Apple’s system for switching between the apps running on your iPad is fairly simple, but there are options that are even better.
You’re surely accustomed to zooming in and out of images and pages with the two-finger pinch gesture. Multitasking Gestures add other functions using four or five fingers.
Go ahead and turn this on now, just so you can experiment with the gestures I’m talking about. Go to Settings > General > Multitasking Gestures: On.
With the default system, you press the Home button twice to bring up a menu with icons of the running apps, and then tap on the icon of the one you want to bring to the front.
After you enable Multitasking Gestures, though, you can put four fingertips on the screen and drag up to bring up the window showing running apps. I find this easier and a lot more intuitive.
And there’s an even simpler option: if you put four fingertips on the screen and drag to the right you’ll bring in the last app in your queue of open ones. You can actually move around in the complete collection of open apps by dragging to the left and right, although this isn’t very efficient. I mostly use this to quickly switch back and forth between two apps.
Here’s another: Normally, you tap once on the Home button to go to the homescreen/app launcher. With Multitasking Gestures, put all five fingers on the screen and pull them together to bring up the homescreen. I don’t use this very often, but it’s there if you want it.
In addition to being more intuitive, I use these gestures to save on wear and tear to the Home button. When using my iPad I hit the Home button all the time… dozens of times a day. I’m concerned that I will eventually wear it out. But that’s less likely if I replace most of its functions with gestures.
There is another gesture that many iPad users don’t know about, even though it’s a standard one: the three-finger tap. There are limitations to how large you can make things with the two finger zoom gesture, and not all apps support it, but the three-finger tap can expand anything on the screen.
To turn this on, go to General? Accessibility > Zoom > On.
Double tap on the screen with three fingertips, holding down on the second tap. Without removing your fingers from the screen, drag up, and the contents of the screen will expand. Tap once and hold on the screen with three fingertips to move around on the screen so you can see what you need to.
Do the three-finger double tap again to return everything to its normal size. Later, repeat this gesture and the screen will return the the last magnification you had it set at. Or you can once again three-finger tap and hold to reset the magnification level.
It takes a bit of practice to get used to Multitasking Gestures, and to integrate them into your daily habits, especially if you’ve had an iPad for years. But they are worth it — they are easier and save on wear to the Home button.