe up to dismiss it.
It’s important to note that the App Switcher will also list all of the open windows for all apps. You can swipe up on a single window or a multi-window Space to dismiss it.
What if you want to open App Expose for an app that’s not on the Dock? You can do this by using the new contextual app menus.
Go to the home screen and tap and hold on the app icon. From here, if multiple windows are open for the app, you’ll see a new option called “Show All Windows.” Tap on it to open App Expose.
Create a New Window Using App Expose
What if you want to start with a new blank window for a given app? For example, what if you want to create another window in Safari?
You can do this by using the new App Expose feature. As described above, start by tapping on the current app’s icon from the Dock (after slightly swiping up from the bottom).
Here, you’ll see a “Plus” icon in the top-right corner. Tap on it to create a new blank window.
Practice Makes Perfect
At first glance, this might seem a bit complicated because Apple has not done a great job highlighting these features. Many are hidden behind drag-and-drop options that don’t work on all elements.
As you use iPadOS 13 and as more apps start getting updates that support these features, just try to tap and hold on elements of an app to see if you can drag them out to create a window. Keep experimenting, and you’ll start to figure out when multitasking features work and when they don’t.
This is just one of the many new features in iPadOS 13 that brings the iPad closer to a real computer.
Along with the slew of awesomeness with iPadOS comes another very cool feature. You can open multiple instances of the same app at the same time. This is handy for many situations like more than one map in the Maps app, view in the Calendar, or even window in Safari (if you don’t want to use tabs).
Opening multiple windows of the same app on iPad is easy and here’s how to do it.
Open multiple windows of the same app on iPad
Open the app that you want to have more than one instance of and keep it open. We’re going to use the Calendar app for our example, so just follow these steps.
1) With the app open on your screen, swipe up subtly from the bottom to invoke the Dock. If you swipe at full force, you could minimize your app, so use a light touch.
2) Tap the same app’s icon in the Dock.
3) On the next screen, tap the plus sign on the top right.
4) That app will open a new window. You can follow the same steps to open subsequent windows of the same app. Or, use that action to quickly switch between those windows, which you can also do in the App Switcher.
Wrapping it up
Having more than one app open at a time is great but having more than one window for the same app open at a time is even better. You can up your productivity a notch with this new iPadOS feature.
Do you think you’ll find this feature helpful? If so, let us know how you’ll use it in the comments below!
For other new features for your iPad, head over to the iPadOS section of our site. Or for a similar article, take a look at how to switch between windows and apps on your Mac.
Multitasking is one of the many great features of iPadOS and gives people options and flexibility in how they want to interact with your app and others on iPad. They can browse your app in full screen, put it next to another app in Split View, pull it up in Slide Over, or even view multiple instances of your app side by side. Here are a few ways you can improve the look and feel of your iPad app for multitasking and multiple windows.
Make your app a multitasking master
Whether your app is running by itself, in a Slide Over pane, or side by side in Split View, it should always support a great multitasking experience. People expect apps on iPad to seamlessly adjust between size classes as they add or remove apps on their screen. When you design an adaptive UI, you can ensure that your controls and views remain visible and useable, whether your app is full screen or displaying in a compact view.
To make your view controllers and views responsive to changes in the iOS interface environment, override the traitCollectionDidChange(_:) method from the trait environment protocol. To customize view controller animations in response to interface environment changes, override the willTransition(to:with:) method of the UIContentContainer protocol.
You can further guarantee people a flexible, adaptive experience by using tools like Auto Layout and safe area insets to ensure your app looks great no matter how it’s being used.
Multiply your windows
Starting with iPadOS 13, you can add support for creating multiple instances of your app. When you support multiple windows, your app gains additional versatility, allowing people to use it alongside itself or multiple other applications. For example, someone using a to-do app could view two lists from that app side by side in Split View; they could also create multiple Split View instances that pair one of their to-do lists alongside a Safari window, while another to-do list sits next to Mail.
To add multiple windows to your app, you create scenes for each instance of your user interface using UIScene . When you add support for UIScene , consider also implementing modern state restoration, which lets people come right back to what they were working on in your app rather than resetting to the main screen.
Additionally, if you add multiple windows to iPad, that paves the way for multiple window support on Mac Catalyst if you’re also building a Mac app.
In iOS 13 and later, iPad apps can support multiple windows. For example, in an iPad app that enables document creation, people could have multiple document windows open at the same time.
NOTE To support multiple windows in the Mac version of your iPad app, you must support multiple windows on iPad. For guidance, see Mac Catalyst.
There are several ways people can open a new window. For example:
- Drag an app’s Dock icon to the side of the screen to choose one of its current windows or create a new one
- Drag an object to the side of the screen and drop it onto the system-provided drop target
- Touch and hold an app icon on the Home screen or the Dock, tap Show All Windows in the context menu that appears, and tap the Add (+) button
- Touch and hold an object until it reveals a context menu that includes the option to view the object in a new window
iPad apps typically use two types of windows. A primary window lets people navigate the app’s full hierarchy and access all of the app’s objects and the actions associated with them. An auxiliary window often supports a modal task or contains a single object and the actions associated with it; in both cases, people tend to close an auxiliary window after they’ve completed their work in it. In Mail, for example, the primary window contains all mailboxes and messages, whereas an auxiliary window displays a single message.
Although in most cases you should use a primary window, whether to use an auxiliary window depends largely on the type of content people want to view when they open a new window in your app. Regardless of whether people open a new window by dragging an item to the side of the screen or by choosing an “Open Item in New Window” command, consider the following heuristic.
- If the item is a folder of content, use a primary window.
- If the item is an individual document or file, and people are likely to close the new window when they’re finished interacting with the item, use an auxiliary window.
Make sure an auxiliary window is useful on its own. Auxiliary windows should give people additional views into your app’s content and functionality. Avoid using an auxiliary window merely to provide options or tools that work on content in the primary window.
Use a Done or Close button in an auxiliary window. When a primary window displays a document, the window typically includes a Back button that lets people navigate to a parent view. In contrast, when an auxiliary window displays a document, the Back button should be replaced with a Done or Close button, because people expect to close an auxiliary window when they’re finished working in it.
For developer guidance, see App and Scenes.
How to use Split Screen and Slide Over to do Multitasking on iPad
Posted on April 5th, 2019 by Kirk McElhearn
Apple has long tried to convince people that the iPad can replace a computer; that it can be a mobile device that does everything that most people need to do on a laptop. I recently argued that one thing holding this back is the lack of a true “pro” operating system. But Apple has tried to make iOS more flexible on the iPad through a series of multi-tasking features, such as Split Screen and Slide Over. However, the problem is that most people don’t know about these features.
In this article, I’ll explain why you might want to learn a few gestures to use Split Screen and Slide Over on the iPad.
When you work on a Mac, you use multiple windows, and you can easily switch from one to another in many ways: you van click on a different window, click its Dock icon, or press Command-Tab to use the application switcher.
But on a iPad, you generally just use one app, one window at a time. Apple introduced Split Screen mode (for the iPad only) in iOS 9, and has enhanced it over the years. Like many gestures on iOS devices, it’s not very intuitive; it’s unlikely that you’d stumble on it by accident.
To open an app in Split Screen, swipe up from the bottom of the screen until you see the Dock. Drag an icon from the Dock up onto the screen, then drag it toward one side of the screen until you see the first window slide over.
Once you’ve done this, you can drag the separator between the two apps to adjust their sizes. The divider will “snap” to position at the 1/3, 1/2, and 2/3 spots on the screen.
To close a Split Screen window, drag the divider to the edge of the screen on the side of the app you want to close. For example, in the video above, you’d drag the divider to the right to close Photos.
Split Screen is useful when you need to view some content from one app while working in another, or to choose some content from one app to add to another. One example is opening the Photos app and selecting photos you want to add to an email. You can have Mail and Photos open at the same time, and drag photos to your messages.
Note that some apps won’t work in Split Screen mode; I’ve seen this with games, in the Settings app, and others. You can open another app in Slide Over, but you can’t switch it to Split Screen unless its window is designed to be resized.
Using Slide Over
There is another way to view multiple windows on the iPad; it’s called Slide Over. The difference between the two is a bit confusing, but when you use Slide Over, the second window sits above the first, whereas with Split Screen, it sits beside the first window.
To activate Slide Over, you essentially do the same thing as to open an app in Split Screen. The difference is that you simply drop the second apps’ icon on the screen, rather than placing it so the first app slides over. It’s a bit confusing, but if you try this you’ll get the hang of it. Think of the Split Screen drag as a more deliberate drag than slide over.
When you have an app in Slide Over mode, you can move it to Split Screen by dragging down on the horizontal line that’s at the top of its window. And if you do this again, you’ll switch it back to Slide Over mode.
To remove an app from the screen when it’s in Slide Over mode, swipe its window from the interior edge toward the edge of the screen. (In other words, in the example above, you swipe from the left edge of the Messages window to the end of the screen.)
Switching from Slide Over to Split Screen
When you have an app in Slide Over mode, you can switch it to Split Screen by dragging down on the horizontal bar at the top of the window. Switch back to Slide Over by dragging again.
Working with three apps at a time
You can work with two apps in Split Screen and one in Slide Over. To do this, set up two windows in Split Screen, then drag a third icon from the Dock; you’ll see a placeholder of the app as you drag.
If you release that placeholder when it’s over the divider, as in the screenshot above, it opens in Slide Over. If you drag it over one of the Split Screen apps, you’ll see its shape change to that of the space used by the app over which you drag it. The app in question gets darker, and when you release that icon, it replaces that app.
Some settings to be aware of
To use these features, you need to ensure that some settings are active. In Settings > Multitasking & Dock, you need to toggle on Allow Multiple Apps. And I recommend that you also activate Show Suggested and Recent Apps. This setting puts recently used apps at the right of the Dock. Without this, you’d only be able to open apps in Split Screen or Slide Over if they were permanently in your Dock.
Also, it’s a good idea to go to General > Background App Refresh and turn on any apps that you plan to use in Split Screen or Slide Over. This is because of the way iOS works; apps suspend in normal use if you don’t have them set to refresh in the background.
These features can enhance the way you work on your iPad, but they are a bit hard to get used to. Once you’ve realized what you can do with multiple apps on the iPad, you might find the device more adapted to your work, if working in just one app at a time is too limiting. Try them out and see if they change the way you use your iPad.
How can I learn more?
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iPadOS has become a lot more powerful than ever before. Now the iPad operating system offers Mac like multitasking capabilities that make it a viable replacement for desktop computers for a large number of users.
One multitasking feature found on iPadOS enables users to have multiple Windows opened for their favorite apps.
Similar to how you can have multiple instances of an app opened on your Mac, iPadOS also lets you have multiple windows of an app opened.
You can switch between these windows, open new windows and close opened windows through the App Expose screen.
Users can access these app windows or app workplaces for normal views, instances of app running in Split-View and in Slideover features.
Being able to have multiple app workplaces can be very beneficial in apps like Safari. In this app you can open certain types of tabs in one window while other types of tabs in another window. This way you can separate these two workplaces without filling up your main window with tens of tabs.
You can manage and add new windows of an app through a screen called App Expose. There are two ways to access this particular screen. Both of these are explained in the next section.
How To Show All Windows, Close Windows and Open New App Windows
You can access App Expose screen in the following two ways. Once you are on the App Expose screen you can switch between multiple opened windows, close windows and open new windows.
Access App Expose when inside the app: When you are using the app you can access its App Expose screen and view all opened windows by accessing the icon dock (swipe up until you see the icon dock) and tapping on the app’s icon.
Similarly if you’re using your iPad with a mouse of trackpad, then you can click on the app’s icon from the dock to access the App Expose screen.
Access App Expose from Home Screen: App Expose screen can also be accessed from the home screen. To do so tap and hold on the app’s icon and then tap on ‘Show All Windows’ option from the action menu.
Use App Expose screen to close, open and switch between app windows
Once you are one the App Expose screen you can tap on the Window card to access various opened app windows.
You can also close app windows from the App Expose screen. To do so, simply swipe up on the window card to close it, similar to how you swipe up on App Switcher screen to close an app.
Users can also add new windows or workplaces for an app. This can be done by tapping in the ‘+’ button location on top right corner of the screen.
If you happen to close a windows accidentally, then you can also restore closed windows by tapping on the ‘Reopen Closed Windows’ button. This button shows up next to the ‘+’ button once you have closed any window.
There you go folks, this is how you can use iPad’s Show All Windows feature to access multiple instances of an app and do desktop like multitasking on your tablet.
If you have any questions related to this guide, then let us know in the comments.
While Xbox Game Pass was changed from being an application to a link in Safari on iOS due to the rules of the App Store, Apple seemingly has no issue with a past version of Windows being used on their products.
Thanks to an app called iDOS, you can easily install Windows 3.1 and use your iPad like it’s 1993. There’s no restrictions on this: it’s the fully-formed operating system some will remember, which means games are also available here too.
Apple’s rules on the App Store allow for more apps with different uses every year, but running games and certain applications within an application has always been a sore topic, while media apps such as Netflix and Disney Plus have had no problem.
How to install Windows 3.1
As iDOS 2 comes with file-sharing support, this means that the installation files for Windows 3.1 can be easily dropped from the Files app, as long as you have your own copy.
Make sure all the extracted files are in a folder, and name it something that’s easy for you to type in for later.
Make sure that you have a bluetooth keyboard or keyboard case connected to the iPad, alongside a mouse, otherwise the next steps are going to be very frustrating.
Drop in this folder into the iDOS 2 directory, and go back into the app. Type in the folder name then ‘setup’, and you should be brought to a familiar screen.
Make sure to follow the steps, choosing ‘full install’, and it will try to restart the computer. However, the setup will be unsure of what to do, so close iDOS from the multitasking menu, and relaunch. Type in ‘win’, and Windows 3.1 will launch into the desktop screen.
What can you do in 1993 on your iPad?
A lot, it turns out. From the built-in game of Minesweeper to the titles of its time, you can treat this as your retro gaming PC, and try out the following:
- Duke Nukem
- SimCity 2000
- The Simpsons Cartoon Studio
While DOOM is already on iOS, Nintendo Switch, and anything else with a screen, there’s something satisfying about playing the game within the confines of how it would have been played when it was originally released.
Thanks to mouse support on the iPad, being able to install applications and even use PaintBrush is a breeze. With the refined multitasking that’s available in iPadOS 15, there’s something about multiple windows on a desktop that seems so much easier to manage on the tablet in 3.1.
Why Windows 3.1 but not Game Pass?
The obvious answer may be that Apple doesn’t see Windows 3.1 as a threat, and understandably so, unless it’s worried about the Minesweeper market. However, it does show that there’s an unwillingness from the company to simply make it easier for certain categories to get their apps in the App Store. Microsoft’s Game Pass was rejected on the grounds that every game should be its own app, and when you factor in the amount that’s available on the service, this makes no sense.
Take other categories, such as streaming movies or music, and it’s essentially the same function, just a different user interface. Imagine another timeline where you want to re-watch Loki, but Apple insisted to Disney that every show must be its own app. Granted, you could argue the case that this was once a thing 15 years ago when you would wait to buy a new episode of Lost from the iTunes Store. But you would be able to download that and own it, and you can download Loki for offline viewing. It only disappears when your membership ends.
Which makes it all the more baffling that a fully-fledged operating system from 1993 is able to be installed on an app with no issues, and has been able to for more than eight months with full mouse and keyboard support.
While keyboard and mouse support for games has been enabled for almost a year now in iPadOS, we’ve yet to see many games take advantage of this on the App Store. When you find yourself playing games such as SimCity 2000 and Indiana Jones, it makes you wonder what other games could come to the iPad.
Depending on whether Apple does give the boot to iDOS soon, it’s a geeky little time capsule of 1993, and also shows what Apple could actually do with applications on the iPad. In Apple’s case, is it finally time to concede and allow apps like Game Pass onto the store, to give the user even more choice for their tablet?
Benj Edwards is an Associate Editor for How-To Geek. For over 15 years, he has written about technology and tech history for sites such as The Atlantic, Fast Company, PCMag, PCWorld, Macworld, Ars Technica, and Wired. In 2005, he created Vintage Computing and Gaming, a blog devoted to tech history. He also created The Culture of Tech podcast and regularly contributes to the Retronauts retrogaming podcast. Read more.
One of the major features of multitasking on the iPad is called Slide Over. It lets you use a second app in a floating window above a full-screen app. It’s useful, but mastering it can be tricky. Here are some tips.
What Is Slide Over?
Slide Over is a way to multitask on the iPad. It displays a primary app in full-screen mode and secondary app in a small floating window on the left or right side of the screen. The Slide Over window can be quickly dismissed and called back when needed, making it ideal for checking information from an app quickly while working on something else.
Apple first introduced Slide Over alongside other iPad multitasking features in iOS 9, which launched in 2015. It’s available on iPad Pro or later, iPad Air or later, and iPad mini 2 or later. All iPad models currently sold by Apple support Slide Over.
Not every app supports Slide Over, but most official Apple-made apps do. Third-party developers must specifically choose to support the feature for it to work properly. There is no master list of Slide Over supported apps, so you’ll have to use trial-and-error to see if your favorite apps work with it.
What Is the Difference Between Slide Over and Split View?
iPad’s other major multitasking feature, Split View, displays two windows side by side with a black divider in the middle. It is designed for using two apps at the same time in a situation where you may need to continuously reference each one or move information from one to the other.
The main difference between Split View and Slide Over is how much screen real estate each app takes up while using multiple apps. They also differ in functionality, each being suited to different types of tasks.
How Do I Use Slide Over?
To use Slide Over, open an app. This will be your primary app that runs full screen while you place a Slide Over window on top of it. The easiest way to use an app with slide over involves dragging it from your Dock.
With the primary app you want to use already open, slowly swipe up from the bottom of the screen to open the Dock.
Find the second app you’d like to open, place your finger on its icon, and hold it for just a moment. (But not too long, or you’ll trigger a pop-up menu.) Slowly drag the icon upward off the dock toward the direction you’d like to place the Slide Over window.
After a moment, the icon will become part of a blurry rectangular box with rounded edges. Keep dragging the icon with your finger until it is located in the half of the screen where you want the Slide Over window.
Release your finger, and the new app will appear as a floating Slide Over window.
Once an app is in Slide Over mode, you can easily move it to the other side of the screen by dragging the control bar at the top of the window and repositioning it to the other side.
How Do I Hide and Recall the Slide Over Window?
Apple makes it easy to quickly dismiss a Slide Over window for instances where you might want to check an app quickly, then push it out of the way to see the main app.
If you want to temporarily hide the Slide Over window, place your finger on the control bar at the top and quickly swipe it toward the right or left edge of the screen.
When you want to check the Slide Over window again, you can recall it quickly by swiping inward from the left or right edge of the screen, depending on which side you hid it.
How to Get Rid of a Slide Over Window
To fully close a Slide Over window so that it doesn’t pop up again if you swipe on the edge of the screen, you have to do some gesture gymnastics. You’ll have to go through Split View first, which is a feature where two apps can be used side-by-side in a larger view.
First, hold your finger on the control bar at the top of the Slide Over window, then begin slowly sliding it toward either edge of the screen.
As you slide, the two windows will transform into blurred out boxes with the app icons inside of them. Keep dragging the window toward the edge of the screen.
Lift your finger at the edge of the screen, and the two apps will now be in Split View mode. You can now close the unwanted window by sliding the black partition between the two windows all the way to the edge of the screen until one window disappears.
Can I Use Split View and Slide Over at the Same Time?
Apple makes it possible to use Split View and Slide Over at the same time. Using this feature, you can have a total of three app windows on the screen at once.
To do this, start in Split View mode, then open the dock by slowly swiping upward from the bottom edge of the screen. Slowly drag the app icon (for the third app that will be in Slide Over) on top of the black partition in the middle of the screen.
To get rid of the Slide Over window, use its control bar at the top of the window to drag it to the side of the screen until it replaces one of the Split View apps. Then you can close the window by sliding the black center partition all the way to the edge of the screen until one window disappears.
Learn More About Multitasking—or Disable It Completely
Multitasking features on the iPad can be very useful and powerful if you learn to use them. They do take some practice and patience to get just right.
If you prefer to use the iPad as a single-task device or you keep bringing up extra app windows by accident, you can easily turn off Split View and Slide Over from Settings.
Solutions that put your Windows and Mac computers on your tablet, virtually
Microsoft remains on message with its “Windows everywhere” mantra, so how can iPad and Android users access Windows from their devices? Parallels Access, VMWare Horizon and Amazon Workspaces all let you access Windows from iPad Pro, compatible Android and other devices.
Tools like these are excellent for Windows users as they can access their legacy applications on their choice of mobile device while they engage in the inevitable process of upgrading their IT infrastructure for the new digital workplace.
Recently acquired by Corel, the latest edition of Parallels Access lets you run Windows on your iPad. It’s not a complete solution — you’ll still need Windows running on a remote system (Mac or PC) that is tied to your iPad for remote access.
The company also sells Parallels for Mac, which lets you run multiple operating systems in virtualization on your Apple PC.
It is of particular benefit to any iPad Pro, iPad or Mac users who seeks to access Windows applications, as it makes full use of the larger screen and provides other useful improvements, including:
- A familiar user interface on mobile for you PC apps — swipe to scroll, tap to click, pinch to zoom.
- Drag-&-drop support. 3D Touch support (also for compatible iPhones).
- Apple Pencil support.
- Support for cursor movement using the on-screen keyboard as a trackpad.
- Optimized screen resolution.
- Support for Windows 10 Tablet Mode.
- It even adds support for a mouse — more features described here.
If you become a Parallels Access subscriber you can remotely access Mac or Windows PCs through your choice of device. You can interact with apps hosted on remote computers in the same way as any apps on their iPad Pro, using familiar gestures such as touch, a pencil, or keyboards. You will need an active an Internet (or 4G) connection, and while performance is usually excellent, some applications may take a performance hit when used remotely.
One more thing: This solution provides Apple Watch integration, which lets you see and connect with remote computers from your watch.
While more challenging to figure out than Parallels, VMware’s Horizon Client offers another twist on virtualization, allowing you to run virtual VMWare Horizon Windows desktops on your device.
The solution also lets you use hosted applications, which means quite complex Windows and other software packages can be effectively used from an iPad or other supporting mobile device.
What you get:
- H.264 video encoding makes the user interface slick and demands less power.
- Unity Touch means that you handle your Windows work using familiar iOS gestures.
- If you use this solution with AirPlay, then while beaming the contents of your iPhone/iPad screen you will be able to use your device as a mouse with which to control the Windows content you see on screen.
- Highly secure, leverages smart card and biometric ID.
For a fee, Amazon Workspaces provides virtual Windows or Linux desktops, storage and applications that can be accessed by a range of different platforms online.
The service is useful because it provides a secure and virtual computing environment that can be accessed from anywhere on any device, so long as you can get online. The service supports Windows, Macs, iPads, Chrombooks, Fire and Android tablets.
It’s a good solution for enterprises needing to provision new employees, or for travellers who need desktop-like access but who don’t necessarily want to carry all their data with them as they move — no data is ever downloaded to your mobile device from this system, as all transactions take place remotely, in the cloud.
When Amazon WorkSpaces are provisioned, users receive an email providing instructions on where to download the client applications they need, and instructions on how to connect to their virtual computing system.
What you get
- A tablet-optimised desktop experience
- Support for multi-touch gestures such as pinch and zoom
- On-screen keyboard and touch-based mouse interface
- Data remains stored in the cloud – never on the device.
- HIPAA and Active directory support.
These are not the only solutions you can use to run Windows on an iPad – Microsoft itself offers its Remote Desktop app that lets you access and use your existing PC remotely.
There are other alternatives, such as Splashtop and Citrix Workspace, but the bottom line remains that it is possible – and may in some cases be preferable – to run Windows on an iPad or other mobile device.
The perfect transition solution
Solutions like these are seeing rapid adoption as Apple’s place in the enterprise continues to expand, and as more and more professional users fully embrace the iPad Pro.
It seems likely that more people will hook themselves up to virtualised PCs as the Windows 10 upgrade begins — particularly as doing so reduces the risk you take when you carry confidential data or highly proprietary apps with you. Rather than having them locally, you run them securely in virtualisation and access them from a mobile device.
That benefit is likely to be even more attractive to remote workers in the field, who can now get access to even legacy enterprise applications using their iPad, while enjoying all the other benefits of the platform.
Tim Cook often calls iPad Pro, “a replacement for a notebook or a desktop for many, many people. They will start using it and conclude they no longer need to use anything else, other than their phones.” Solutions like these support his claim.
WWDC and the future of Macs
Apple is expected to announce new Macs, iPads and its long-awaited video service over the next few months.
We’ll also see the company introduce what it has been working with on Project Marzipan, an initiative that means it will become much, much simpler to retool iOS apps in order that they run on Macs, even as speculation that it may in future power Macs with it’s own A-series chips continues.
Apple’s chips are already powerful enough to be capable of supporting desktop-class performance inside a mobile device, and this means future iterations of all Apple’s mobile products will become capable of handling increasingly sophisticated applications, further blurring the line between PC and mobile device.
Where we are now in this transition, solutions like these provide a good bridge between legacy and mobile solutions, which may be all some users need to maintain the best of both worlds while they await the best time to invest in new hardware.
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Jonny is a freelance writer who has been writing (mainly about Apple and technology) since 1999.