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iPhone gestures and shortcuts you might not know about Blah

Week 107.0 — 11th November '19

One of the problems mobile operating systems have is in informing you on how to perform actions. Interrupting with training is annoying and certain things require users to perform happy accidents in order to discover them. Shake to undo is something that may have been announced but it’s likely to be a small percentage of iPhone users that would have come across this way of undoing an action.

I sometimes come across tweets or videos that showcase actions you might not be aware of so I wanted to share some that you might find useful.

Multi-select items

You can now use two fingers to swipe down a list which will multi-select items in a list. This works really well in Mail, Notes and Messages.

Sadly, there don't seem to be many third party apps that use this same type of list, they all seem to have their own version.

Rearranging apps

A long press was the only way to do this before iOS 13 but with the demise of 3D Touch, a long press now brings up a contextual menu. You can still start moving apps by doing a long press and pulling the app or use the dedicated menu item.

Move items from one screen to another is also really easy but I had no idea about this gesture until about a week ago. Once the app is ready to move, use a second finger to swipe through home screens.

Track pad for text placement

On a Force Touch enabled phone, press down anywhere on the keyboard to turn it into a track pad. For newer, non-Force Touch, gently long press the spacebar and it will turn the keyboard into a track pad.

Highlighting text

Previously one of the most infuriating actions you could perform, there are now gestures to deal with selecting different amounts of text:

  • Double tap to highlight a word
  • Triple tap to highlight a complete sentence
  • Quadruple (4) tap to highlight an entire paragraph

Once the text has been highlighted, you will have the option to cut, copy, paste or select all.

Undo & redo

There are system wide gestures now available which are much better than shake to undo. With three fingers you can swipe left to undo and swipe right to redo.

Multitasking on Face ID phones

Double pressing the Touch ID button on your phone would bring up a card view of running apps, but without a button, that's not possible on Face ID phones anymore. Now, just swipe up half way without letting go and you'll get the same view as before.

To jump through previously opened apps, just swipe left and right on the bar at the bottom.

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