How to Master the iPad Multitouch Screen

By Edward C. Baig, Bob LeVitus

Part of iPad For Dummies Cheat Sheet

To move around on your Apple iPad, use the multitouch screen. The iPad has no mouse and no physical keyboard or keypad buttons; the multitouch screen displays virtual versions of buttons and controls as required for the tasks at hand. Prep your fingers for the following:

  • Flick a finger across the iPad screen to scroll through music, pictures, emails, contacts, and more.

  • Tap against the iPad screen to open applications, play songs, choose photos, and so on.

  • Though it may not look like it, your iPad is a multitasking marvel. While you can have only one app on your screen at a time, swipe left or right with four or five fingers to switch between recently used apps.

    Or double-press the Home button to access preview pages with icons just below them for any apps that are already open; swipe to the right or left to see more apps.

    And if you have a newer iPad (iPad Pro; iPod Air or later; or iPad mini 2 or later), you can also use picture-in-picture by pressing the Home button or tapping the picture-in-picture icon (shown next) while a video is playing:

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    The movie will scale down to a corner of your display so you can see the Home screen and open other apps. To return to the video, tap in the small video window.

    These same (newer) iPads also support slide over (swipe left starting at the right edge of the screen to view a second app; swipe down on the right half of the screen to see all available app icons).

    Finally, if you have an iPad Pro, iPad Air 2, or iPad mini 4, you can use split view to work with two apps on screen at the same time. Start by performing a slide over (swipe left starting at the right edge of the screen to view another app; swipe down on the right half of the screen to see all available app icons). Then you can drag the dividing line between them left or right to resize both halves.

  • Swipe the screen from bottom to top to use the Control Center to enable and disable Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and much more.

  • Swipe the screen from top to bottom to access the Notification Center.

  • Pinch to shrink and unpinch to enlarge web pages and pictures. To pinch or unpinch using multitouch, place your thumb and index finger against the iPad screen. Then keeping the thumb in place, drag your index finger to pinch or unpinch accordingly. And double-tapping usually enlarges text, so give it a try.

  • Trust the iPad virtual keyboard. It makes suggestions and corrects mistakes on the fly.

  • Tap anywhere in text to select one or more words.

  • Correct errors in a note or an email by holding your fingers against the iPad screen to bring up a magnifying glass, which lets you position the pointer in the precise spot that needs to be edited. Lift your finger when the cursor (a vertical line) is in the proper spot.