iOS 15: How To Drag and Drop Pictures, Files, Texts, Links and More Between Apps

iOS 15 has been a fresh breath of air to Apple’s mobile operating system as it brings major changes to the way you use your iPhone. Not only do you get new and improved features inside FaceTime, Safari, Find MyPhotosSpotlight, Notifications, and Weather, the latest version of iOS is making the ability to move pictures, files, texts, and links easily from one app to the other using new Drag-and-Drop activities. 

How does Drag and Drop work on iOS 15?

iOS 15 brings with it a new way to interact with stuff on your screen as you can now drag and drop whatever you want from one app to the other with minimal effort. This is a feature that has existed on iPad since 2017 and Apple is finally making this available on iPhones With iOS 15.

Prior to this update, iPhone users were limited to drag-and-drop options within a particular app and nothing outside of it. This opens a ton of possibilities as you can now copy anything you want between two different apps and with multiple drag support, you can copy a bunch of items from the app and paste it together onto another app.

The cross-app drag functionality essentially lets you copy stuff from somewhere and paste a copy of it onto the destination app. When you drag an item from one app and drop it elsewhere, the original content that was copied will remain in the source app unless you remove or delete it yourself. 

Where from can you copy and drag items?

With iOS 15, you can now drag items from almost all native apps and even some third-party apps available on your phone. Any app from where an item is dragged is called a source app. We tested the new Drag-and-Drop feature across several apps and found that copying items is possible in all apps developed by Apple including Photos, Notes, Messages, Reminders, Files, Voice Recorder, Safari, Mail, and more. 

Besides apps made by Apple, the Drag-and-Drop functionality is already available on a bunch of third-party apps including Spotify, Amazon, Google Docs, Sheets, Google Chrome, Brave, Google Photos, Google Drive, and more. We will help you understand which app or item is draggable using the feature in a section further down this post. 

Related: How To Copy iCloud Contacts to Gmail [3 Ways]

Which apps can you drop stuff on?

While you can copy stuff from a bunch of apps on iOS 15, only a handful of apps currently support the ability to drop content from other apps. At the time of writing, it’s mostly the apps developed by Apple which offer Drop support for stuff you copy by dragging. 

You can paste stuff by dropping items on Messages, Notes, Safari, Reminders, Mail, Files, Google Drive, Hangouts, and more. 

How dragging between apps work on iOS 15

iOS 15 lets you drag stuff from any app and drop it onto another app without much effort.

The Basics:

  • You can select an item you want to drag by tapping and holding the item from within the app and then start moving it around. The item’s overflow menu (if available) should disappear when you start dragging it around the screen. 
  • Some items in this list also support multiple drag support, meaning more than one item can be dragged at once. You can do this by first dragging one item and then selecting the other items by simply tapping on them. Multiple selections should appear as tiny thumbnails under the finger which you have kept pressed on the screen. 
  • Once your items are selected, you can move them to the other app by first going to the Home Screen or Recent Apps and then dropping the item wherever you want it to appear. 

You can use the drag and drop feature to get the following things done but the functionality is not limited to just these as there might be a ton of other draggable items from various apps that are yet to be explored.

How to Drag Items between Apps on iOS 15

Well, here you go. We will talk about dragging from one app to another stuff like photos and videos, text, notes, reminders, links, messages, voice notes, Spotify playlists, track and albums, shopping links, and more.

Drag Photos and Videos

You can drag and drop photos and videos from the native Photos app on your iPhone onto any supported destination app. You can use this feature to drag pictures onto Messages, Notes, Pages, and other Apple apps for now. Dragging and dropping photos to third-party messaging or social apps doesn’t work for now but we expect that to come in the future as more and more developers start taking advantage of the new Drag-and-Drop function on iOS 15. 

We also tested whether the feature works when dragging stuff from Google Photos and we can confirm that it works as expected. 

Here’s a preview of how you can drag a photo from the Photos app to Notes:

Select and Drag Texts from Apps

When you want to copy text-rich content from one app but don’t want to depend on your iPhone’s clipboard over and over again, you can use the drag and drop feature to copy text from one app to another. The support for dragging texts from an app is currently available across all inbuilt apps as well as third-party ones but you can still only drop it inside native Apple apps for now. You can try dragging text between different apps on your iPhone and let us know which apps support it in the comments. 

Here’s what selecting and copying stuff from Twitter to Notes looks like:

Drag and drop items anywhere within or outside the Files app

The Files app also gets Drag-and-Drop functionality on iOS 15 and you can use it to copy files anywhere within the app or to another app on your iPhone. 

When dragging files within the Files app, the files you drag are moved (not copied) from the original location to the destination, if you’re moving them locally. Moving files to iCloud Drive will queue the files to your backups. 

When dragging items from Files to another app, the files are duplicated and are accessible as standalone copies of the original content. You can drag stuff from the Files app to any app that supports Drag-and-Drop functionality like Messages, Notes, Google Drive, and more. 

Drag and drop your Notes/Reminders anywhere

If you have set a reminder or jotted down pointers inside the Notes app, you can copy them easily by tapping and holding on to one of them and them dragging them to another app. You can also copy stuff between both the apps as well; from Notes to Reminders or vice versa. You can paste content from these two apps wherever text can be pasted like Messages, Mail, and other messaging apps. 

Here’s how dragging stuff from Notes to Reminders looks like:

Drag Web/Mail Links and paste them to Notes/Messages

When visiting a webpage on Safari, you can use the Drag-and-Drop functionality to quickly select a page link and copy it elsewhere. To drag a webpage link, tap and hold on the address bar and start moving it around until it’s draggable. This will negate the need for copying links to the clipboard one-by-one when dealing with a bunch of websites. Links to websites can be pasted anywhere there’s a text field like inside the Notes app, Messages, Mail, and more. Here’s what copying a link from Safari to the Mail app looks like:

Additionally, you can similarly copy a link to your email that redirects you directly to the concerned email when you want to get back to it at a later time. For this, open the Mail app on your iPhone, long-press, and drag an email from the Mail app to Notes or Messages to save it for future references. 

Copy contents from Messages to other apps

By now you may know that you can copy any content and drag it to the Messages app, but you can also copy items from the Messages app and paste it elsewhere. The functionality works as you might expect; long-press on any messages you want to copy and drag it to another app to paste it. This can be helpful when saving files directly from Messages, storing messages for future references, or for simply moving stuff around to another app. 

Send existing Voice Notes directly to any app

Just like regular notes, even your voice recordings can be copied and pasted from the Voice Memos app to anywhere you can send a recording. When you copy a voice note from Voice Memos, the recording will be sent to the destination app in M4A format, which is the default format for voice recordings on all Apple devices. To copy a recording, tap and hold on a recording until it’s draggable and go to any other app on your phone where you want to paste it. 

Here’s what dragging a recording from Voice Memos to the Messages app looks like:

Drag items directly from Spotlight

The Drag-and-Drop functionality also comes to Spotlight on iOS which itself has gained a ton of improvements on iOS 15. You can now search for apps on your iPhone inside Spotlight and drag it onto your Home Screen directly from it without needing to access the App Library. The feature also works for other searches you make with Spotlight and you can drop and drop photos, web images, links, and other items from it to any other app that supports Drag-and-Drop. 

Drag and Drop Spotify Tracks, Playlist, and Albums

Want to keep track of all the songs you play on Spotify? The new iOS 15 Drag-and-Drop functionality also lets you quickly drag tracks, albums, and playlists from Spotify to any other app quickly. This way you can store quick links to all your favorite playlists to access them whenever you want to without needing to search for them on Spotify. To do this, open Spotify and select a track, album, or playlist from the app and then drag it around. You can switch between different apps to either send your selection to someone via Messages or save them to your Notes. 

We believe the same might work for other streaming apps like Apple Music but we couldn’t test it ourselves. Long-pressing on tracks inside Youtube Music didn’t yield any results either.

Drag Shopping Links easily

When browsing through things to buy, you can now easily create your own shopping list or wishlist by dragging and dropping your items from an e-commerce app onto Notes, Messages, or anywhere else you want to send them. We tried testing this drag functionality with the Amazon app, it worked flawlessly; so we expect it to work as intended on other shopping apps as well. 

How to go to the Home screen and change Apps while dragging

When you drag content from one app, you may be able to drop it onto another only when you access the Home Screen or the Recent Apps screen. You can use one of your fingers to drag and hold an item on the screen and use your other hand/fingers to access another app. 

You can access the Home Screen or go to Recent Apps the same way as you normally do on your iPhone. After you have selected and dragged an item you want to copy from one app, you can follow the steps below to open another app:

Go to the Home Screen: On iPhones with Face ID, swipe up from the bottom edge of the screen to go to the Home Screen. On iPhones with the Home button, you can access the Home Screen by pressing once on the Home Button. When on the Home Screen, open an app and go to a particular section you want to drag the item to, and only then, lift up your finger. 

Go to Recent Apps: On iPhones with Face ID, you can swipe up from the bottom to the middle of your screen and hold until the App Switcher appears and open the app you want to drag the item to. On iPhones with the Home button, double-press on the Home button, swipe through your Recent Apps, and drop the item you dragged to the particular section within the app you want to copy stuff to. 

No matter, which method you follow, you need to make sure you do not lift your finger up until the dragged item has been dropped onto the destination app. 

How do you know if something is draggable?

With so many gestures that are available on iOS, you may wonder how will you know if something you want to copy is draggable or not. Fortunately, there are visual cues to look for when you want to drag something from a source app. When you tap and hold on a draggable item, the content will move around the screen where you keep dragging it. You can double-check their drag support by first dragging it around and then going to your Home Screen on iOS. If the selected item still adheres to your finger’s position, then it means that it is indeed draggable. 

Items that can’t be dragged will behave differently. In most scenarios, they would either bring up the in-app menu relevant to the item or won’t do anything. Some items may appear to be draggable but will move only vertically within the app’s screen. It may take up some time before you know which item is draggable but you should eventually get a hold on it once you start using the drag feature. 

How to tell if you can drop something in an app or not?

As we have explained above, iOS 15 gives you visual cues to let you know where you can place an item you dragged. If you’ve opened the app or a support section inside an app that supports drag-and-drop, a green ‘+’ icon will appear at the top right corner of the item you’re dragging. You can drop the item wherever you see this ‘+’ icon and be sure that the copied item gets pasted here. 

If you don’t see the ‘+’ icon inside an app you want to copy to, it means the app doesn’t offer drop support on iOS 15. Instead, you might see a circle with a line struck diagonally to indicate that you cannot drag the selected item wherever you have your finger on. When you drag an item from another app and lift up your finger inside an unsupported app, nothing will happen. You will have to start dragging the item from the source app again and drop it elsewhere on your iPhone.

That’s all we have on dragging and dropping stuff between apps on iOS 15.  


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