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Dear iPad user: please stop using AssistiveTouch

Hidden inside the Settings menu of each iOS device is an “Accessibility” function that allows user to tweak some aspect of the interface in order to make it more usable by people who have poor eyesight or have impaired motor-function in using their hands and fingers. One of the function from the Accessibility menu is the Assistive touch feature which when enabled, produces a small, opaque virtual button which permanently hovers on the top of the iOS user interface. I’ve noticed more and more people using the AssistiveTouch virtual button but not one of them had any form of disability. The use of the AssistiveTouch button is used to simply act as a “Home” button, as all of these Assistive Touch users say, they would rather using a floating, virtual button than to use the actual home button to avoid “breaking” the physical home button. Although I have never experienced having a broken Home button on all of the iOS devices that I have owned, I do understand the precaution being taken.

But, a huge shame is that for the iPad and iPad Mini, one doesn’t need to bother with the AssistiveTouch button to avoid using the home button. Under the General tab in the Settings menu, there is an option there to use Multitasking Gestures. Once enabled, there are three amazing things you can do with Multitasking Gestures; use four fingers to “pinch” back to the home screen, use four fingers to “swipe” up to reveal the multitasking bar and use four fingers to “swipe” left or right to jump between open applications.

Three simple commands to make your iPad and iPad Mini more functional with the added benefit of not having to use the physical home button. Apple has really simplified the iOS user interface that anybody can instantly pick-up an iPad or iPad Mini and start using it without having to read the instructions. That’s one of the reason why most users are clueless about the Multitasking Gestures function of the iPad which is quite frankly, a damn shame.

Me, I’ve gotten so used to using Multitasking Gestures on my iPad 4 that I never use the physical home button. I just wish Apple can implement some sort of gesture for the iPhone and iPod Touch.

I hope this short tutorial has convinced you to ditch the AssistiveTouch button and start rocking your iPad and iPad Mini with gesture controls.



Gadgets and video games are what Howard loves and he was fortunate enough to have dabbled in both worlds professionally. A former Editor-in-Chief of a local gaming magazine, Howard is currently busy jumping from one industry to another, analyzing and writing about all of the electronic toys he loves. His favorite noodles: Pork Leg Bihon.

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    • ronymd|

      Yup no need for the assisstive touch button, been using gestures on the ipad since day 1. Best thing to do is to tell other users about how much simpler gestures are. On the iphone, however, this button becomes useful. Unless of course you have JBken iPhone, then you would prefer Zephyr. Swipe up to go to the home screen, swipe up slower to reveal the multitasking screen, swipe left or right for each app as you would with the iPad! Hope they implement this on iOS7!:)


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