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Cross-app drag and drop in iOS 15: What it means and how to do it

Before iOS 15, you could only drag and drop within one app. Now you can move items quickly between apps.

iPhone 13 Pro, Sierra blue

Drag and drop makes it easier to move items between apps in iOS 15.

Stephen Shankland/CNET

Apple polished its drag and drop feature with the launch of iOS 15. Now you can drag images, text, documents and files between two apps. Previously, drag and drop would only work within a single app.  

The feature is a nice upgrade because it allows you to move photos and text between apps without having to dig through your image library a second time or retype messages. It may require a few extra fingers than you're used to using on the screen, but the time savings are worth it. Here's how drag and drop works in iOS 15.

How to use cross-app drag and drop for pictures on iPhone

1. Open the Photos app on your iPhone
2. Choose the photo you want to use
3. Press and hold the image 
4. Drag the image until it floats under your finger 
5. Use another finger to swipe up from the bottom of the screen and reveal your open app previews.
6. Hover over the app where you want to drop the image, or swipe them away to go to your home screen and open the desired app
7. Find the place in the app you want to drop the image and lift your finger  

How to cross-app drag and drop for text on the iPhone:

1. Find the text you want to drag and drop
2. Select the text, similar to how you would for the copy/paste function. 
3. Press and hold the selection.
4. Use another finger to swipe up and access your open app previews or home screen.
5. Hover over the app where you want to drop the text
6. Find the place in the app you want to drop the text and lift your finger. The cursor will help you  choose text placement.

If you're a visual learner, Frederico Viticci, editor-in-chief of MacStories, tweeted a screen recording of the process in June.

For more, check out everything to know before updating to iOS 15 and everything we didn't get in iOS 15.

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