Sample Code

Supporting Multiple Windows on iPad

Support side-by-side instances of your interface and create a new window with drag and drop.



This sample shows how to create multiple windows that give users the ability to create separate parts of your application with similar or varying content. Windows are managed by a scene or UISceneSession class. Your application uses UISceneDelegate and UIApplication.

When you adopt a multi-window architecture, the UIApplicationDelegate class that manages your application now manages newly created scenes. Then, UISceneDelegate replaces the code in the delegate functions of UIApplicationDelegate.

UIKit provides a subclass of UISceneDelegate called UIWindowSceneDelegate designed specifically to help manage your windows. When adopting the multi-window architecture in an existing application running on iOS 12 or earlier, you will move more responsibility from UIApplicationDelegate to UIWindowSceneDelegate.

For more information on multiple windows in an iPadOS app, refer to Human Interface Guidelines for iOS.

Add Multiple Scene Support

To support multiple windows, the app’s Info.plist requires a manifest or UIApplicationSceneManifest, which contains the information about the app’s scene-based life-cycle support. The presence of this key indicates that the app supports scenes and does not use an app delegate object to manage transitions to and from the foreground or background. Include the key UIApplicationSupportsMultipleScenes, with its boolean value set to true, which indicates that the app support two or more scenes simultaneously.

Add a Scene Delegate

This sample provides a UIWindowScene subclass called SceneDelegate to manage the app’s primary window scene. The scene(_:willConnectTo:options:) delegate function sets up the window and content.

func scene(_ scene: UIScene, willConnectTo session: UISceneSession, options connectionOptions: UIScene.ConnectionOptions) {
    if let userActivity = connectionOptions.userActivities.first ?? session.stateRestorationActivity {
        if !configure(window: window, with: userActivity) {
            Swift.debugPrint("Failed to restore from \(userActivity)")
    // The `window` property will automatically be loaded with the storyboard's initial view controller.

By using UISceneConfigurations key in the Info.plist scene manifest, the sample’s window for this scene is automatically configured and its root view controller is loaded from the storyboard.

Restore a Scene

When it’s time to restore a scene, iOS will call your delegate scene(_:willConnectTo:options:). The sample app restores the scene to its previous state through the use of NSUserActivity.

func configure(window: UIWindow?, with activity: NSUserActivity) -> Bool {
    var configured = false
    if activity.title == Photo.GalleryOpenDetailPath {
        if let photoID = activity.userInfo?[Photo.GalleryOpenDetailPhotoIdKey] as? String {
            // Restore the view controller with the photoID.
            if let photoDetailViewController = PhotoDetailViewController.loadFromStoryboard() {
       = Photo(name: photoID)
                if let navigationController = window?.rootViewController as? UINavigationController {
                    navigationController.pushViewController(photoDetailViewController, animated: false)
                    configured = true
    return configured

Create Multiple Windows

This sample creates a separate window only when the user drags an image from the collection view to the left or right side of the iPad screen. The sample creates a new window by implementing UICollectionViewDragDelegate function collectionView(_:itemsForBeginning:at:) and providing a UIDragItem with an associated NSItemProvider. Then, the sample passes the photo data to the new window scene with a registered NSUserActivity.

func collectionView(_ collectionView: UICollectionView, itemsForBeginning session: UIDragSession, at indexPath: IndexPath) -> [UIDragItem] {
    var dragItems = [UIDragItem]()
    let selectedPhoto = photo(at: indexPath)
    if let imageToDrag = UIImage(named: {
        let userActivity = selectedPhoto.openDetailUserActivity
        let itemProvider = NSItemProvider(object: imageToDrag)
        itemProvider.registerObject(userActivity, visibility: .all)

        let dragItem = UIDragItem(itemProvider: itemProvider)
        dragItem.localObject = selectedPhoto
    return dragItems

See Also

Window Scenes

protocol UIWindowSceneDelegate

Additional methods that you use to manage app-specific tasks occurring in a scene.

class UIWindowScene

A specific type of scene that manages one or more windows for your app.

protocol UISceneDelegate

The core methods you use to respond to life-cycle events occurring within a scene.

class UIScene

An object that represents one instance of your app's user interface.