The Best Drag and Drop Apps for iPads Running iOS 11
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iOS 11 brought a big change to the iPad 11 Ways iOS 11 Makes Your iPad Even Better 11 Ways iOS 11 Makes Your iPad Even Better iOS 11 is the first version of iOS in history that's mostly iPad-centric. Better still, the new features work across most iPads both old and new! Read More . It’s almost like Apple’s tablet has been reborn. The new Dock Use iOS 11's iPad Dock for Better Multitasking and App Switching Use iOS 11's iPad Dock for Better Multitasking and App Switching The iPad Dock, new in iOS 11, is modeled after the Mac Dock. This feature makes multitasking on your iPad easier and more fun—here's how to use it. Read More makes it really easy to switch between apps, while Split View multitasking finally makes sense. But what takes the cake is the addition of drag and drop apps.

This seemingly simple feature removes some of the biggest frustrations we had with iPad and takes it closer to being a “real” computer. The ability to quickly and easily transfer data from one app to another is a huge productivity booster.

How Drag and Drop Apps Work in iOS 11

Drag and Drop in iOS 11 is an evolution of the desktop functionality. In the PC world, all you have is a single pointer. On the iPad, you can use all of your fingers. This makes for some very interesting use cases. First of all, you can hold something with one finger while you’re picking up something else or navigating around.

There are three main parts of the drag and drop interaction on iOS 11:

  • Pick: Tap and hold on any element (text or media) and you’ll see it lift up. This means you can pick this content up.
    iPad iOS 11 Drag and Drop Apps 1
  • Drag: Once the content is hovering, move your finger and you’ll notice that it’s now docked to where your finger is. You can use another finger to pick multiple elements and they’ll all join the deck below your finger.
    iPad iOS 11 Drag and Drop Apps 6
  • Drop: Navigate to the other app or the screen where you want to send the media to and just release your finger to transfer the content.
    iPad iOS 11 Drag and Drop Apps 7

Use a Shelf App Like Gladys

The concept of an always-there shelf in iOS came from Federico Viticci’s iOS 11 concept. While that wish didn’t come true, the new implementation of the Slide Over feature makes a version of the Shelf possible.

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When you’re working in multiple apps, it doesn’t make sense to keep switching apps to copy and paste individual content over and over again. Instead, if there was something like a shelf, you could add drag in content to the shelf and then pick it off at any later point.

There are multiple shelf apps on the App Store but you should start with Gladys.

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Start by putting Gladys in Slide Over mode. Open an app, then swipe up to see the Dock (or search in Spotlight The Most Useful Smart Keyboard Tips and Tricks for iPad Pro The Most Useful Smart Keyboard Tips and Tricks for iPad Pro In its own right, the iPad Pro is a great productivity machine. Add a Smart Keyboard and you can take things to a whole new level. Read More ) and drag the Gladys app over the app that’s currently open. Gladys will open in a floating window on the right. Swipe on the handle at the top to push it off the screen.

Tap and hold on something to select it (you can pick up multiple items), then swipe in from the right edge to bring back Gladys. Drop the files on the Gladys app area. The next time you slide in Gladys, your files will be all there. Tap and hold to select, drag them out and drop them in the app you want.

iOS 11 Files App

iOS 11 Files App How to Use 1

The new Files app in iOS 11 How to Use iOS 11's New Files App on iPhone and iPad How to Use iOS 11's New Files App on iPhone and iPad iOS has a new new Files app that finally lets you manage your files on the iPhone and iPad, and in true Apple style it's done without exposing any kind of system functionality. Read More is a playground for drag and drop. You can pick up any file or folder, select multiple files, and drop it into another folder with ease. You can also drag items to the Favorites section in the sidebar. Drag files on to any tag in the sidebar to automatically assign it.

Bear

Apple Notes is great How to Use Apple's Powerful New Notes Features in iOS 11 How to Use Apple's Powerful New Notes Features in iOS 11 Notes has received its fair share of useful new features in iOS 11, so here's how to use them. Read More but Bear is better. If you’re looking for a more feature rich alternative to Apple’s note-taking app, you should consider adopting Bear. It’s built for the modern iOS and macOS ecosystem and it gets the fundamentals right.

The app offers minimal writing environment, with all the helpful formatting and text manipulation features you’d expect from a modern note taking app (and, of course, it supports Markdown Learning Markdown: Write For The Web, Faster Learning Markdown: Write For The Web, Faster Markdown is the best way to write in plain text but still create complex documents. Unlike HTML or LaTex, for example, Markdown is simple to learn. Read More ).

Chief among which is Bear’s own take on iOS 11’s drag and drop features. The simple stuff works. You can drag in any text, image or link into Bear and it will show up in the note with a rich preview.

But you can do a lot more with drag and drop right inside Bear. When you select a note (or multiple notes), a new Bear Bar will show up at the bottom. Drop them on the Bear Bar and you’ll get a list of actions you can choose from. Trash the notes, move them, pin them or export them in any format of your choice.

1Password

1Password is the best password management app for iOS and macOS. Unlike other password management services, you can choose to store the encrypted vault file locally or on your personal cloud storage account. This severely reduces the risk of online hacks.

1Password iOS 11 Drag and Drop

1Password on iPad supports the new Slide Over view and drag and drop. The next time you need to enter a password in an app or a website, bring over 1Password the Slide Over view, find the login, and just drag and drop the username and password in the relative fields. The beautiful thing about this interaction is that it works everywhere.

Zipped ($0.99)

Zipped is a really cool archiving utility How to Open ZIPs and Other Compressed Archives on iPhone & iPad How to Open ZIPs and Other Compressed Archives on iPhone & iPad Your iPhone already has basic support for .ZIP files built into iOS, but if you want to perform more complex operations, you’re going to need a third-party app. Read More that fills in the gap left open by the Files app. You can use it along with the Files app to quickly zip and unzip files and folders. The app is interface free and works primarily using drag and drop.

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Open the app in Split View next to the Files app. Select multiple files and drop them over at the Zipped app. The app will ask you where you want the archive to show up. Select the location in the Files app and in a couple of seconds the zipped file will show up. To unzip a file, just drag it over to the Zipped app to start the process.

Email Apps

Chances are, your favorite email app has been updated to support drag and drop. Spark, our favorite iOS email app Why You Should Be Using Spark to Manage Your Mail on iPhone & Mac Why You Should Be Using Spark to Manage Your Mail on iPhone & Mac Spark is a new breed of email app, one that organizes and prioritizes your mail for you (and it's free). Read More supports both importing and exporting files as attachments using drag and drop.

iPad iOS 11 Drag and Drop Apps 2

In the default Mail app iOS Mail.app Tips & Tricks for Emailing Like a Pro on Your iPhone iOS Mail.app Tips & Tricks for Emailing Like a Pro on Your iPhone Despite first appearances, Mail for iOS is much more powerful than it used to be. Read More , you can drag in images, media, and more. In fact, if you drag in multiple files over the compose window, Mail app will automatically zip the files for you and add it as an attachment.

Productivity Suites

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Doesn’t matter if you’re in the Apple camp, Google camp or the Microsoft camp, you can use drag and drop between all the classic productivity apps.

Apple’s iWork suite How iWork Works: The Basics of Pages, Numbers, and Keynote How iWork Works: The Basics of Pages, Numbers, and Keynote Have you always dismissed Apple's productivity apps as unsuitable for your office needs? It's time to reconsider! Read More (Numbers, Pages, Keynote), Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) and Google’s trio of productivity apps (Docs, Sheets, Slides) all support drag and drop on the iPad. You can now easily move around objects and images in a presentation app or text in a word processor.

Many More Drag and Drop Apps

There are a lot more apps which now support drag and drop. While they might not all have a special implementation of the feature, the fact that most of the popular task management, image editing, and text editing apps have the option of drag and drop is itself amazing.

It means that if you’re using one of the following apps in your day to day life, you can just take the drag and drop feature for granted. And for a new technology, there’s no better feeling.

What are your favorite productivity apps for iPad? Do they support drag and drop yet? Share with us in the comments below.

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