How to Use Multitasking Gestures on Your iPad

Quickly switch between open apps with a swipe

Use multitasking gestures on the iPad to quickly switch between apps, return to the Home screen, and open the Task Manager.

Information in this article applies to iPadOS 14, iPadOS 13, and iOS 12 through iOS 10.

For information on split screen and slide-over multitasking introduced in iOS 9, check out How to Use Split Screen on iPad.

Turn Multitasking Gestures On or Off in Settings

By default, the multitasking gestures are turned on and ready to use. However, you can ensure they are turned on by going into the iPad settings.

  1. Open Settings on your iPad.

    The Settings app icon on an iPad
  2. Tap General on iPads running iOS 12 through iOS 10. (On iPads running iPadOS, tap Home Screen & Dock instead and skip to Step 4.)

    The General settings screen on an iPad
  3. Tap Multitasking & Dock.

    Multitasking & Dock highlighted in the General settings screen
  4. Tap the Gestures toggle switch to turn gestures on or off.

    The Gestures slider turned on in the Multitasking & Dock settings

What Are Multitasking Gestures? How Do You Use Them?

Multitasking gestures are multi-touch, which means you use four or five fingers on the screen to activate them. Once these gestures are turned on, they carry out specific functions that make the multitasking features of the iPad be more fluid.

Switch Between Apps

The most useful multitasking gesture is the ability to switch between apps. Use four fingers and swipe left or right on the screen. For example, you can have Pages and Numbers open on the iPad and switch between them seamlessly.

You need to have recently opened at least two apps to use this feature.

Open the Task Manager

The Task Manager is used to switch between apps or close apps completely, which is handy if an iPad is running slowly.

To open the Task Manager, double-click the Home button on iPads that have a physical Home button or swipe upward toward the top of the screen with four or five fingers. You only swipe partway up the display to see the open apps. Swiping farther returns you to the Home screen.

Go Back to the Home Screen

Instead of clicking the Home button, swipe up to the top of the display using four or five fingers to return to the Home screen. This is the same gesture that opens the Task Manager, but it's a longer swipe.

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