Sometimes, the simplest way to do something isn’t the most obvious way. A lot of gestures and shortcuts aren’t exactly intuitive, but they can make certain tasks a lot faster. Here are 10 of our favourite shortcuts and gestures on iOS.
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For the purpose of this, we’re going to try and skip some of the more obvious ones — like swiping up to bring up the control centre. Instead, we’ll be focusing on ones most people don’t know, have forgotten about, or are otherwise just not quite as popular. Here we go!
Check out the video above to see all these gestures in action.
10. Pull Down to Refresh
OK, we’re starting with an easy one that many of you probably know: pull to refresh. This gesture’s been around for a while, but it isn’t always obvious. If you’re looking at a webpage, inbox, or other app and you want to refresh its contents, just pull it down. You should see an arrow or icon along the top that, once you’ve pulled down far enough, will indicate its refreshing the app.
9. Swipe to Reveal Timestamps in Messages, or More Options in Mail
iOS has a pretty clean interface, but in doing so, it sacrifices a bit of extra information. In Messages, if you want to see when a message was sent or received, just swipe to the right to see the timestamp. Similarly, you can swipe over a message in Mail to get more options, like a Delete button right from the inbox.
8. Swipe to Go Back One Screen
This particular gesture works in a bunch of different apps, including Mail, Messages, Settings, Notes, and Safari. If you want to go back a screen — say, from the current message back to your inbox in Mail — just swipe from left to right. You can peek at the previous screen or switch to it entirely. In Mail, this will take you to the previous page, or if you swipe in the opposite direction, take you forward.
7. Navigate the Home Screen and Multitasking Drawer on the iPad
The iPad has a few gestures that use four or five fingers for easier navigation. Pinch with four or five fingers to go back to the home screen without clicking the home button, or swipe four or five fingers up to see the multitasking interface. Of course, you don’t even need to see the multitasking strip if you don’t want to — just swipe four or five fingers left or right to switch apps immediately. (Note that if these gestures don’t work, you may have to turn them on in Settings > General).
6. Type Faster with the iPad’s Split Keyboard
If your thumbs are accustomed to typing on a phone and not a tablet, you can get a more comfortable keyboard by holding down on the keyboard key, or pulling the keyboard apart. That way, you can type with your thumbs. You can even drag the keyboard button upwards to put the split keyboard anywhere on the screen. Plus, it has a few hidden buttons to make typing easier.
5. Type Numbers, Symbols, and Capital Letters Faster
If you hate pressing Shift to get a capital letter, or the number button to get a number, there’s a faster way: just press the Shift key and drag your finger to the letter you want. Or, press on the number key and drag it to the number you want. It’s a much easier way to type those special characters. And speaking of special characters, don’t forget that you can hold down on a keyboard button to get special characters for that letter (including “.com” if you hold down the period button in Safari).
4. Quickly Change or Move an Event in the Calendar
Nobody likes going into a calendar event and typing in a new event time just to move it. In the Calendar app, you can actually move events around just like you would icons on your iPhone home screen. Tap and hold on the event in day mode, and you’ll see two dots appear around the box. You can then drag the edges up or down to change the duration of the event, or tap and drag the entire even to move it.
3. Press and Hold Mail’s Compose Button to View Your Drafts
You can view your email drafts from Mail’s main menu — you know, where it lists all your inboxes and folders — but that takes a few taps. If you want to get there quicker, just press and hold on the “Compose” button in the bottom right-hand corner. It’ll pull up a list of your saved drafts for you, so you can get back to writing that oh-so-important message.
2. Press and Hold Safari’s Back Button to View Your History
Want to see the last few web pages you visited? You could tap that back button over and over again, or you could just press and hold on the back button. This works in both Safari and Chrome, and you’ll see all the pages that brought you to your current tab. It may work in some other browsers too; however, we haven’t tested them all.
1. Tap the Menu Bar to Scroll Up
When you’re reading a web page, article, or other long text — in any app — you don’t need to manually scroll all the way back to the top. Just tap the menu bar at the top of the screen and you’ll jump back up to the top of whatever you’re reading.
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