Using iOS 9 Split View for Productivity

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I’ve been trying out a few different iOS 9 enabled workflows on my iPad, and one of the ideas I stumbled upon was maintaining an always-on Split View app. The choice of this app would is very important, of course. One of the major advantages of working on the iPad has long been the one–app–at–a–time approach. The iPad is supposed to just become whatever musical keyboard, game, or writing machine you want it to be…and the rest is supposed to fade away. That effect is reduced by the presence of a Split View app on my Air 2, and that case is especially evident if the Split View app is dynamic in nature.

Distracting Split View Apps

I quickly found that certain apps just shouldn’t be docked to the side of my screen if I want to get any work done. iMessage, Tweetbot, and Mail are the biggest culprits. I like having these on while chatting with friends, but not during regular work hours. Any app whose content can move dynamically, without any user interaction, gets very distracting very quickly.

Productive Split View Apps

Notes works so well in Split View that I really, really want to be able to use it as my primary note-taking app. It’s just the weird skeuomorphic texture and the lack of any proper importing options (for all of my existing notes) that kill that idea for me. However, it’s tough to beat the utility of having a bullet-point layout in Notes while drafting my post in iA Writer. This is the integration I had wanted out of Writer Pro’s Notes mode, and I have it now in iOS 9. I’d love to use Evernote as a Split View app, but that capability isn’t here yet.

2Do is also a great candidate for Split View. I try not to keep more than 5–7 tasks in a given day, and having my priorities right beside me at all times has been very handy. There’s a bit of a bug with 2Do at the moment, though. Adding a task in the small Split View works well enough, but I always end up having to swipe right to view my list again.

It Should Only Get Better From Here!

There are still some outliers that don’t support Split View yet. I mentioned Evernote earlier, but one really curious omission is Apple’s own Music app. Why the heck doesn’t that support Split View, exactly? I don’t really miss this app because I’d probably find it distracting every time the album art switched with a song change, but it mystifies me that Apple’s very own Music app is still lacking Split View support.

I really do think it can only get better from here, though. We might even start to see iPad apps that are designed to be used as small Split View apps, instead of larger split-screen apps.

Working more in Split View also has made me appreciate the idea of the iPad Pro more. I still think that the hardware of the Pro is far, far ahead of the software, but running a Split View app on an iPad Pro will likely have a negligible effect on the screen space available to the main app (on the left-hand side).

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