iPad Basics: Multitasking Gestures Using Four or Five Fingers

Multitasking gestures are a relatively new iOS feature (introduced in iOS 4.3) that currently work only on the iPad due to its larger screen. Once activated, multitasking gestures allow you to use four- or five-finger swipes to quickly switch between apps and thus improve your multitasking performance on the iPad.

Note that these gestures will not work on the first-gen iPad, only the iPad 2, iPad 3, and newer.

How to Turn on Multitasking Gestures

To activate multitasking gestures, go into the iPad’s Settings–>General and slide the Multitasking Gestures to On.

The Four-Finger Swipe

Swipe Left. While in an app, swipe to the left with four fingers and the entire screen will slide over, switching to the second most recently used app. Keep swiping to the left, and you’ll cycle through your most recently used apps.

Then Swipe Right. After four-finger swiping to the left, you can then swipe to the right and you’ll cycle the other way through your apps.

One thing to note is that once you switch to another app using a four-finger swipe and use that app, you can once again swipe left or right again; however, if you switch to another app without using multitasking gestures, you’ll no longer be able to four-finger swipe to the right until your first swipe left—in other words, the recently-used-app-order resets itself with your current app at the front of the line.

Swipe Up. Swipe up with four fingers and you’ll bring up the task bar, just like double-clicking the home button.

Swipe Down. After swiping up to bring up the task bar, you can swipe down to close. Easy peasy.

The Four-Finger Pinch

Pinch. While in an app, if you pinch the screen with four or five fingers, you’ll “close” the app and be taken to the home screen. A four-finger pinch has the same effect as a single-click of the home button.


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