One of the new features in the Apple iOS 5 is called multitask gestures. Exactly what does that mean? The term refers to a few gestures that can be done using all of your fingers on your hand instead of just one finger.  Multitasking Gestures can be activated in the Settings menu.

The first gesture is done by simply placing all your fingers on the iPad screen and the pinching them together. This gesture is the same as pressing the home button at the bottom of the iPad. You will be returned to the home screen. The addition of this gesture may mean that Apple is thinking about doing away with the home button completely in a future version of the iDevices.

The second gesture is done by swiping all your fingers left or right across the screen when you are in an open app. This will switch you to the next open application on the iPad. A much handier way of switching between applications then pressing the home button twice and bringing up the app tray then pressing on the next app. Depending on the orientation of the app you may have to swipe up and down as well.

The final gesture is completed by swiping all your fingers up across the screen. This will reveal the app tray with all the open applications. Swipe down with all your fingers to hide the app tray.

Finally, there is an accessibility option called Assistive Touch that will allow you to create your own gesture if you have trouble touching the screen with all your fingers, etc. You can activate Assistive Touch by going into Settings –> General –> Accessibility –> Assistive Touch

What Assistive Touch really does is show a menu option in the bottom left of your screen. Tapping on the menu shows four options: Gestures, Device, Home, and Favorites. Gestures gives you the option to use 2, 3, 4, or 5 fingers for a gesture. Device allows you to complete the following tasks with only one finger: rotate screen, lock screen, volume up, volume down, shake, and mute. Home simply returns you to the home screen, and Favorites show the different custom gestures you’ve created.

Multitasking Gestures

 

I was hoping the Assistive Touch would allow you to create your own gesture and assign it to a task. Such as drawing a circle opens the calendar, etc. Unfortunately the custom features are limited, I can see them being useful for someone who does not have the use of all their fingers, but not as feature rich as I would have liked.

The multitask gestures are a nice feature to an iPad allowing someone to just use their fingers instead of relying on the home button for a lot of tasks.

 

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