How to Open and Use the iPad's Task Manager

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How to Open the iPad's App-Switching Task Manager

Screenshot of iPad

Looking for an easy way to switch between apps on your iPad? The iPad's task manager is one of the easiest ways to toggle between apps or switch to a recently opened app. It also gives you access to the control panel and lets you quit an app you no longer need open.

Here are two ways you can open the task manager:

  • You can access the task manager by double-clicking the Home Button, which is the physical button just below the iPad's display when holding it in portrait mode.
  • You can also open it by swiping your finger up from the very bottom edge of the iPad's display where the screen meets the bevel.

Which method should you use? When you are holding the iPad in landscape mode with your thumb near the Home Button, it is easiest to just double-click the button. But when you are holding the iPad in other positions, it can be just as easy to swipe up from the very bottom of the screen.

What can you do on the iPad's task manager screen?

When you have the task manager screen open, your most recently used apps will be displayed as windows across the screen. Here are a few things you can do on this screen:

  • You can switch to an app by simply tapping on the window. This makes it great for multitasking.
  • If you swipe from the left side of the screen towards the right side, you can scroll through your recently-opened apps. This allows you to switch to an app even if it has been a few hours since you last had it opened.
  • You also have access to the control panel, which is positioned on the right side of the screen when you first open the task manager. The control panel gives you quick access to music control, volume, screen brightness and other features. Read more about using the control panel.
  • You can also close an app by holding your finger down on the app's window and swiping towards the top of the screen. This closes the app completely out of memory. You should not normally need to quit an app completely. The iPad does a great job of managing resources for apps in the background. But if you have an app that is behaving erratically, quitting out of it completely and relaunching it can be a great troubleshooting step.
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How to Switch Between Apps on the iPad

Screenshot of iPad

Quickly switching between apps is a great way to increase productivity, but while the task manager makes it very easy, it's not always the fastest. There are two other methods for methods for quickly moving between apps. 

How to Switch Apps Using the iPad's Dock

The iPad's dock will display the three most recently used apps on the right side of the dock. You can tell the difference between a normally docked app and one that was recently used by the horizontal line that divides the two.  

The iPad's dock is always displayed on the Home Screen, but you also have quick access to it within apps. If you slide your finger up from the very bottom edge of the screen, the dock will be revealed. (If you keep swiping up, you will get the full-fledged task manager.) You can use the dock to launch one of your most recently used apps or any of the apps pinned to your dock.

How to Multitask Using the Dock

The dock also makes multitasking a breeze by giving you a quick-and-easy way to display multiple apps on the screen at the same time. You must have at least an iPad Pro, iPad Air or iPad Mini 2 to display multiple apps on the screen. Instead of tapping an app icon on your dock to lock it, tap-and-hold the app icon and then drag it to the the middle of the screen.

Not all apps support multitasking. If the app appears as a square window instead of a horizontal rectangle when you drag it toward the middle of the screen, it doesn't support multitasking. These apps will launch in full screen mode.

How to Switch Apps Using Multitasking Gestures

Did you know the iPad supports gestures that will help you multitask? These gestures are one of the many cool secrets pro users exploit to get the most out of their iPad.  

You can use these gestures to switch between apps by holding four fingers down on the iPad's screen and swiping left or right to navigate between recently used apps. You can also swipe up with four fingers to reveal the task manager.  

If you have problems using the multitasking gestures, make sure they are turned on by opening the iPad's settings, choosing General from the left-side menu and tapping the Multitasking & Dock selection. The Gestures switch will turn multitasking gestures on or off.