How to use multitasking gestures on the iPad 1 & 2

14 November, 2011 - Paul Dixon
iPad screen

If you’re an iPad 2 owner you might already be familiar with multitasking gestures – one of the 200+ new features introduced with iOS 5, they allow you to quickly access the multitasking bar, move between apps and return to the home screen without having to click on the home button. With the release of iOS 5.0.1 last Thursday, you can now also use multitasking gestures on the iPad 1.

So, providing you are running at least iOS 5 on the iPad 2, or iOS 5.0.1 on the iPad 1, here’s how to enable them. Launch the Settings app and select the ‘General’ tab, then scroll down to where it says ‘Multitasking Gestures’ and swipe the little switch to ‘ON’.

Multitasking Gestures iPad

Now you should be able to:

  • Pinch with 4/5 fingers together inside any app to return to the home screen
  • Swipe upwards with 4/5 fingers to access the multitasking bar from anywhere
  • Swipe left or right with 4/5 fingers inside an app to move between other open apps

Admittedly, swiping upwards might not feel very user-intuitive – especially when the iPad is vertical (at least not to me), but I find the other two gestures really handy. There’s also the added bonus that you will be less likely to wear the home button out!

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About the author

Paul Dixon is the owner of Macsessed. He lives in Lancashire in the UK where he works as a web designer. You can find him on and Twitter.
  • DL


    I enabled the Multitasking Gestures, I think, on my iPad1, connected a HEMI cable to TV and here are what had happened.

    No real mirroring, I can draw from a painting app, I’m a cartoonist, the
    screen would show the drawing with my pen/line strokes shown in rel
    time, none of the commends, which shown on the iPad, would shown so no
    real mirroring except the making of the painting was in real time.

    Went to a news clip, selected a video,YouTube would play just fine but none of the other info which shown on the iPad was shown.

    Went to camearoll where I stored
    my drawings, no images were shown on TV until I switched the mode to
    slideshow then all my saved drawings would be shown continually.

    Can only play Angry Bird on iPad not on TV but the sound came from the TV just fine. 

    Please advise.

    Thank you.

    • Macsessed

       Hi DL,

      Thanks for the comment.

      Multitasking gestures and mirroring are two separate, unrelated features.

      The first-generation iPad can only send video, pictures and audio to a TV – and only from certain apps. You need an iPad 2 to be able to use mirroring.


      • DL

        Thank you, I missed your advice until now. I am disappointed about your advice which confirmed what I have experienced. I am curious that how are postings, many of them have videos, showing the “mirroring” on iPad1?

        I am definitely getting an iPad3.

        • Macsessed

           Which postings show mirroring on a first-generation iPad?