Using Multitasking Gestures on Your iPad

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How to Turn on Multitasking Gestures

A multitouch gesture on the iPad.
Multitouch gestures use multiple fingers on the iPad screen at the same time.

Multitasking gestures are a cool feature that allow you to quickly switch between apps, making the limited form of multitasking offered by iOS as fluid as the real thing. You can also get back to the Home Screen and open the Task Manager using multtitasking gestures without touching the Home Button.

Multitasking gestures are not to be confused with Split Screen and Slide-Over multitasking introduced in iOS 9.  These gestures are shortcuts to switch between full-screen apps. 

Turn Multitasking Gestures On or Off in Settings

By default, the multitasking gestures should already be turned on and ready to use.  However, if you have an older iPad or if you have difficulty using the gestures, you can ensure they are turned on by going into your iPad settings. This is the icon with the gears on it.

Once in settings, scroll down the left-side menu and choose General. The main page will be filled with different options, and you will probably need to scroll down before you spot the multitasking option.  When you tap multitasking, you will see the multitasking options.  Simply tap the slider next to 'Gestures' to turn them on or off.

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What Are Multitasking Gestures? How Do You Use Them?

The iPad Task Manager screen.
The iPad's Task Manager gives you a visual view of your open apps.

About Multitasking Gestures

Multitasking gestures are multi-touch, which means you use four fingers to activate them. Once you turn them on, these gestures carry out specific functions that help the multitasking features of the iPad become more fluid. 

Switching Between Apps

The most useful of the multitasking gestures is the ability to switch between apps by using four fingers and swiping left or right on the screen. This means you can have Pages and Numbers both open on the iPad and switch between them seamlessly. Remember, you need to have recently opened at least two apps for this to work.

Getting Back to the Home Screen

Instead of clicking the Home Button, you can use four fingers to pinch in on the screen, just as you might use two or three fingers to pinch in when trying to zoom out of a website or picture. This is nice because sometimes the iPad gets turned around and the home button is on top rather than the bottom. Rather than looking for it, you can just get used to doing this gesture.

Bringing up the Task Manager

A very useful feature that is often overlooked, the Task Manager can be used to switch between apps or close apps completely, which is handy if your iPad is running slow. Normally, you bring up the Task Manager by double clicking the Home Button, but with multitasking gestures, you can also swipe up toward the top of the screen with four fingers.

With the ease of manipulating the iPad using these gestures, it's easy to see a version of the iPad that does away with the Home Button completely, as has been rumored in the past. And once you are accustomed to using these gestures, you might never miss the Home Button.