How to Tap, Flick, Pinch, and Conrol the iPad Display

The iPad, like the iPhone, dispenses with a physical mouse and keyboard. Apple is once again living up to an old company advertising slogan to “Think Different.”

Indeed, the iPad (and iPhone and iPod touch) remove the usual physical buttons in favor of a multitouch display. And this beautiful and responsive finger-controlled screen is at the heart of the many things you do on the iPad.

Fortunately, tapping, flicking, pinching, and dragging are not challenging gestures, so you can master many of the iPad’s features in no time:

  • Tap: Tapping serves multiple purposes. Tap an icon to open an application from the Home screen. Tap to start playing a song or to choose the photo album you want to look through. Sometimes, you double-tap (tapping twice in rapid succession), which has the effect of zooming in (or out) of web pages, maps, and e-mails.

  • Flick: Flicking is just what it sounds like. A flick of the finger on the screen itself lets you quickly scroll through lists of songs, e-mails, and picture thumbnails. Tap the screen to stop scrolling, or merely wait for the scrolling list to stop.

  • Pinch/spread: Place two fingers on the edges of a web page, map, or picture and then spread your fingers apart to enlarge the images. Or, pinch your fingers together to make the map or picture smaller. Pinching and spreading are cool gestures that are easy to master and sure to wow an audience.

  • Drag: Here’s where you slowly press your finger against the touchscreen without lifting it. You might drag to move around a web page or map that’s too large for the iPad’s display area.

  • Drag downward from the top of the screen: This special gesture displays the Notification Center. Press your finger at the very top of the screen and drag downward.

  • Four- or five-finger swipes and pinches: To quickly reveal the multitasking bar, use four or five fingers to swipe upward. Swipe left or right with four or five fingers to switch between recently used apps. Finally, pinch using four or five fingers to jump to your Home screen. The four- or five-finger swipes and pinches require you to enable Multitasking Gestures in the Settings app’s General pane.

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