two-finger tap iPhone

Beginning with iOS 13 and iPadOS, you can take advantage of a new two-finger tap gesture in certain apps to quickly enter the editing mode and select multiple items at once without using the Edit button. In this brief step-by-step tutorial, we’ll show you how to use two-finger tap to do things like edit messages, triage your emails, manage your files and select your notes.

This undocumented feature in iOS 13 is supported on iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.

It’s not often that you learn a neat new iOS trick like this one. Trust me, two-finger tap is extremely handy when deleting a long list of emails, messages, notes or other items. Follow along with our tutorial included right ahead to learn how you can boost your efficiency and productivity by being able to quickly select messages, emails, files or notes with two-finger tap.

How to use two-finger tap in iOS 13

As mentioned, you can use the two-finger tap gesture in the following Apple apps:

  • Messages
  • Mail
  • Notes
  • Files

As more stock apps adopt this gesture, we’ll update this tutorial with new instructions.

How to select multiple messages

The two-finger tap gesture works both in the main Message list and when chatting.

From the main Messages list

Here’s how to quickly access the editing interface in the main message list and save time versus having to tap that difficult-to-access Edit button.

1) Launch the Messages app and navigate to the main list.

2) Tap any message thread with two fingers.

3) Now drag with two fingers up or down to select multiple messages.

To scroll your message list while in Edit mode, simply swipe up or down with one finger.

select messages with two-finger tap on iPhone

Once you’ve selected a range of messages to deal with, you can delete them all at once or mark them as read/unread by tapping the respective Delete or Read button.

Doing a three-finger tap is quicker than hitting the three-dotted icon near the top-right corner and choosing the option Select Messages from the menu that pops up at the bottom.

TUTORIAL: How to add subject lines to texts in the Messages app

Now you know how to quickly select, move and delete multiple SMS, MMS or iMessage texts in the Messages app with a two-finger tap and drag on your iPhone and iPad.

From the chat view

And this is how you invoke Edit mode when inside a message.

1) Launch the Messages app.

2) Tap a messages thread to open it.

3) Perform a two-finger tap on a message you’d like to act on.

4) Scroll with two fingers to select multiple messages to move or delete.

select chats with two-finger tap on iPhone

To scroll your message list while in Edit mode, simply swipe up or down with one finger.

How to select multiple emails

Here’s how you can quickly access the Edit option in the Apple Mail app.

1) Launch the Mail app on your iPhone or iPad.

2) Navigate to the inbox you’d like to use.

3) Tap with two fingers on an email to enter Edit mode.

4) Drag with two fingers up or down to select multiple emails.

To scroll the list, simply swipe up or down with one finger.

select emails with two-finger tap on iPhone

This may or may not be faster than tapping the Edit button in the upper-right corner.

Once you’ve selected a range of email messages you wish to use, you can move them all to a different folder by tapping Move at the bottom, clear them out by choosing the Trash option or mark them as flagged, read or junk by choosing the option Mark.

TUTORIAL: How to flag emails with different colors

Now you know how to quickly select, move and delete multiple emails in the Mail app with a two-finger tap and drag on your iPhone and iPad.

How to select multiple notes

Here’s how to access the Edit option in Notes faster than the usual method.

1) Launch the Notes app on your iPhone or iPad.

2) Tap the default notes folder or one of your custom folders with multiple notes in it.

3) Tap with two fingers on a note to enter Edit mode.

4) Drag with two fingers up or down to select multiple notes.

To scroll the list, simply swipe up or down with one finger.

select notes with two-finger tap on iPhone

Performing a two-finger tap and drag is much faster versus tapping the three-dotted button located in the upper-right corner, then choosing Select Notes from the popup menu.

TUTORIAL: How to use password-protected notes

Once you’ve selected a range of notes, you can move them to a different folder all at once or perform a bulk-delete operation by tapping the Move All or Delete All button, respectively.

Now you know how to quickly select, move and delete multiple notes in the Notes app with a two-finger tap and drag on your iPhone and iPad.

How to select multiple files

The two-finger tap gesture is available in the Files app, too.

1) Launch the Files app on your iPhone or iPad.

2) Tap a source in the Locations list.

3) Tap with two fingers on a file or folder to enter Edit mode.

4) Now drag with two fingers up or down to select multiple items at once.

And that’s your shortcut for performing multi-item selections in iOS 13’s Files app.

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