iOS 11 Demo Highlights Potential for Drag and Drop on iPad

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During this week’s Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple revealed a collection of iPad-specific abilities coming to iOS 11, including a new customizable dock that can be accessed from within any app, a Files app, a new app switcher, and support for drag and drop.

With the first beta of iOS 11 currently in the hands of developers, a few specific examples of what’s possible with the much-anticipated drag and drop feature have been causing excitement online.



The short video above demonstrates a possible use case in Safari in particular. The clip shows how the user can now long-press on a URL address in the Safari search bar and drag it to the right-hand side of the screen to duplicate the Safari window in Split View mode. Another action demonstrations the ability to drag a hyperlink on a web page and drop it on the + icon at the top right of the Safari toolbar to instantly open a new tab showing the linked page.

A similar hyperlink drag is then drawn over to the Bookmarks icon at the top left of the screen, but this time the user holds onto the link and is able to navigate to their Reading List and store the link there for later referral.

Lastly, the same action is performed on a web-hosted file link, dragging it to the right of the screen to open the download link in another Safari window in Split View. With the hosted file selected with one finger, the user then uses the finger of another hand to invoke the new iPad dock with a swipe up from the bottom of the screen. Continuing with multitouch, he then drags the File app icon up to the right to open the last-viewed Documents sub-folder, and simply drops the selected file into it with his other finger.

Developers are still experimenting with the potential of drag and drop on iPad, but it’s safe to assume that with support for multi-select and spring-loading, the possibilities for various workflows are far-reaching. For instance, another developer has discovered that it is possible to drag up to four different stacks of objects from various apps using four fingers on one hand in order to drop them all into a single Notes sheet.

Drag and drop on iPhone appears to be limited at this stage in iOS 11 in developer beta testing, with the majority of related features restricted to iPad, but it’s possible that some aspects could come across to the smaller screen if Apple feels they’re practicable.

The public beta of iOS 11 is expected to be released later this month, with the final version coming in the fall.

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