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How to Enhance Productivity in iOS 11 for iPad


iOS is a relatively young operating system. The iPad experience though gaining momentum with every release, is also criticised for not getting much attention from Apple. 

At this year’s WWDC keynote event, Apple announced the eleventh major version of its mobile operating system, iOS 11. It includes a number of improvements across the board, but with significant emphasis on iPad. 

In this tutorial, I’ll show you:

  • New features incorporated in iOS 11, especially for iPad
  • How to make use of these features to enhance your productivity

Note—for this tutorial, I’ve used iPad 5th generation with iOS 11 public beta 2 and 3. It is possible that the software will improve as the beta progress and features may change towards the final release. 

iOS 11 Compatibility

For iPad, iOS 11 is compatible with:

  • iPad mini 2, 3, and 4
  • iPad 5th generation
  • iPad Air and Air 2
  • 9.7 inch iPad Pro
  • 10.5 inch iPad Pro
  • 12.9 inch iPad Pro 1st and 2nd generation

Not all iPads have same multitasking capabilities. According to the Apple Developer Documentation

  • iPad mini 2, 3, and iPad Air can’t use true Split View, instead they’ll be able to pull over a single Slide Over
  • iPad mini 4 and all supported 9.7 inch iPads use the compact size class (iPhone style UI) when going into Split View, and both can stay in focus. If you bring up another Slide Over and PiP, then only one view will stay in focus
  • 10.5 inch iPad Pro use the compact size class (iPhone style UI) when going into Split View, and both can stay in focus. If you bring up another Slide Over and PiP, all views will stay in focus
  • 12.9 inch use the regular size class (iPad style UI) when going into Split View, and both can stay in focus. If you bring up another Slide Over and PiP, all views will stay in focus

Managing Files With the Files app

The new Files app gives users a central space to browse, search, and organise files—including files on an iPad, within other apps, iCloud Drive, OS X Server, and third-party services such as Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive

They all live separately in their own Locations folder, and as of iOS 11 public beta 3 they don’t yet mingle together. 

There are two sections of the Files app. 

On the left, you’ll see the list of sources. 

  • On My iPad list all the files and folders on the iPad. 
  • iCloud Drive list all the files and folders on the iCloud
  • Recently Deleted list all the files and folders you can search, delete and recover (also Recover All or Delete All)

Click the Edit button on the top to add or remove a section. Drag the handle to re-arrange the sections. You’ll also notice that Files app replaces the need for iCloud app.

source location of the Files app
Source locations of the Files app. Grab the edit handle to re-arrange sections

On the right, you’ll see the list of all the files and folders in each cloud service. When you swipe down in a folder, you’ll see options to create a new folder and sort files by name, date, size, and tag. 

By default, you’ll see files and folders in a grid view. Tap the List View button to reveal more options—file size, modified date, and a shortcut to download that file or folder. 

On the right top, you’ll see a persistent Search bar to find the files you need quickly.

create and sort files and folders in the Files app
Create and sort folders and files in the Files app

The Files also lets you add Favourites and Tags to any file or folder in the app. These tags makes it easier to find documents without having to constantly organise them into folders; they’re similar to the Finder tagging system in macOS

To add a tag, press and hold the file or folder. From the menu, click Tags and then choose the tag label of your choice.

add tags to the folder in Files app
Add tags to the folders in Files app

In the Files app you can drag and drop a file from one folder to another. You can move multiple files. Tap and hold the file with one finger until it pops out from its original place.

Using another hand select and tap different files. Now, go to another folder and release your finger to drop the files there. 

When you tap on a file or folder, a contextual menu will appear. Through this menu you can copy, create a duplicate copy, rename, move, add a favorite or tag, delete, and share that file or folder.

popover menu over file and folder
Popover menu over file and folder in the Files app.

Click the Share option and under Action Extension click Add People. Invite people to collaborate with you on that file or folder. As of now, it seems that you can invite people to share, but they can’t edit the document.

collaborate file with others in the Files app
Collaborate file with others in the Files app

Dock and Multitasking

In iOS 11, Dock has a new floating design and lives along the bottom of your home screen. It has three new features—you can pin more apps to the Dock, drag and drop apps and folders, and intelligently suggest up to three recently used apps. 

To disable recent apps, open Settings, tap General > Multitasking and toggle Show Recents to off.

disable recent apps in Dock
Disable Recent apps in the Dock

The Dock is omnipresent even in apps. Swipe up from the bottom of the screen in any app to bring Dock, drag the app to open in Slide Over mode, or enter Split View

Multitasking has undergone a thorough revision in iOS 11. On iPad, multitasking lets you use two apps at once in Slide Over, Split View, App Switcher, or Picture in Picture mode. 

To enter Slide Over, open the first app you’d like to use. Swipe up from the bottom of the screen to pull up Dock, and drag the app you want to use onto the left or right side of the screen. 

A single Slide Over will appear. You can move the Slide Over panel to either side of the screen, so you’re not limited to single side.

slide over in iOS 11
Slide Over in iOS 11

To turn that Slide Over panel into a Split View screen, drag down the top edit handle to pull the app into Split View mode. Then adjust the vertical handle to change the sizing of each panel. In Split View you can split the two app in three ways:

  • 50–50: each app takes up the exact same space
  • 25–75: The app on the left takes 25% of the screen, with the right app taking up 75%
  • 75–25: The app on the left takes 75% of the screen, with the right app taking up 25%
split view in iOS 11
Split View mode in iOS 11

You can swap the second app in Split View with different one. To exit Split View, drag the edit handle all the way to the left or right side of the screen to have one of the two apps take over the entire part of the screen. 

To bring up App Switcher, swipe up from the bottom of the screen or use a four-finger swipe upward to access App Switcher. In iOS 11, App Switcher squishes App Spaces and Control Center together and traditionally replace both iOS multitasking view and grey vertical scrolling space when swapping apps in Split View in iOS 10.

app switcher mode in iOS 11
App Switcher mode in iOS 11

And like in previous iOS, the eleventh version supports all the multi-finger gesture 

  • Four-finger later swipe to switch between apps
  • Four-finger upward swipe to bring up App Switcher
  • Four-finger pinch to return to the home screen
  • One-finger drag to hide Picture-in-Picture
  • Two-finger pinch to adjust the Picture-in-Picture mode

Drag-and-Drop Items

Drag and Drop uses a touch-and-hold based multitouch interface to let you move or copy selected content from a source location to destination. They work both within the same apps and across multiple apps. It supports multiple simultaneous drag activities—as many as your finger can handle. You can drag-and-drop either a single or multiple items. 

Note: With iOS 11 Public Beta 3, drag and drop mainly works with Apple’s apps such as Notes, Mail, Safari, Files, Photos, Reminders and more. After the iOS 11 release, third-party apps will add support for this feature. Also, drag-and-drop always results in duplication, not movement, of content. 

There are many ways to use drag-and-drop. To illustrate we’ll drag a photo from the Photos app to another app. Open the Photos app. Tap and hold the image until it pops out of its original place. 

Now you have three options:

Press the Home button using your other finger while still holding on the image. Locate the app in which you want to drop the content. If the app is in the home screen, hover the image over to the app. 

For example: drag and drop a photo to a particular note in the Notes app. The moment you head into the app, a + will appear at the border of the content.

drag the image to homescreen
Drag the image to the homescreen. Hover the image over the app to drop the image

Assuming you’re holding onto the image, double tap the Home button to bring App Switcher. From this screen go the Notes app and drop the image to a note.

drop the image from app switcher
Drop the image in App Switcher mode

Assuming you’re holding onto the image, swipe up from the bottom of the screen to bring up Dock. Hover the image onto the app and drop the image.

drop the image onto dock
Drop the image onto Dock. Hover the image onto app to drop the image

The above options work well if you’ve to use this feature only for single content. At times when you’re researching you might want to drag-and-drop multiple types of content such as text, links, files, and images onto another app. 

This is possible by opening two apps side-by-side. For example: open Safari app on one side and Notes app on the other side. Now drag-and-drop links, text, images to the Notes app.

drop text in Split screen view
Drop text in Split Screen View

In the same way, you can drag-and-drop multiple items from one app to another. To illustrate we’ll drag multiple photos from the Photos app to another app. 

Open the Photos app. Tap and hold the image until it pops out of its original place. While dragging select additional pictures by tapping them with another finger. 

The selected items move together and appear stacked beneath the finger. Now drop them to another app of your choice. For example: drag-and-drop multiple photos to the Mail app. You can also drag-and-drop multiple items by methods described above.

drag and drop multiple images
Drag and drop multiple images onto the Mail app

Drag-and-Drop is useful in many ways. You can open Split View in Safari with the use of drag-and-drop. Tap and hold on any link until the drag-and-drop box appears. Then drag the link to the edge of the screen, you’ll notice a gap between the edge of the Safari and edge of the screen. Drop the link and it will open in Split View window.

Open split view in Safari in iOS 11
Open Split View in Safari through drag and drop

You can share addresses from the Maps with the use of drag-and-drop. Search for the location, tap and hold on the location address. Swipe up from the bottom of the screen to bring up Dock and head into the Mail app to share it.

drag and drop location address
Drag and drop location address

Taking Screenshots and Record Video

In iOS 11 the process of capturing and saving screenshot has been completely revamped. You’ll notice two new features—a Screenshots Album located in the Photos app and the Screenshots floating feature. 

When you take a screenshot, the snap minimises into the bottom-left corner, or when you take multiple screenshots in a quick succession, the snaps accumulate like a stack of coins.

stack of screenshots in iOS 11
Stack of Screenshots in iOS 11 located in the bottom left corner

From here, you can choose any one of the options:

  • Swipe the snap to reject the screenshot, it’ll not save itself in the Photos app
  • When you leave the snap for few seconds, it will disappear and save itself into the Photos app
  • When you long press the snap, Share Sheet will appear. This way you can share that snap with other apps
share sheet over a snap
Share sheet over a snap to share screenshot directly to other apps
  • Tap the snap to enter Markup mode, where you can make edits to the screenshot with various markup tools and save it to the Photos app. Crop the image, add shapes, text, signature, and more. When you tap Done, you can either save the screenshot to the Photos library or delete them entirely.
edit screenshot in iOS 11
You can edit screenshot easily in iOS 11 without the need of third party apps

Screen recording is now in-built in the Control Center, you don’t have to rely on third-party apps anymore. 

To enable screen recording, launch the Settings app and tap Control Center. Tap Customize Controls and then tap the green plus button next to Screen Recording. Grab the handle to arrange the Screen Recording button right at the top.

enable screen recording in the control center
Enable screen recording in the Control Center

With shortcut added, swipe up from the bottom of the iOS device screen and tap the Screen Recording button. 

It will begin a 3–2–1 countdown to give you a chance to dismiss Control Center and then button will turn red to show that it’s now recording the screen. You’ll also see a blue bar at the top of the screen as an indicator that the recording is going on. 

At the bottom of the Screen Recording button is a toggle to switch on and off the microphone audio. Tap the Microphone Audio button to turn audio recording on, then tap Start Recording.

screen recording in iOS 11
Screen recording in iOS 11

Once you stop the recording, the video gets saved to the Photos app > Camera Roll. You can then view, edit, and share the recording normally the way you do for videos. 

Markup and Save PDF files in Safari

In iOS 11 you can save webpages, notes, and other files as PDFs right in Safari

When you view a web article, note, or similar file, tap the Share Sheets icon. In the Action Extension row tap Markup as PDF.

markup pdf files in safari
Markup PDF files in Safari

You’ll see a preview of the PDF file. From this screen, tap the Pencil icon in the top-right corner to add notes and highlights to the file. When you’ve finished with the markup, tap Done and choose Save File To… > Files app.

add notes to pdf files in Safari
Add notes to pdf file in Safari


iOS 11 brought a number of new features on the iPad. The new features include—Files app to manage files, makeover of multitasking including Slide Over, Split View, and App Switcher, Drag and Drop, Screenshot capture and workflow, Screen recording, and annotate PDF right in Safari

In this tutorial, I’ve covered all the new features and shown you how to use them to increase productivity.

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