This concept brings the main menu we know and love from Mac to iPad. It keeps the numerous advantages of a written menu, redesigned with touch devices in mind.

iPad Main Menu helps bring a vast amount of features to iPadOS for people who seek out this power, while keeping the OS accessible for users who prefer a simpler experience.

Core Problems the iPad Main Menu Improves:

1

Consistency
in
 the OS

The iPad Main Menu provides a robust and consistent way to access and discover all features of an app. No matter which state or view you are in, it’s always accessible via the dock featuring the same layout. Users finally have a consistent way to find the features they’re looking for.

All Features
in One Place

A menu is a central hub of all the app’s features, described in words as well as structured and grouped in understandable ways. No more features hidden behind icons, gestures, share sheets, modal views or other UI elements.

2

More Pro Features for Power Users

As the iPad Main Menu is located on an extra layer above the existing UI, developers can include way more functions in their apps without needing to create a corresponding button for each one. Even hiding very specific pro-actions for a specialized user group is possible thanks to the menu.

3

How to Access the Menu

Dock

The menu opens via a dedicated button in the iPad’s dock. This button is located at the leftmost position, next to the user’s app icons. The fact that the dock is always accessible by design makes the menu rock solid
 in every situation!

3-Finger-Tap

Alternatively, pro users can use the 3-Finger-Tap to open the menu immediately. When using multiple apps in Split View or Slide Over, the location of the tap-gesture will determine which app’s menu opens.

As iPads have limited screen real-estate, the iPad Main Menu is placed on a new layer overlaying the existing UI. This ensures maximum compatibility with current apps and allows it to be consistently placed and accessed.
Muscle memory
 is your friend.

Menu Anatomy

A two-column layout allows the menu to have a smaller footprint at first glance. The menu opens in a compact view, showing only the left column. Common actions available to every app are located on the left. Once the user selects a menu, the right side opens, displaying the contents of each corresponding app menu. This allows the user to quickly scan through all available app menus.

Menu Anatomy

Split View Support

iPad Main Menu supports Split View by providing an easy way to switch active apps without leaving the menu. Just select the desired app via the app-switcher in the upper left corner. The app-switcher resembles the layout of Split View or Slide Over. The inactive app is dimmed and decolorized.

iPadOS intelligently shows the menu based on the last interaction of an app or active focus via a keyboard.

Icons Support
and Don’t Confuse.

App interfaces, especially pro apps, often suffer from excessive use of icons. Their meaning can be unclear and vary based on person, context and culture.

Labeled icons are easier to understand and facilitate looking for actions. Menu icons also allow users to learn each appʼs native icons. The iPad Main Menu introduces a color system for icons to better categorize by feature. Icons and colors are fully customizable for developers.

Icon

System Actions

Icon

Time Machine

Icon

General

Icon

Destructive

Icon

Searching

Icon

Format

Icon

Help

Icon

Layout

Icon

View

It’s All About Keyboards!

The iPad Menu is fully compatible with external keyboards. No matter whether you want to show, navigate, select, or close the menu, there’s no need to lift a finger, even without using a mouse or trackpad.

Once an external keyboard is connected, each menu action displays its unique shortcut. To speed up navigation, the menu will open the first app menu selected.

Unified Software Keyboard

The current configuration of keyboard buttons next to text suggestions is highly inconsistent. Every app can customize these buttons, resulting in ever-changing layouts.

iPad Main Menu solves this problem with the introduction of a new, standardized set of actions in the left column. This ensures consistent access to the most important features.

Apps that support text formatting can directly open a mini version of the format menu. These standardized actions allow users to quickly change common text attributes like weight, underlining, size and alignment.

Optimized for Pro Use

Pro Use

Drag and drop submenus
to create floating panels.

Drag and drop on specific menu items.

Show via 3-Finger-Tap.

Support for Slide Over apps as well!

No Need to Wait for Updates

Even apps that aren’t updated yet will show the menu. Functions like undo/redo and cut/copy/paste are supported as of today. As the iPad Main Menu replaces the 3-Finger-Tap gesture, this now shows shortcut actions inside the menu.

More of these freely-available functions include: opening the app settings in system preferences, showing new features based on the App Store changelog, and opening the support website linked in the App Store.

iPad

See it in Action!