Apple in iOS 11 revamped the iPad’s interface and changed the way we interact with the tablet through a new Dock, a revamped App Switcher, and Drag and Drop, and with iOS 12, further iPad changes have been implemented.

There are new gestures to learn for accessing the Home screen, App Switcher, and the Control Center, along with a new status bar.

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The new iPad gestures are identical to the gestures on the iPhone XS, with Apple preparing us for the elimination of the Home button in future iPad models. Rumors suggest upcoming iPad Pro models will feature a TrueDepth camera system and Face ID rather than a traditional Touch ID Home button.

If you use an iPhone X, XS, or XR, the new iPad gestures will be familiar to you, but if you don’t, it could take a bit of time to get used to.

Dock Changes: Getting to the Home Screen and App Switcher

In iOS 11, when you wanted to access the Home screen from within an app, you would press the Touch ID Home button. That’s still true, but you can also now get to the Home screen when you swipe up from the bottom of the display, as demoed in the video above.

When in an app, swiping up from the bottom of the screen takes you right to the Home screen rather than just bringing up the iPad Dock within an app.

The iPad’s Home screen. Get here with one quick swipe on the Dock.
To get to the Dock to open more than one app for multitasking purposes, you need to do a swipe and a slight hold hold rather than just a swipe at the bottom inch of the screen while you have an app open already.

The iPad Dock in an app. A quick swipe brings you to the Home screen, but a swipe and a hold brings up the Dock in an app.
If you swipe and hold a bit higher on the screen, you can access the App Switcher on the iPad for quickly swapping between apps or closing apps, which is done with a swipe upwards on an app card. This gesture works both within apps and at the Home screen.

The iOS 12 iPad App Switcher, accessible with a longer swipe and hold on the Dock, either at the Home screen or within an app.

Getting to Control Center

Control Center in iOS 11 was paired with the App Switcher and was accessible by swiping up on the Dock, but that gesture now opens the App Switcher alone without providing access to Control Center.

Getting to Control Center is now done by swiping downwards from the right portion of the status bar, where it displays your battery life and Wi-Fi/Cellular connection.


All other gestures on the iPad remain the same, such as a swipe downwards from the top middle of the display to bring up your notifications and a swipe to the right to get to the Today section for widget access, but there are other iPad improvements worth noting in iOS 12.

iPad Status Bar

The iPad’s status bar has been redesigned in iOS 12, and it now resembles the status bar of the iPhone XS. The date and time are listed on the left hand side of the status bar, while battery life and Wi-Fi/Cellular signal and connection are displayed on the right hand side.


The middle of the display, where the date was previously shown, is left open, perhaps for a future notch. Prior to iOS 12, the iPad’s status bar did not show the date, so that’s also a new addition.

Spacebar Trackpad

When typing on the iPad, if you press and hold with one finger on the space bar, it turns the keyboard into a trackpad to make it easier to navigate through a document and move the cursor.


This is a feature that has been available on iPhones with 3D Touch and on the iPad with two fingers, but in iOS 12, it’s simpler to use. A two finger touch also continues to work.

Related Roundup: iOS 12
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