With iPadOS, the powerful Apple tablet at long last gets a dedicated operating system that isn’t just an enlarged iPhone OS. And with it came nearly a dozen new productivity and multitasking gestures that let you do more than ever before and save time.
Video: 10 new gestures in iPadOS
Watch Harris’s hands-on video walkthrough included right ahead.
Here’s a quick overview of the gestures the video covers.
Swipe right on the Home screen to have the widgets swoosh in. You can, of course, swipe up/down to scroll the widgets or get to that Edit option at the bottom if you’d like to rearrange or make individual widgets active or inactive.
Slide Over app switching
Now when you drag an app and drop it onto the Slide Over overlay, it no longer replaces the previous Slide Over app. With iPadOS, you can have multiple apps in Slide Over. So, how do you cycle through them? Just swipe across the Home indicator at the bottom of the Slide Over view. To see all of the apps in the Slide Over view, swipe up from the Home indicator.
New selection gestures
Tap and hold the cursor, then move the finger to a new position and let go — that’s how easy it finally is to move the cursor pointer in iPadOS. To make a quick selection, simply tap and hold a little bit then move your finger and iPadOS will drag and pick up whatever content you selected. There’s no need to wait for the bubble menu to appear and obstruct your view while making the selection. That’s because the bubble menu no longer exists in iPadOS and iOS 13.
And when you have something selected like a block of text, you can copy it by doing a pinch in gesture with three fingers simultaneously. Do this twice in a row and you’l perform a cut instead of a copy. And when you want to paste your selection, position the cursor to where you want the copied section to go, then spread three fingers apart to plop it right down.
To undo an action, swipe left with three fingers. To redo, perform the gesture in the opposite direction. You can also tap with three fingers to bring up a menu with all the relevant editing actions, including Undo, Redo, Cut, Copy and Paste. As a bonus, you can still shake that iPad to undo, if that’s still your thing.
Expand/shrink the keyboard
iPadOS brings a miniature iPhone-style keyboard made for thumb typing. To go from the regular-sized keyboard to the smaller one, just pinch in with two fingers on the keyboard.
Now you have an iPhone-style keyboard that you can type on with just your thumb while holding that tablet in your hand. Even better, in this mode you get to use the new gestural typing feature that only supports the small keyboard. Pinch out to expand the keyboard to full size. Shrinking and expanding the keyboard doesn’t work with third-party keyboards.
Apple brought Exposé to the Mac in 2011 with the release of Mac OS X 10.7 Lion. Now this cool feature is available on the Apple tablet with the iPadOS software. On iPad, Exposé lets you see all open windows or document for the currently active app. To do so, tap and hold an app’s icon on the Home screen, then choose Show All Windows from the popup menu.
You’ll now see all the different instances of that app.
Alternatively, if you’re actually in the app, swipe up to pull up the Dock and if the app is actually in the Dock you can just tap it there to enter Exposé right there and then. This is especially useful if you’d like to see all of the web pages you have open in Safari.
iPadOS boosts your productivity
Some of these productivity gestures are available on iPhone even though they were clearly designed for iPad and are meant to be used on the tablet, not the smartphone. For instance, while you can use the new undo/redo gestures on iPhone with iOS 13, swiping with three fingers on that smallish smartphone screen doesn’t really make for a great user experience.
The iPad still isn’t a 100% notebook replacement, and probably never will be, but the fact remains that iPadOS turns your tablet into a viable notebook alternative for many tasks—without needing to resort to creative trickery in order to get things done in a timely manner.
Are you excited for iPadOS? What’s your favorite new iPad gesture, and why?
Let us know by leaving a comment below.