How to Split the Screen on Your iPhone for Side-by-Side Browsing & Faster Multi-Tasking
It seems like I'm constantly switching between apps whenever I need to get something done on my iPhone. If I'm playing a game and want to change the song in the background, I have to double tap the Home button and go to the Music app. Not a difficult process, but it still forces me to leave my game to do anything else.
The iPhone can obviously handle running two applications at once, but why not give the option to share the screen between them like the latest version of Android Jelly Bean? Like so many other things on the iPhone, there is no native split-screen function, but there are a few workarounds. In this guide I'll walk you through your options weather you're willing to jailbreak, or would prefer to stick with stock iOS.
If you're not jailbroken, your options are a little more limited. There's no way to split the screen between two different apps, but there are a few ways to make multitasking a little less painful.
iBrowse Duo Mini is a really simple multitasking web browser. It lets you split the browser into two separate windows rather than using the browser's built-in tab function.
The app does just what it says, but may be a little to basic for some people. It doesn't save your history, there's no way to save images or bookmark your favorite pages, and you can't customize any settings or choose your own homepage.
Here's how it works:
It may not have the full multi-app functions many would like, but if you're just looking for a minimal multitasking browser, you can pick up iBrowse Duo Mini from the App Store for 99 cents.
iNetDual Lite is similar to iBrowse Duo, but has a few more features. The application is a browser with split-screen capabilities and built-in buttons for Wikipedia, Google and Dictionary.com for faster searching.
You can also adjust the size of each window by dragging the gray separation bar located in the middle of the browser, and it runs pretty smoothly. iNetDual Lite does support bookmarks, and has a batch download option for images.
Unlike iBrowse Duo, iNetDual Lite is free to download. The full version is $1.99 allows for a higher number of image downloads, more bookmarking options, and access to the browser history.
Mini Browser Pro is another multitasking web browser and claims to be one of the most comprehensive dual screen application available. Some of the more notable feature include unlimited windows, private browsing and full-screen mode.
The main windows will show your current page and you can access other windows by swiping to the left or right. The app also supports HTTPS and untrusted server certification support, so it's more secure than the other two already mentioned.
You can grab Mini Browser Pro in the App Store for $1.99.
If you don't want to download an app, or can't find one that fits what you want to do, AirPlay is a good workaround for multitasking. You can use your iPhone with your Apple TV or a computer to either mirror your iPhone display or stream music or video over the wireless network.
So, you could play a movie that you bought from iTunes through your TV or an external monitor and still continue to use your phone for other tasks. Same goes for music. Just sync your speakers to the same Wi-Fi network or plug them directly into an Apple Airport. Then, connect your phone's music player to the speakers and you can use your phone for anything else.
As usual, there are a few more interesting options for those with jailbroken iPhones. While there still aren't any applications that divided the screen so that I could play Temple Run 1 and 2 side-by-side, there are some cool non-browser alternatives.
Activator is a must-have app for anyone with a jailbroken iPhone. You can find the free application by searching for it in the Cydia store. Activator gives jailbreakers the option to create custom functions for all their apps and phone actions.
For example, instead of having to switch out of one application to change the song or access your camera, you can designate a specific action to do just that. So, if I'm playing Plants vs. Zombies and I need to change that Justin Bieber song, I can assign the next song function to the volume key (or any other button) using Activator so I don't have to switch to the Music app.
Multifl0w is another great Cydia app for multitaskers. It's the most viable option for those looking to interact with multiple apps at the same time. If you're a Mac user, the style is very similar to the Expose feature available on Snow Leopard and earlier. Multifl0w can open up all applications that you're currently running and you can select or interact with an individual item.
You can download Multifl0w from the the Cyida store for $4.99. You will also need to install Backgrounder, which is free. Multifl0w is optimized for the iPhone 4 and iOS 4.0.1, but support for iOS 5 was added a while back. Check out the video below to see Multifl0w in action.
CardSwitcher 2.0 is very similar to Multifl0w as it allows jailbreakers to receive live updates on up to four applications at once. You can load up a Safari webpage and activate the switcher to access your Facebook app without interrupting any of the webpage loading. CardSwitcher 2.0 utilizes gestures to close and switch applications. It has been tested on iOS 5 and is available in the Big Boss Repo for $1.99.
Here it is in action.
Do you know any other apps or hacks to split the screen on the iPhone? Let us know in the comments section below.