How to Switch between Apps on Your Windows 8 Tablet - dummies

How to Switch between Apps on Your Windows 8 Tablet

By Andy Rathbone

When not being used, apps slumber in the background of your Windows 8 tablet, waiting to be summoned once again. These sleeping apps don’t consume any resources, and your tablet devotes its attention to the app currently filling the screen.

If you want to return to a previously used app, you can summon it with this easy trick: To switch back to the app you’ve just used, swipe your finger inward from the tablet’s left edge.

As your finger moves inward from the screen’s edge, it drags your last-used app along with it. When you can see the app begin to appear onscreen, lift your finger. The app grows to fill the screen.

Keep repeating the same trick, sliding your finger in from the left, and you’ll eventually cycle through all your currently open apps.

Can’t remember whether an app’s already open? To see a list of your last six open apps, follow these steps from any screen in Windows 8:

  1. Slowly slide your finger inward from screen’s left edge.

  2. When you see an app begin to slide into view, slide your screen back to the left edge.

    All of your opened apps appear in a column clinging to the screen’s left edge.


Once you see the apps’ thumbnails clinging to the screen’s left edge, you can perform a few other circus tricks, as described here:

  • Return to an open app: Tap an app’s thumbnail from along the screen’s left edge, and the app fills the screen. Simple.

  • Close an app: With your finger, slide the app slightly to the right, and then down and off the screen. This one might take a little practice, because the app will try to muscle its way onto the screen. (If you’ve plugged a mouse into your tablet, close the app by right-clicking its thumbnail and choosing Close.)

  • Remove the app column: Because that column of recently used apps consumes some real estate, it closes by itself after you open one of its apps. But if you want to close it manually, just tap the currently open app. That brings Windows attention back to your current app and closes the column of apps.