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10 Essential Gestures That Will Have You Love Using Your iPad

Gestures can really help you get the most out of your iPad, and they might be the thing that has you jumping from your laptop or computer to your iPad. These multi-touch gestures make moving between apps super fast and easy. With every new version of iOS, Apple adds new gestures. But they are not always easy to find. By the time you’ve finished reading, you’ll be a multi-touch pro. 

Enable Gestures

Before you can use these gestures, you’ll need to make sure that Gestures are enabled on the iPad.

Open Settings > tap Home Screen & Dock > choose Multitasking > toggle on Gestures.

Go Home Gestures

Since the iPhone X with Face ID arrived, the Home Button has become passe. iPad users don’t need to feel left out even if they have a Home Button on their device. In fact, the iPad has used gestures to get to the Home screen for quite some time. Well before the iPhone X arrived.

There are 3 Gestures for going to the Home Screen

  • 1. Take four or five fingers of one hand, place them wide apart on the screen, then pull them together quickly, like you’re trying to grab the screen.
  • 2. Take four or five fingers anywhere along the bottom of the screen; they should be close together. Swipe quickly upwards, and you will be back at the Home screen.
  • 3. This gesture needs one finger. Start by swiping up from the bottom of the screen as if you were bringing up the Dock. Instead of stopping when the Dock appears continuing swiping upwards to go to the Home Screen. ( If you try this on an iPad running iOS 11 or earlier, the Control Center will slide up instead)

View App Dock Gesture

The Dock is visible when you are on your Home screen, but what about when you’re inside an app. Just use one finger slightly off the bottom edge of the screen and slide up about one inch. The Dock will appear, letting you switch between apps or drag icons to either side of the screen to start splitting your screen.

Drag Icons Into The Dock

You can drag any App icon into the Dock from the Home Screen. Tap and hold the icon until all the apps start to jiggle; now, drag that icon into the Dock where you want it to be. You can remove apps the same way. The App Dock will hold anywhere from 11-15 icons. Once it is full, you will no longer be able to add any more apps. You’ll need to remove one to add one.

Today View Gesture

The Today view, which is where all your widgets are, is still left of the Home screen. Only instead of showing inside a new window, the widgets take up only a portion of the screen. You can even pin it to your Home Screen. To access the Today view, use one finger on the Home screen and slide to the right. To remove it, use one finger and slide to the left. To pin the Today view to your home screen, scroll to the bottom of the Today view, tap Edit, and toggle the switch on the top that says, “Keep On Home Screen.” Tap anywhere on the screen to stop the jiggling.

Fast App Switching Gesture

While inside an app, place four fingers on the screen and start swiping to the right. As you begin swiping, you’ll be scrolling through the apps that are opened.

Slide Over Gesture

Slide Over allows you to use two apps at once. The primary app will be open in full screen, and the secondary app will slide over it. This can be useful when you want to have your web browser open and browsing through your email. To use Slide Over, grab an app from the dock, pull it up and to either side of the screen and then let go.

Move the Slide Over Window To Either Side

At the top of the Slide Over window is a small handle; you can use this to drag the window to either side of the screen and open it into Split View.

How To Get Rid of Slide Over

Hide a Slide Over app by using the handle at the top of the window to push the app off the right of the screen. You can quickly bring it back by swiping in to the left, from the right edge of the screen.

Split View Gesture

To use two apps simultaneously, with each one taking up part of the screen, you’ll want to try out Split View. Open an app and then just drag another app to the far right side of the screen. A blank black space will appear; drop the app.

Resize Split View Window 

In between the two windows is a small handle that can adjust the size of the window in either direction. You can leave it at a 50/50 split or take it down to 75/25. If you want to come out of Split View, drag the handle in either direction until that app disappears and only one app is opened.


Getting the timing right for some of these gestures can take a few tries, but it’s well worth the effort. After you master gestures, you’ll feel like a pro when getting around the iPad.

Share your questions or favorite gestures in the comments section.

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