iOS 8's secret split-screen shown off in developer video

A new video shows the secret split-screen option buried inside iOS 8 that could put two apps side-by-side on your iPad.

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
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Richard Trenholm
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An app developer shows off the two-finger gesture to shrink an iOS app into split-screen mode. Steve Troughton-Smith/YouTube

A secret split-screen option hidden in Apple's iOS 8 has been leaked in a new video.

App developer Steve Troughton-Smith posted the video showing how an app can be resized to take up a smaller portion of the screen. Catchily titled "UISimulatedApplicationResizeGestureEnabled," the footage shows the developer changing the size of an app by dragging it to one side with two fingers (the dots on the screen). The app can take up a quarter of the screen, half the screen, or three-quarters of the screen.

The relevant code is contained inside Apple's iOS 8 software development kit (SDK). iOS 8 is the latest version of Apple's mobile software for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, unveiled on 2 June at annual developer conference WWDC in San Francisco.

Just because the code is in the SDK doesn't mean it'll make it to the final release: split-screen multitasking wasn't mentioned in the WWDC presentation. Fingers crossed it will be included in iOS 8 when the software is released to the public in Autumn.

Although the video doesn't show a second app in the remaining space, the split-screen option should enable you to put two apps side-by-side, so you can look at them at the same time.

So if someone sends you a message asking to meet, you could check your calendar and reply with a suggested time without having to leave the messaging app. You could look at the website for a restaurant and see where it is on a map at the same time. Or you could read your messages, check out a website or play a game without interrupting a FaceTime chat.

The split screen option would be especially useful for business users. Multitasking options would be another weapon in Apple's arsenal for marketing the iPad to businesses, IT departments, and workers looking to make the most of the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend for using your own smartphone or tablet for work.

Apple iOS 8 at WWDC 2014 (pictures)

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Microsoft's Windows 8 and Google's Android software already support split-screen multitasking. The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 , for example, enables you to have two apps side-by-side, or have an app appear as a small window hovering above another app.