Quickly Navigate between Apps & Home Screen on iPad (iPadOS 16)

* This article is from our Tip of the Day newsletter. . *

Most of us are familiar with using the one-finger swipe and the two-finger pinch on our iPhones and iPads; but if you have an iPad, you may want to consider also using these four- and five-finger multi-touch gestures. We'll walk you through how to use these iPad-only gestures that make navigating between apps more seamless than ever before. These iPad gestures make it easy to see which apps are active, swipe between them, and quickly return to the Home Screen.

Why You'll Love This Tip

  • Navigate your iPad quickly with fewer taps.
  • Return to your Home Screen in seconds.
  • Multitask easily by switching between apps with a swipe.

Quickly Navigate between Apps & Home Screen on iPad (iPadOS 16)

Tap less and get more done by navigating quickly between apps, returning to the Home Screen, and closing apps you don't want running in the background. These tips will make you iPad gesture pros! The last one is my personal favorite, so make sure to read until the end. For more iPad tips, don't forget to check out our free Tip of the Day

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  1. To return to your Home Screen on iPad, spread your hand out and touch all five fingers to the screen simultaneously, then quickly narrow them together to a point. This is known as the five-finger pinch. You may need to try it a few times to get the hang of it. (I've had better luck doing this with four fingers rather than the recommended five.)

    Pinch to close app
  2. You can also swipe all the way up from the bottom of your screen quickly to close an app.

    Swipe up to close app

Related: What iPad Do I Have? How to Identify Apple's Different iPad Models & Generations

Use Gestures to Manage Apps with App Switcher

The App Switcher is a great tool you can use to navigate your iPad, switch quickly between apps, and manage your open apps. Here's how to use it:

  1. To navigate between apps and close apps that are running in the background, open the App Switcher by long-pressing the bottom of your screen and swiping up to display the multitask bar. 

    Open App Switcher
  2. If you are doing this from an app, you only need to swipe halfway up the display until you see the display below. If you swipe any higher, you'll close the app. I recommend swiping up slowly so that you know when to stop.

    If you are doing this from an app, you only need to swipe halfway up the display until you see the display below. If you swipe any higher, you'll close the app.
  3. If you’ve recently opened more than six apps, you can swipe left and right to view currently active or recent applications.

  4. Tap on an app window to open it.

  5. To quit an app completely, swipe up on the app window to close it.

  6. To exit the App Switcher view, tap on the screen around the app windows.

    Close App Switcher
  7. If you want to switch between applications without bothering with the App Switcher, try the four-finger swipe to the left or right. This allows you to slide between active applications without opening the multitasking bar. Place four fingers on the screen and "turn the page." This iPad swipe gesture is great for shuffling between messages, documents, browsers, and more.

Return to top

Now, you know how to navigate your iPad using only finger gestures on the screen! Next, learn these shortcuts for an even smoother iPad navigation experience.

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Author Details

Conner Carey's picture

Author Details

Conner Carey

Conner Carey's writing can be found at conpoet.com. She is currently writing a book, creating lots of content, and writing poetry via @conpoet on Instagram. She lives in an RV full-time with her mom, Jan and dog, Jodi as they slow-travel around the country.