How to Get Rid of Split Screen on iPad & iPhone (UPDATED FOR iOS 12)

Split screen on the iPad and iPhone can be very useful, but there are times when you might want to disable the feature on one or all of your devices. In this article we'll teach you how to get rid of the iPad split screen by turning off the feature in the settings app in iOS 12. We'll also cover how to turn off split screen on your iPhone. Read on to learn all about how to enable and disable split screen on your iOS 12 devices.

The above video is a preview of an iPhone Life Insider Daily Video Tip

Master your iPhone in one minute a day:

Sign up to iPhone Life's Tip of the Day Newsletter and we'll send you a tip each day to save time and get the most out of your iPhone or iPad.

What’s the Difference Between Split Screen on iPhone VS. iPad?

Split Screen operations aren't quite the same on the iPad and iPhone. For instance, to utilize your extra screen space on your iPhone, you can activate split screen by turning your iPhone on its side. This automatically activates landscape mode and allows your iPhone’s display to feature more content on a single screen. Common apps that use split screen on iPhone include Mail, Calendar, Messages, Stocks, Reminders, Voice Memos, Contacts, Settings, and Clock.

With iOS 12, you can open multiple apps on your iPad and work in those apps simultaneously with the split screen feature. While split screen on an iPhone and split screen on an iPad carry the same name, they are very different. On the iPhone, you can’t open multiple apps. You’re simply using the display space to show more information within one active app. On the iPad, you can have Safari open on the left side of your screen while taking notes in Notes on the right side. There is no option, currently, to use iPhone split screen in the same way as the iPad split screen. But what you can do is turn off split screen on the iPad or iPhone.

How to Turn Off Split Screen on iPad

Split View is enabled by default on the iPad. To utilize the feature, you can drag an app from your dock to the right or left edge of your screen to open the app on a portion of the screen. If you have multiple apps open and want to close one without turning off the Split Screen or Multitasking functions in settings, you can return to a full-screen view of a single app by dragging the edge of the app you want to remove to the edge of the screen.

If, however, by “getting rid of split screen on iPad” you mean turning the feature off completely, that’s something you can do in Settings. To turn off split screen on the iPad:

  • Open the Settings app on your iPad.
  • Tap General.
  • Select Multitasking & Dock.

  • Toggle off Allow Multiple Apps.

With this setting turned off, you won’t be able to use slide over or split screen on your iPad. If you later decide you want to use the feature again, simply toggle Allow Multiple Apps back on.

Want to learn more about multitasking on iPad? Check out our complete guide.

How to Get Rid of Split Screen in Safari on iPad

Using split screen in Safari on iPad was a new multitasking feature for iOS 10 that continues in iOS 12. This allows you to open two separate Safari web pages simultaneously on your iPad. To start, open Safari on the iPad. You can then open a second Safari tab in split screen in one of four ways:

  • Tap and hold a link; select Open in Split View.
  • Tap Command+N on an external hardware keyboard to invoke Split View.
  • Drag a tab from its space to either the left or right side of the screen to open it in split screen.
  • Tap and hold the icon that opens your tabs view in Safari. It looks like two overlapping squares. When you tap and hold, options will pop-up. Select Open Split View.

But what if you want to get rid of split screen in Safari? What if you’re done using the two tabs—how do you turn split screen on the iPad off? To close split screen in Safari on your iPad, you can do one of the following things:

  • Drag the tab(s) from one of the screens to the other. Once the last tab has been dragged to the opposite side, Safari will return to full screen, which will turn off split screen.

  • Or, you can tap and hold the tabs icon, which looks like two overlapping squares. Then select Merge All Tabs. This will merge all your Safari tabs back into a single window, which gets rid of split screen.

Related: How to Use Depth of Field (Bokeh Effect) on iPhone 8 Plus

Split Screen on the iPhone & How to Turn it Off

While split screen on the iPad allows you to have multiple apps open, split screen on the iPhone simply allows you to utilize the extra screen space to display more information. For example, the Mail app on Mac shows two columns, one with the list of emails and the second showing the email that’s open. When you turn an iPhone Plus or Max model on its side, opening landscape mode, you see the Mail app on iPhone the same way you would on Mac. Some people like the use of this extra screen space, but you can also choose to turn off split screen on iPhone. Check out some of the split screen examples below, then we’ll go over how to get rid of it everywhere at once.

Mail

Split view in Mail on iPhone allows you to read emails while looking at your Inbox. If you love Mail on your iPad or Mac, you'll appreciate split screen on iPhone. Unlike the rest of the apps we use as examples, you can turn off the split screen view in Mail.

  • If you prefer to see only the open email, tap the full screen icon in the upper right of the email and the split screen view will disappear. 

  • Tap the name of the inbox in the upper left corner to return to split view.

Calendar

Split screen in the Calendar app on iPhone shows you your daily, weekly, or monthly schedule and event details simultaneously. There is no way to turn off split screen within the Calendar app.

Messages 

Similar to Mail, Messages shows you your list of messages and the current one you're replying to in landscape mode. There is no way to turn off split screen within the Messages app.

This feature is only available on Plus sized iPhones or the XS and XS Max.

To turn off split screen on the iPhone:

If you'd like turn off all instances of split view then you can turn off the split view feature by following the steps below. Keep in mind that you will also lose other features like the landscape-oriented home screen and the extra buttons on your keyboards, but it will turn split screen off in all of your apps.

  • Open the Settings app.
  • Tap Display & Brightness.
  • Select View.

  • Tap Zoomed at the top.

  • Select Set.

  • Confirm Use Zoomed. The message will inform you that changing the display will restart your iPhone.

Once your iPhone has restarted you should no longer see the split screen in your apps. Instead you will see one big window when you hold your iPhone horizontally.

Master your iPhone in one minute a day: Sign up here to get our FREE Tip of the Day delivered right to your inbox.

Jim Karpen holds a Ph.D. in literature and writing, and has a love of gizmos. His doctoral dissertation focused on the revolutionary consequences of digital technologies and anticipated some of the developments taking place in the industry today. Jim has been writing about the Internet and technology since 1994 and has been using Apple's visionary products for decades.