There are, in fact, three iPad-specific “multitasking” gestures that require at least four fingers, and they’re pretty nifty once you get the hang of them.
Don’t want to tangle your fingers around any new iPad gestures? No worries.
These three gestures are entirely optional, and you can toggle them on and off by tapping Settings, General, and then flipping the switch next to Multitasking Gestures.
(Indeed, you may want to turn Multitasking Gestures off if your toddler has a talent for switching apps while mashing her fingers on her iPad’s touchscreen.)
So, what can these four-finger (or five-finger) iPad gestures do for you?
Let’s start with…
1. Swipe up to view all your open apps
Want to switch between iPad apps without double-clicking the Home button? Easy.
Just make a claw with your fingers, flick up on the screen with four (or five) fingertips, and presto! You should now be looking at iOS 7’s multitasking display.
Swipe back and forth to view all the apps you have open, tap a “card” to open an app, or flick up on a card to close an app.
2. Swipe left or right to switch from one app to another
Next, let’s try cycling through all your open apps with a simple swipe, no multitasking display required.
Do the claw thing again with your fingers, then swipe from left to right (or right to left, your choice) with four or five fingertips.
The current app will slide off the screen, to be smoothly replaced by the next one in line.
3. Pinch your way home
You’re never more than a tap away from the iPad’s home screen thanks to the ever-present Home button.
But if you’ve been longing for a new way Home—or if, say, the Home key is hidden or inaccessible for one reason or another—here’s a new gesture to try.
Place or or five fingertips on the iPad display, then “pinch” them together.
Zip! The app you were just using will shrink into nothingness, and the home screen will fly back into place. Neat.
Looking for more iPad tips? Click here!
Note: This revised and expanded article was first published in October 2011.