How to use Hot Corners and Work Spaces on iPad to stay productive

Using Hot Corners and work spaces on your iPad may make your tablet feel more like a Mac.

Apple, iOS, iPad OS, Mac, iOS 13, Productivity, Mouse, tips
Leif Johnson/IDG

If you use a mouse with your iPad, then using Hot Corners and work spaces on your tablet may make it feel as if you are using some kind of Mac — which should be useful if you are working from home and only have your iPad with you.

What are Hot Corners and Work Spaces?

As it does on all its platforms, Apple continues to pump powerful productivity tools into iPad OS.

The latest edition of the operating system provides support for external storage devices over USB-C, limited support for external mice (including Bluetooth mice), Hot Corners and work spaces.

If you’ve used Hot Corners on a Mac, then you’ll be familiar with the concept: you can set your system up to automatically do things for you simply by swiping your cursor (or Switch Control) into the corner of your screen.

Work Spaces is another useful feature. It lets you twin apps together in windows on your iPad. You might create a research window containing Twitter and Safari, for example, or Safari and your choice of RSS reader. You may find that Zoom and Messages work well together as your collaborative space. It’s easy to enter full-screen mode for any of these pairs, or to create new combinations.

So, how do you use these features?

How to use Work Spaces on iPad

Work Spaces aren’t new — they’ve been around since iOS 11, which introduced a host of helpful multitasking features to Apple tablets. (These included the new multitasking view and improvements to Slide Over and Split Screen.)

To use Work Spaces you must:

  1. Tap the first app you want to use in a pair.
  2. Swipe up from the bottom of the iPad display to raise the Dock.
  3. Find the icon for the app you want to pair with the already open app and drag it up to the left- or right-hand side of the screen.
  4. Drop the app into the space that appears. You may need to move the dividing line between the two apps to split the window equally.
  5. Tap the Home button, or swipe up the bar at the bottom of the screen to return to your Home screen.
  6. Repeat this process for each pair of apps you want to make (though most apps will only operate in one pair at a time).

To review all these app partnerships, just double-tap the Home button, or swipe up the bar at the bottom of the screen to see all your active apps.

You’ll find your twinned apps available as a space there; just tap to enter.

[ Also read: 12+ essential iPad productivity tips ]

What do I use this for?

As you might imagine, I do a great deal of research. When I do so, I find it invaluable to use Safari and Twitter in a single window.

When I want to write I’ll switch to a different pair, in this case Word and Safari with the Music app as a Slide Over window.

This whole effect comes into its own when you use your iPad with an external display, by the way, creating a more Mac-like working environment in which to get things done.

How to use Hot Corners on iPad

Hot Corners are a recent addition to what you can persuade your iPad to do for you.

Support for the feature was introduced as an Accessibility option.

To get to the feature open Accessibility > Touch and then tap AssistiveTouch, after which you should scroll down the page to find Hot Corners.

Tap the relevant corner control, and you’ll find literally dozens of actions you can configure buttons for, including such tasks as returning to the Home screen, opening apps, holding and dragging items, taking a screenshot, restarting your iPad, accessing Spotlight and (I think most useful) Siri Shortcuts and quickly launching Spotlight search.

I’ve got a couple of Siri Shortcuts I use quite often (such as text translation), and I find it useful to be able to invoke these from within whatever application I’m in, but with such a vast number of options to choose from, I’m sure you’ll find something to improve your workflow.

This is particularly useful if you are using your iPad in a mouse and external display configuration, as it lets you get some tasks done without the need to tap, enabling you to keep your fingers on the keyboard as if you were using a proper computer.

Which, dear reader, you actually are.

Where to get even more help to use your iPad to get things done

I do hope these two little tips help you get more from your iPad. Please also explore my extensive six-part guide to how to use your iPad as a laptop replacement:

Please follow me on Twitter, or join me in the AppleHolic’s bar & grill and Apple Discussions groups on MeWe.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

Bing’s AI chatbot came to work for me. I had to fire it.
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