Use a (Friendly) Gesture to Swipe Between iPad Apps

What if you could just swipe sideways to switch between apps on your iPad? Well, you can! Here's how to perform this most innocent of finger gestures.

If you have Multitasking Gestures turned on with your iPad or iPad mini, you can use a four finger swipe to switch sideways between apps. Like a sideways slide show. The apps will slide into view in the same order that they appear in the multitasking bar you get when you double-click the Home button. Here's how to enable it.

  1. Go to your iPad Settings.
  2. Select General.
  3. Scroll down to Multitasking Gestures and turn them on.

Now you can use four fingers to swipe left or right between apps. You can swipe as slow or as fast as you want, but four fingers must be touching the display. You'll see this as the apps slide right and left.

Remember, it's always wise to keep your finger gestures confined to your iPad.

There's More

Enabling Multitasking Gestures also allows you to:

  • Do an upwards swipe with four fingers to reveal the multitasking bar. Swipe downwards to hide it.
  • Do a five finger pinch to return to the home screen. Start with all your fingers a little bit apart and slide them to together at the same time as if you were grasping a tennis ball. Poof. You're there.

There are some other gestures available under General -> Accessibility, but that's beyond the scope of this article. Personally, I have found some of those gestures tricker to use and easy to conflict with the four finger gestures if one isn't very careful and exact.

The iPhone

You won't find this capability on the iPhone. Perhaps Apple feels that there isn't enough room on the iPhone's display to have a good experience with four fingers. However, there are apps that provide that functionality for those who have jailbroken their iPhone. That's also a subject beyond the scope of this simple Quick Tip.

One really has to salute Apple for thinking of all this.