5 Handy iPad Gestures You May Not Know

There are many different gestures you can perform on an iPad. Some are definitely basic and would only be new for novice iPad users; others are pretty specialized and not necessarily useful to every user. There are, however, a few gestures that not everyone knows but that are really quite useful. Even though I have owned various iPad models over the years, I was unaware of a couple of these gestures until recently.

Switch between open apps

When you have more than one app open at a time, you can easily switch to another one of your open apps without opening the App Switcher (which is accessed by swiping up from the bottom of the screen and pausing in the middle of the screen). To save yourself performing an extra gesture, you can swipe while in one app to get directly to another open app:

swiping apps on iPad
  1. On your iPad, when you have at least two apps open, take note of the horizontal black bar at the bottom center of your iPad screen.
  2. Touch the black bar and swipe left or right along the bottom of the iPad screen to move to another open app.

A couple of things to note about this gesture:

  • The bar may be grey when the background is dark. You may need to tap the screen to make the bar appear.
  • You don’t have to perform the swiping gesture from the black bar at the bottom of the screen. You can begin the swiping gesture almost anywhere along the bottom of the screen; the black bar is just a convenient reference.
  • Be careful about swiping when the app you have open also performs actions based on left or right swipes. For example, in Mail, a left swipe will delete or archive an item.

Open Search

This one is pretty simple and yet is likely underused.

search on iPad

To open Search:

  • From the iPad Home Screen, swipe down from the center of the screen.
    • You don’t have to hit the exact center of the screen, and any place in the middle (vertically, meaning not the top or bottom) should work.

Take a screenshot

This is one I often use to take screenshots for articles. However, many may not know how to perform this action.

Take a screenshot

To take a screenshot on your iPad:

  • iPad with Home button: Simultaneously press, then release the top button and the Home button.
  • iPad without Home button: Simultaneously press, then release the top button and one of the volume buttons.

This works like screenshots on your iPhone. You don’t have all the options available that you would when you screenshot on a Mac, such as selecting a portion of the screen. You can find your screenshots in Photos.

Use an Accessibility Shortcut

iPad has many accessibility features. If you commonly use one or more of these features, you may also have a need to turn them off and on. For example, if you share your iPad, you can turn off your accessibility features before you hand over your device. You may also have found that certain apps or functions aren’t compatible with the accessibility features you use; this gesture will give you an easy way to switch the features off temporarily.

This gesture allows you to easily turn your accessibility features off and on. First, you need to set up the shortcut:

  1. Go to Settings > Accessibility. Scroll down to the bottom and tap on Accessibility Shortcut under the General section.
  2. You will see many accessibility features listed. Tap on each one that you would like to be part of the shortcut.

Now, to perform the shortcut gesture:

  • iPad with Home button: Triple-click the Home button.
  • iPad without Home button: Triple-click the top button.

Note: If the triple-click is not working well for you, you can adjust the speed of the triple-click by going to Settings > Accessibility > Home Button or Top Button.

Force restart

This is a good one to know if your iPad becomes unresponsive. How you do this depends on your iPad model.

iPad button diagrams

To Force Restart your iPad:

  • iPad with Home button: Press and hold the top button and the Home button simultaneously until the Apple logo appears.
  • iPad without Home button: Note: You will need to press and release the volume buttons quickly.
    1. Press and release the volume button closest to the top button.
    2. Press and release the other volume button (the one farthest from the top button).
    3. Press and hold the top button until the Apple logo appears.

Related articles

Dr. Stacey Butler is a tech writer at macReports covering news, how-tos, and user guides. She is a longtime Mac and iPhone user and holds a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. Here is her LinkedIn profile.

Thank you for choosing to leave a comment.

Please note the following:

  • All comments are moderated.
  • Your email will NOT be published nor shared.
  • All SPAM comments will be deleted.
  • Please see our comment policy page for more info.

Leave a Comment