Apple has now released iPadOS 15 to the public, which comes with enhancements to the iPad’s multitasking system. Unfortunately, iPadOS still doesn’t support true multitasking like macOS does, but now users can take the iPad experience to the next level with the Shiftscreen app, which features multi-window navigation and true external monitor support.
Shiftscreen is not exactly a new app, but it has been completely rewritten to take advantage of the latest technologies built into iPadOS. Developed by Yannik Schrade (who’s also behind Flex Widgets), the app focuses on solving one of the main issues of the iPad, which is the lack of a true multi-window system like in a desktop operating system.
iPad does offer multitasking capabilities, but they’re basically restricted to opening two apps side by side and a third app in a floating window. And if you want to plug your iPad into an external monitor to use it as a computer, the experience won’t be the best since iPadOS doesn’t support different resolutions or aspect ratios.
Based on an API that lets apps take full advantage of an external monitor, the new Shiftscreen brings a multi-window experience to the iPad. The main idea of the app is to provide new ways of web browsing, since it cannot actually access system features to force other iPad apps to run in windows.
Users can open as many windows as they want, and rearrange them as they like — just as on a Mac or Windows PC. In addition to the web browser, Shiftscreen comes with some bundled web and mini apps, such as Calculator, PDF reader, and even Slack.
Although you can use the app directly on your iPad, it really shines when you connect it to an external monitor. This is because it runs in native resolution rather than simply replicating the iPad’s screen. The result is a true computer experience on iPad, especially when you also have a keyboard and mouse connected.
I’ve been testing Shiftscreen for a few days now and it does indeed work as promised. Even though it only works with websites and web apps, it does improve the iPad experience. Another great thing about the app is that it lets you use another iPad app in multitasking mode, so you can also interact with different apps on your iPad screen and external monitor.
It’s also worth noting that it works with both HDMI cable and AirPlay, which is great for when you don’t have a cable or adapter nearby.
“Shiftscreen 4X” is now available on the App Store for $7.99. There are no subscriptions or any in-app purchases, you just buy it and it’s ready to use. The app works with any iPad model running iPadOS 14 or later, and it also works with iPhone.
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