What we today think of as a ‘phone’ was forever altered in 2007—the year Steve Jobs introduced the first iPhone. Thirteen years on and many of the things pioneered that year remain largely unchanged today; however, the way we work with phones and tablets continues to evolve and to be refined. Perhaps the most overlooked—yet among the most impactful—changes in iOS (now iPadOS) were refinements to the system’s interaction design. Gestures we now take for granted have continued to evolve in the years since—an evolution that has been further solidified with Android’s introduction of a very similar system of gestures.
With this article, the tech sages behind MoneyWizard offer up a quick guide to help you get more out of iPad with some of the most often overlooked gestures. If you’re not familiar them, we’ll reintroduce them to you here—and also share how you can leverage their functionality to boost your productivity.
Read on as we delve into five crucial multitasking gestures on your iPad that’ll help your productivity like never before!
Use Two Fingers on the Keyboard for the Virtual Trackpad
One of the more useful actions that gestures make possible is pressing an iPhone’s onscreen keyboard to turn it into a virtual trackpad. To use the iPad’s virtual trackpad, perform a long press on the space bar. When the keys on the keyboard go blank, that indicates that the trackpad is active. To move the cursor, leave your fingers on the screen and move them around just as you would on a normal trackpad. The cursor follows your movements. When the virtual trackpad is on, you can move anywhere on the display, and it will act as one giant trackpad! This allows you to place the cursor precisely where you want it; once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty easy.
Drag and Drop for Slide Over
There’s nothing more interruptive to your workflow than attempting to complete a project while working from two apps. You’ll often find yourself frustrated—switching back and forth between the two programs in a clunky manner. This slows you down and adds unnecessary minutes to your day. The time wasted quickly adds up.
What’s the solution? Fine-tune your multitasking efforts with Slide Over. The good people at Apple understand the importance of multitasking— and they’ve equipped the iPad with features that make life easier. You can use an app that slides in front of another app or in front of itself. For example, open Messages in Slide Over to carry on a conversation while using Maps. In short, Slide Over allows you to drop a second app on the screen’s right side instead of atop the initially opened program.
With iPadOS, you can use multitasking to work with two apps at the same time, answer emails while watching a video, switch apps using gestures, and more. Start by opening the iPad Dock. To do this, swipe up from the bottom of the screen. From there, tap and hold the app you wish to add. Wait for a moment until you notice a generated copy of the given icon. To turn on Slide-Over multitasking, drag the copied icon on top of the open app. This makes it so an app can run in a side column next to the iPad screen.
iPad keeps track of the apps you open in Slide Over so that you can switch between them easily. Of course, ony apps you’ve loaded must support this feature for it to work.
Pinch in for the Home Screen
As the old adage goes, there’s no place like home(screens). Sometimes amid your busy day, you need to reset and revisit your Home screen for any number of reasons.In this instance, take four or five fingers and pinch in. You’ll then see a window appear on the side of the screen. Continuing your pinching efforts will then navigate you back to your Home screen.
Four Finger Side Swipe to Navigate Apps
With iPadOS, you’ve got access to systemwide multitouch gestures. Among them is swiping up with four or five fingers to bring up the App Switcher. And swipe four or five fingers left or right to move between apps. You can toggle these features in the Settings app, under General: Multitasking.
It’s only possible to move to the previous app once you’ve used the multitasking gesture to navigate to the next one. There won’t be any prior app to move to if you launched your program from the home screen and didn’t maneuver to another app. However, you can move to the next application that you opened or activated.
Finding Little Ways to Be More Productive Pays Long-Term Dividends
The list goes on—and will continue to evolve over time. We hope some of these gestures are ones that haven’t yet made it into your workflow yet, and therefore might boost your productivity—especially on the large screens of the iPad family!