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Supercharge your iPad with gestures

by Ray Aguilera

May 24 2012

All that tapping to switch apps can take its toll on your productivity. Speed up your iPad sessions with the awesome swipe gestures built into iOS 5.

Sure, the iPad is great at multitasking. Since Apple introduced background apps with iOS 4 in 2010, it's been simple to switch between applications. But the process involves tapping home, finding your other app on your Home screen, and tapping its icon. It's simple, and fairly intuitive, but there is a better—and much faster—way.

Swipe gestures aren't new, but if you're like most people, you're probably not using them. So your first stop should be Settings > General. Make sure the switch for Multitasking Gestures is set to On. Now you've got three productivity-enhancing gestures literally at your fingertips.

Pinch to go home

Tapping the Home button has always taken you, well, to the Home screen on your iPad (we still can't figure out why there is more than one screen called "Home" but that's a discussion for another time). With Multitasking Gestures activated, you can now jump back Home simply by making a pinch gesture with four or five fingers.

Swipe for the taskbar

The multitasking bar shows your most recently-used apps. To get there, you can always double-tap the Home button, but if you're not quick enough, the iPad will register a single tap, and bring up a Home screen. To quickly slide the multitasking bar into place, swipe upward from the bottom of the screen. You can switch apps this way, but don't forget the media controls, which pop up with a quick swipe to the right.

Swipe between apps

For even faster app switching, a four- or five-fingered  swipe does the trick. Swiping to the left takes you to the last app you used. Another left  swipe goes back to the app before that, and so on. You can also swipe right to go "back" to a more recently-used app. If you have a hard time visualizing how swiping between apps works, imagine left- and right-swipes working like the Back and Forward buttons in a web browser.

Ray Aguilera is the Technology Editor of TabTimes, and is based in San Francisco.

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