You can snap up to 4 apps on the Surface Pro 3

Surface Pro 3 snap

A few WPCentral readers have asked if it’s possible to snap more than two apps on the Surface Pro 3. The answer is yes. You can snap and run up to three apps side by side by default. Adding a fourth one requires some extra steps. The Surface Pro 3 has a 12-inch 2160 x 1440 resolution display, which is 38% larger than the Surface Pro 2. There’s definitely space for a third and fourth app, but it may feel too crowded depending on which apps you use. Head past the break to see how it looks on video.

First, open the app you want to run. Swipe in from the top edge of the screen and drag it to either side of the screen. Opening a second app will display it right next to the first app.

When you open a third app, its thumbnail hovers on top of the first two. You can drag it left or right until you see space opens up. After releasing your finger, you’ll notice that you now have three apps running at the same time.

Another way is to slide your finger in from the left edge, and then drag a recently used app towards the right until a divider appears. Move the app where you want it, and slide the divider to adjust the app size.

Here are the most frequent scenarios where I use 3 apps side by side on the Surface Pro 3:

  • Tweetium + Internet Explorer + Netflix
  • Tweetium + Internet Explorer + Internet Explorer
  • Tweetium + Internet Explorer + Wordament Snap Attack

If you want to run 4 apps at the same time, you need to change a display setting. Go to settings – display, and select ‘smaller’ size for apps and text. We’re not fans of this option, but some of you may like it.

We don’t see ourselves snapping a third or fourth app frequently, but it’s nice to have those additional options. Planning to get the Surface Pro 3? Which apps do you plan on running frequently at the same time?

Mark Guim

Mark Guim is Video Editor at Windows Central. He switched to Windows because the MacBook Pro isn't Pro enough. You can follow him on Twitter at @markguim.

  • Why don't we have an image showing 4 apps? Both are 3 apps side by side right? I see you aren't fans of screen setting change but take one for the team?
    Ah, ok so you don't have a unit on you then I suppose.. Daniel didn't grab one? ;)
    I still don't get it.. I have edited this comment 4 times now, to support 4 snap apps!
  • FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS❗ You're seriously complaining about that when this dog is obviously in need of serious medical attention.... Wow!..
  • Lol
  • FYI, this is also works on regular PC's with larger pixel sizes :)
  • Larger Pixels means Bigger than Full HD?
  • Not sure what your point is. But full HD is 1920x1080, commonly called 1080p. And I meant more pixels, was in a rush to type that. Busy busy busy! My monitors are 2560x1600.
  • 720p (1280x720) HD
    1080p (1920x1080) Full HD
    2160p (3840x2160) UHD My new PC using 1440p (2560x1440) WQHD with DP & 780Ti Can't wait for Surface 3
  • Holy shit thanks for the tip. It works on the original surface also. Can use three apps at once now. Yeeeee
  • Why couldn't Microsoft bring this option to windows phone yet ? Please don't consider my question childish. Really we, windows phone users are supposed to get it first. Atleast the larger devices. But already some android phones are offering this. I feel frustrated.
  • because in all honesty it isn't a necessary feature, nor is it practical. I don't care if you have a device that has a 5"+ screen (which in itself is impractical in my opinion) smartphones were never meant to multitask in the same way as a full desktop or even a tablet does. From what I've seen most OEM implimentations are buggy, don't work well in practice and end up slowing down the phone. Android itself to my understanding does not have this feature implemented, and for good reason: Smartphones are not PCs. Tablets make sense for this form of multitasking, hell even the xbox makes some sense, but in my opinion the form of Multitasking on the current Windows Phone 8.1 works perfectly fine.
  • i think 3 is pretty nice. 4 may be too crowded for 12"
  • 4 will be cool, but i wish it was 8. 4 horizontal and each one splitable on the vertical way. Some apps just don't need to take up a whole space.
  • I was once fooling around on my 14inch laptop, snapped a metro app to the left, foxit reader to the right, and 3 desktop things (IE, my downloads folder, OneNote desktop version) in the middle, by resizing them. Beat that, 5 apps !
    I even used that layout for 15-20 minutes.
  • The most I have at once is IE and WPCentral.
  • Three is good.. Four is too much IMO
  • I feel the same way
  • That's what they said. 
  • Why is this too much....Microsoft just gives more choices.
  • The fonts become too small if you try to show 4 apps at the same time.
  • I wish it would be like 8.0 and you could have again narrower width apps to simulate win7 gadgets like weather & clock.That would make sense for 4+ apps.
  • I would like to "snap" 2 programs in portrait view, one on top of the other.
  • This
  • Especially with videos. I wanted to sketch and watch Netflix at the same time and Netflix took up way too much space and was playing the video sideways because I had to lock the screen rotation to make it work.
  • I want this so badly for my 8" DVP8. I'd use it that way 90% of the time since I watch videos while doing other apps. No more small video player with huge black space.
  • I didn't realize that was the case. Samsung actually got something right in that regard.
  • I'd love Portrait Snap on my DV8P. Some apps don't work well when snapped with the screen in landscape. Notice for example that the photo in this article shows the Netflix catalog but not all the wasted space when you actually watch a snapped video. And they're showing Tweetium, which scales nicely when snapped (unlike the official Twitter app that maintains these huge black borders when snapped).
  • Multitasking I windows is awesome, that's the feature that's head and shoulders above every other OS
  • Android doesn't support it by default, but Samsung is the clear winner in this with their note tablets, and this is coming from someone who can't stand Samsung products.
  • Nice dog. How does he like the surface pro 3 ?
  • He doesn't seem impressed.
  • He's waiting for Surface 4 in November with Windows 8.2 lol
  • What are that dog's brand and specs? 
  • Any chance even a two app snap could come to 8.1 sometime?
  • Its already in 8.1
  • I think he meant wp8.1 haha. That would be cool on something like the 1520 and 1320 since its missing a one handed mode anyway, at least you can do two things at once. I'd love watching a mytube video while fb group chatting
  • You already can, its screen size, not resolution.
  • This is less of a hardware feature than it is an os feature. Windows 8.1 determines how many apps can be snapped on one monitor by the monitor's resolution.
  • need to be able to divide screen in quadrants, and 16:9 tablets need to be able to snap apps in portrait mode (1 over the other if your holding tablet in portrait mode - to me this is one of the biggest missing features of Windows 8 - well, that, and the ability to pin live tiles to the desktop, and to be able to make them transparent similar to Windows Phone - but thats a new feature only us Windows Phone 8.1 users know and love.  Hopefully Threshold takes us there.
  • I need snap feature on my Lumia 1520
  • Same here. Top and bottom (portrait) would be great.
  • Hope Microsoft will do the same on Windows phone....
  • Can't wait for this thing!
  • Could you ir could you not snap 3apps on the old Surface's?
  • Checked the Surface 2. You can snap two by default.. 3 if you change display settings to 'smaller'
  • Confirmed
  • But smaller is to small.
  • I already use 3 apps snapped in my Surface Pro (1st gen). I just changed the scaling to 100%, the screen is good enough for fine details in fonts and all even when a little smaller.
    4 apps will be verry nice, but most useful is to have one app always snapped on the side, minimum width, like skype or facebook while using the rest of the screen for browsing and work.
  • Awesome. I once enabled the "smaller" option to enable snapping 3 apps on my SP2, and while it was nice: Everything became too tiny. Glad this can be done natively and easily on the Surface Pro 3.
  • OMG, this also works on my Surface 2 (up to 3 apps). I did not know it was an option. Everything's tiny, but it's nice to have FB chat, twitter and a browser open together. Thanks! :)
  • Glad to help!
  • That option expands my surface pro (1) to 3 tiles. Thanks!
  • Awesome power of a REAL productivity machine!!
  • It will be great if I can do 2x2 snap. Given that S3 Pro is not a wide screen, side by side snap sometimes won't work very well for some apps that take more width.
  • I've often wondered why they don't let you slice the screen this way. it would be more natural for apps to downscale to a similar ratio that it is to fit in the extreme ratios snap demands. most apps don't now what to do and waste the room is almost as if somebody needs to invent this system where apps could be bound to this rectangular region. And then these rectangular regions could be moved and docked around the screen. But to access them quickly, you'd want a bottom bar where clicking the app icon brings the rectangular region to the front and you can stack these regions along the z-axis allowing more regions than they would fit otherwise.... if only such a thing existed. no OS on earth does that. I think these regions should be called "windows" and it is such a great feature, you could call the OS after them ;)
  • Wasn't this already possible on W8.x for a long time? I could do this on my original Surface Pro if I wanted to. . .
  • I bet if that dog wakes with a start, the last thing it will be doing is watching its step...just in case it steps on an shiny new surface pro 3.
  • You can snap 3 apps on any Windows 8.1 tablet with a display of 10 inches and up. You simply change the same setting - I do it on my Lumia 2520. Works like a charm.
  • I could see myself with twitter, IE, and Xbox music. Or sub in a messaging app somewhere in that equation.
  • Can all Surfaces use desktops software ?
  • Option is disabled on rt
  • Not for long...
  • I love being able to actually multi task on a tablet. Its great.
    It is what makes up for my surface tablets lack of apps. Can watch Netflix while surfing the net.
  • this is one of the reasons I prefer 16:9. snap just feels crowded now. maybe 2 is ok but seeing how 3 look, you really need that 16:9 ratio. two steps forwards one step backwards I suppose. They really need to re-design this snap thing. given the overly square aspect of this device, horizontal and well as vertical snap seems like it would work best. In particular now that the tablet can be used in portrait without being overly tall, you really want to snap top and bottom, not left and right.
  • Samsung does it better
  • On a flight to new Orleans I noticed a man hard at work with a mac book while I watch a movie on my surface. He had three windows over laying one another as he typed impressively fast on a page that looked like a word file. I thought to my self, he could never use a surface to do his work, sadly I don't think a person with a MacBook will switch over to Microsoft. I love everything Microsoft is doing but it's hard to imagine someone being productive on a surface even with a 12 inch 3:4 screen size. It can happen but the so called lapabilty isn't there yet. The hinge has to be reversible to work perfectly. Me personally I was tainted by apple in film school editing, it was horrid. So I built a cheap PC and started using adobe premiere and loved every second.
    Is your dog a puggle.
  • You know what that means? It's coming with a WINDOWS update. The surface pro runs on windows, so it stands to rekon all PCs will get this update and be able to do it. 
  • MS' just slow.  Surface 1 has one position kickstand, Surface 2 has 2 positions.  Surface 3 has unlimited positions.  Took 3 tries to realize what is the best.  Now on the # of apps snapped.  Just make it unlimited the old windows way!  Just have windows!  It's called windows afterall.  Why let the screen resolution limit it?
  • Surface 4 with "Broadwell architecture" "4K 2160p" Windows 8.2 November 2014 :)
  • Awesome this is. Though I am gonna buy Surface 2. Too pricey Surface Pro 3 for me.
  • I have 8 windows open on my Win7 desktop right now :)
  • Dog is so tired with all those apps :) but seriously even if Apple will release a bigger 11-12" inch iPad Pro with a customised iOS 8 experience, 12h of battery life and a cool keyboard it won't be enough if they forget about USB/SDcard/MiniDisplay ports. They can shove that huge slab of glass up their ass.
  • This should be possible on any screen size really. so many apps have 320px snap views so even at 1366x768 resolution four apps snapped at that size would fit. My dream second screen setup would be four small snapped apps such as Twitter, Facebook, Music, and Mail asa freat secondary dashboard while I work on my main screen. No idea why this silly arbitrary restriction is still there. Even on a 24" Full HD monitor only three apps are allowed which is ludicrous. Hopefully that'll be improved in Windows 8.1.2 or whatever it is. ;)
  • Windows 8.2 in November 2014
  • Yay! Definitely upgrading from the SP2! However, I will not make the text smaller, as that makes it look too small. 3 apps is good enough. :)
  • Is there a performance hit, doing this on the surface 3, with the ultra high res?
  • Yes! ....Haswell architecture slow anything more than 1080p but next generation Broadwell architecture will fixed it! 4K Ready! Surface 4
  • Who would want to? People can barely multitask. What makes you think they can triple task?