How to Turn Off Split Screen in Safari for iPad? Exiting Safari Split Screen in iPadOS

Aug 18, 2018 - 40 Comments

How to turn off Safari Split Screen on iPad and exit out of Safari Split View in iOS

Safari for iPad offers a nice Split Screen View feature that allows you to view and read two websites side-by-side in the Safari browser, visible when the iPad is oriented in horizontal landscape mode. While entering into Safari Split Screen view on iPad is pretty easy, many users find that exiting and closing Split Screen View in Safari on iPad is less than obvious. This leads some iPad users to be thoroughly confused by Safari split screen mode on their tablet and think it’s either stuck enabled or can’t be escaped from, but rest assured you can close Safari Split View and leave the split web browsing mode fairly easily.

This tutorial will show you how to exit out of Safari split screen view on the iPad, which effectively turns it off. We’ll also show you how to close out of tabs that are in Safari Split View, and also discuss how to stop the iPad screen from splitting into two screens in Safari when it the device is rotated from portrait to landscape orientation.

How to Exit Safari Split View on iPad by Merging Safari Split Screen

Assuming you’re currently in Safari Split Screen View mode with two Safari panels open side by side on the iPad, here is how you can merge the two Safari split screens into a single Safari screen again. This effectively leaves Safari Split View and turns it back into a single browsing panel:

  1. From Safari Split Screen view on iPad, tap near the top of Safari or pull down to reveal the URL bar and Safari navigation buttons *
  2. Tap and hold on the Safari Tabs button, it looks like two overlapping squares and will be in the corner of the Safari window (in Safari Split View you will see two of these, you can tap and hold on either)
  3. How to close Safari Split Screen on iPad

  4. From the pop-up menu, choose “Merge All Tabs” to merge the Split Screen View windows in Safari into a single screen
  5. How to close Safari Split Screen on iPad

Once you merge the tabs, the Safari Split Screen window will be closed and you’ll be back to a regular single Safari browsing view on iPad.

Successfully exited out of Safari Split Screen View on iPad

You can also choose “Close All Tabs” if you don’t want to keep the tabs open in Safari split screen, which will also exit out of Safari Split View on iPad by closing the tabs in the split panel you chose.

This is the simplest way to exit Safari Split Screen mode, which is also about as close as iOS gets to turning off Safari Split Screen and disabling the feature (until it’s used again anyway).

Nonetheless there are other way stop escape out of Safari Split Screen by closing the tabbed windows in a Safari split screen panel.

* Note all approaches to exiting Safari Split Screen mode on iPad rely on showing the Safari back and forward navigation buttons first, as they must be visible on screen to access the other options.

How to Close Safari Split Screen View on iPad by Closing Tabs

If you want to close the tabs that open in Safari Split View as well, you can also exit and leave Safari Split View by specifically closing all the tabs that are open in the Split View panel of Safari.

  1. From Safari Split View on iPad, tap the URL / address bar at the top of the screen to reveal Safari navigation buttons and the tab bar
  2. Tap on the tiny faint grey “(X)” button in Safari to close that Safari tab
  3. How to exit Safari Split Screen on iPad by closing tabs

  4. If multiple tabs are open in the Safari split screen view, repeat and tap on the other tiny light grey “(X)” buttons until all tabs are closed on the split panel you want to close

The close tab button in Safari Split View can be difficult to find, not only because it’s quite small and being a light faint grey color, but also because it’s not visible unless the broader Safari navigation options are visible as well.

How to Stop Safari Screen Splitting in Two on iPad When Rotated

The only way to stop Safari from splitting into two screens when the iPad is rotated is to exit and leave Safari Split View mode on the iPad.

To accomplish that, you can use either set of instructions detailed here on this page, either by merging the tabs and closing Safari Split Screen View on iPad, or by manually closing the Safari Tabs that are open in one of the split view panels.

After you have closed and exited out of Safari Split Screen, if you rotate the iPad from vertical portrait to horizontal landscape orientation when in Safari, Safari will no longer split the screen on iPad.

How to Turn Off Split Screen Safari on iPad?

You might be asking yourself how to turn off and disable the Safari split screen feature in iOS for iPad. There is currently no way to disable Safari Split View feature on iPad.

Because you can not turn off Safari Split Screen on iPad, you’ll instead find that the only way to disable Safari Split View on iPad is to close out of it as outlined on this page, and then not use or enter into the Safari Split Screen feature again.

The inability to disable Safari Split Screen View mode differs from the broader ability to disable multitasking on iPad in general, but note that if you disable iPad Multitasking you will find that turning that feature off has no impact on Safari Split View mode, and the Safari Split Screen feature persists. So again, if you don’t like Safari Split Screen mode, exit out of it and don’t use it again.

Undoubtedly some of the confusion about exiting and leaving Safari Split Screen View could be alleviated by at least making the exit process similar to when using Split Screen View multi-tasking on iPad in general where you can simply grab the vertical separating line and drag it to the edge of the screen to close out. But for now, that’s not the case, perhaps down the road iOS Safari will have a more obvious approach to using split screen web browsing, but until then (if ever) just use the tips outlined above to close out of split browsing mode on Safari for iPad, or to avoid it in the first place. And maybe down the road Safari Settings will have an option to disable and turn off Safari Split Screen on iPad as well, time will tell!

Did the steps above help you to close and exit out of Safari Split View on the iPad? Do you have any helpful tips or tricks for exiting Safari Split Screen on iPad? Do you know of any secret trick to disable and turn off Safari Split Screen View on iPad? Share with us in the comments below!


Related articles:

Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPad, Tips & Tricks, Troubleshooting


» Comments RSS Feed

  1. Craig says:

    This is an example of why I can’t stand Apple products. The user design is absolutely terrible. As others have said, it should not take an article like this to explain, and even after reading it, I still can’t get my 85 year old father’s split screen exited because the controls this article shows in their screen shots do not appear on his ipad. Good riddance Apple I’m sticking with Ubuntu.

    • Carlo says:

      Apple has sucked worse every year since Jobs died. Why TF does Safari open every time I touch an image too long? I hold an image in Amazon so it will zoom in but this POS ipad thinks I want to open a new safari window that will delete all my other open safari tabs. Who wants this shitty feature? I can’t imagine when I would ever want that to happen. If I want to open something in Safari, I could cut and paste it.

    • Karen says:

      All I do is double click on the home button. This will take you to a screen that shows everything open on your iPad. Slide finger up on the offensive split screen and it disappears. Then click on the web page you were last on and it comes up without the split screen.

  2. West Kimmer says:

    If safari was so obvious to use it wouldn’t take a 5 page article to explain how to remove the split screen. Safari is garbage. Not designed for people who want a simple tool without obtuse, inexplicable features. I got rid of the split screen by f’ing around and swiping up. I can’t explain it. Somehow I got the second screen to float somehow, sort of like when all open apps are displayed when the home button is double-tapped. Then I swiped it up like an app I want to close and IT’S GONE. I was so pissed I thought I’d have a stroke

  3. Sue says:

    Didnt work. Step 1 to step 2 doesn’t bring up the symbols you are showing on my ipad. I hate ipads. I can’t even get step one to work: “From Safari Split Screen view on iPad, tap near the top of Safari or pull down to reveal the URL bar and Safari navigation buttons” does nothing even close to this on our ipad.

  4. Bob G says:

    I have never entered into this view intentionally and am not actually sure how to enter it intentionally. But every time I managed to get out of it, the very next time I started up safari, all my previously opened tabs are gone. This is an extremely irritating feature especially when I was working with numerous open tabs and then suddenly, unexpectedly …

    However, I never realized that holding that icon opened up a context menu.

  5. Roy says:

    The solution is stop using Safari. The bonus is you don’t have a “share” button filled with garbage you don’t use, get rid of previews and get a far more streamlined and intuitive interface.

    Apple Marketing is beyond hope. Not using the installed apps gets rid of a lot of the insanity.

  6. P says:

    This is really pissing me off. Third time it’s happened and I can’t remember how to get it off. What would you do this?!

  7. SharkyW says:

    My wife was scrolling through Safari pages and this split view randomly happened. Took ages to find what was causing this.

    Totally unbelievable that this option cannot be set off.

    Time to dump Safari and use a different browser.

    • GShelley says:

      If only if it were that simple. You don’t even have to be I Safari. I don’t use it and still get a floating window that is hard to get rid of popping up randomly

    • NormB says:

      Brave works great. I HATE when the “geniuses” at apple mess with stuff like this and say “oh, you only need to do this, then this, and this, this too, and one more thing to get out of the ignorantly installed, unwanted feature you can’t modify, turn off or otherwise control.”

      I keep opening these damned little 1/4 windows with stray touches on the screen on ads, or hyperlinks – my DOG even opened one by sniffing the screen.

      I’ve been using Safari for over 15 years, I’m done.

      Using Brave on my desktop for several years, I’m done with Safari.

      This last, newest, greatest feature” was the LAST iteration I’m going to deal with.

      Linux isn’t far beyond this…

  8. Alex Gordon says:

    Thank you! So much more effective than saying rude words about the device.

  9. Bas says:

    iOS is getting more and more confusing when these cumbersome functions like split screens and even more new stuff like floating popup windows that are not even covered by this article keep being implemented.

    Maybe it is about time Apple introduces a Setting, like the first one in General, Steve Jobs mode on/off.

    This way the legacy of Jobs will remain respected: an interface that do not need a user manual for most of us!

    The small percentage of geeks can turn this setting off and have fun with all those wonky new stuff that they so much enjoyed creating and prevent to bother the majority of the users that just want a clutter-free interface that they can rely on.

    • JJ says:

      OMGFG. I found my tribe. Thannk you for flagging this. who the **** asked for this split screen thing. It’s not even intuitive to close out of it – I’ve been searching for the last 30 mins lookoing for a soln

  10. Kristen says:

    Thanks! I had a lot of trouble finding how to do this, and this worked! However, there was a lot of fluff to get to the actual instructions (I already knew I had a split screen and didn’t need an explanation of why I wanted to turn it off.). But a very helpful article.

  11. Randall Stevens says:

    Many thanks to Apple for adding “features” that no one asked for, and then making us jump through no end of convoluted hoops to turn this stuff off.

  12. Jnet says:

    Thank you!!!!! Been going nuts here! And no other site has been helpful, glad to be back in single screen again. This happens periodically, and how i get in and out of split screen has historically been a mystery. And Evan Huang is correct. Miss Steve Jobs and his oversight.

  13. Walt says:

    Yes! Teddy M said it well. Thanks to osxdaily for a clear, effective explanation and fix. Walt Raleigh

  14. Walt says:

    I need help activating the feature to get 4 screens on my iPhone….or is this scheduled for the next iOS update.

  15. Ted M says:

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank You! On various solutions to my problem, no one was as informative and thorough as you were with your perfect solution. Their solutions failed (by not providing a thorough explanation) and yours worked simply and beautifully. is the best! Thanks Again, Teddy M

  16. Doc says:

    I use split screen 5-6 days a week to update spreadsheet data on my Pro 10.5”. I have no issues using it. My biggest gripe is that it seems only Apple apps work in split screen mode, where 3rd party apps all want the full screen. Why doesn’t Apple make this a requirement? It would greatly enhance the user experience. Just one of a bunch of things I’d like to b*tch about with Cupertino.

  17. Mike says:

    The article is useful, but leaves out one basic detail. This is not a feature for all devices. I found the Apple guide and it clarified which devices the split screen feature works on. I have an older iPad Air and the feature does not work.

  18. Rolf says:

    There is an easy way to handle split screens: just move the tabs around. This way, you can change the order of the tabs in one window or you can move them to a second window or back into the first:

    If you have several tabs open in Safari on iPad and want one of them appear in a split window, just hold the tab and drag it to the right or left side of your screen until it appears in its own window.

    And if you want the tab to reappear in the first window, hold the tab again and drag it back. If it is the only tab in the second window, this window will close automatically.

  19. Patricia Caddy says:

    I don’t even have the option to split the screen and my software is up to date!

    • elbow says:

      Rotate iPad into sideways mode.

      Then hold a link in Safari, then choose “Open in Split View”.

      That’s how you open in Split Screen Safari on iPad. Hidden, like many other iOS features.

  20. Rolf says:

    There’s another easy way to use split view: simply move the tabs!
    If you have several tabs open, you can change their order by just holding a tab and moving it to its new position. If you move it tho the far right or far left, it goes into a new split window.
    To close the split window, just drag the tab (or all tabs) back into the other window.

  21. Anne says:

    I never use unless it’s by mistake. I close it promptly.

    I don’t see any use for it.

    What would be useful would split screens for the apps.

    Either Safari and an app, or two apps or a single app appearing twice. I could see real value there.

    But the third party people have no interest in doing it. Just a costly venture.

  22. Fuzzy says:

    Last time I used split screen it took me 5 minutes to look up how to enable it and 15 on how to turn it off. That was around Christmas time last year. It’s now August.

    Agree with above, it shouldn’t require a multi step tutorial to use.

  23. Richard says:

    Absolutely right on! Who was the stupid idiot who came up with this split manure on mobile devices. Probably the same un- genius that created the character counter when sending character limited message that required a microscope or the vision of Superman. I don’t want or need a split screen anything on my iPhone or iPad. If I wanted to view more than one screen I would go to my desktop MacPro and its 27” screen. I don’t want any such crap on my iOS DEVICES!!! I pity the poor soul who inadvertently triggers this on an iPhone or small/mini iPad. Take that un-genious out of the building, stand them against a wall and have them shot!

    • Bas says:

      So very well said! I fully agree, totally 100%!
      My suggestion is to overload Apple with a feature request: Settings > Safari > Split screens on/off (off by default)

  24. herb schulsinger says:

    Couldn’t agree more! Rant on. Maybe Apple is listening, though I doubt it.

  25. Gosh Golly says:

    Well that sure makes sense… to leave Safari split browser, you have to rotate the iPad to the sideways mode, then do a magic tap swipe type gesture on just the right part of the screen so that you can see some buttons that don’t look like buttons, then long tap and hold on some thing that doesn’t even look like a button, to reveal a hidden menu that nobody would know was there if they didn’t know to leave their finger stuck on a couple of squares for a few seconds. Good grief! It just works!

    I appreciate learning how to do this, but this should not need a tutorial. It’s a web browser. Web browsing should be easy. iOS is supposed to be easy. None of this is easy, because guesswork is not easy.

    Think about how much easier it is to close a web browser window, or put two side to side on Mac. Think about how easy that is on Windows. Then think about that experience on iPad.

    And don’t even get me started on iPad multitasking, the most confusing experience ever imagined on any computer platform. There is nothing intuitive about iOS anymore, it’s all a guessing game. Things don’t look like buttons. Some text is a button some text isn’t. Things are hidden behind Magic Gestures and pulls and swipes and hard pushes and long presses. The entire iOS experience is confusing, nothing like what iOS was under Steve Jobs and Scott Forstall when it was obvious and intuitive.

    Gosh Golly, that’s a rant!

    • Evan Huang says:

      The whole iOS interface is confusing. Try and explore general multitasking like slide over, split screen, video hover, the dock, the new paneled screen of tiled apps for app switching, it is all so confusing that me, someone who has been an advanced computer user for 30 years needs to look up how to do stuff. There is no discovery in iOS, there is no obvious indicator about what does what in iOS, or where, or how. Everything is a mystery behind a mystery.

      I will go ahead and say that I think iOS is the most confusing GUI OS ever made, from a GUI standpoint. NOTHING is intuitive anymore.

      Steve Jobs was the ultimate UX/UI champion, always pushing for simplicity and making things obvious. If it wasn’t obvious it was not good enough for Steve Jobs. If it needed an explanation it was too complicated. Compare that approach to nowadays… you have to read a multi-page long treatise just to learn how to close two web browser windows!!!!

    • Ross says:

      Knowledge is power! It just takes time to gain the knowledge. 😝

    • tom lynn says:

      couldn’t agree more..someone at apple worked way to long on this ought to smarten up

    • Miki says:

      Finally a coherent explanation and description. Had to look through way too many! And I agree, it should not be that complicated! Thank you!

      • Dee says:

        Yep, I’ve had my iPad for a year and tonight for the first time, I did something accidentally that created the side-by side windows and couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to get rid of it. (and I’ve been on a Mac for 25 years) I totally agree with the Steve Jobs comment above and having to read 3 or 4 different pages before finding one that was straightforward, to the point and not geek speak is nuts. Where’s the intuitive thinking that made Apple famous???

Leave a Reply


Shop on and help support OSXDaily!

Subscribe to OSXDaily

Subscribe to RSS Subscribe to Twitter Feed Follow on Facebook Subscribe to eMail Updates

Tips & Tricks


iPhone / iPad



Shop on Amazon to help support this site