This Swipe Gesture Lets You Go Back On An iPhone

This Swipe Gesture Lets You Go Back On An iPhone

Apple mentions various swipe gestures to navigate around an iPhone but doesn’t describe the very useful swipe back gesture that exists.

Most iPhone gestures are well documented but there’s one incredibly useful gesture that Apple hasn’t mentioned at all. There’s a well-known button for moving backward in a website or browser tab, somewhat like tapping undo after making a mistake when editing a document or drawing a picture. The back button is also invaluable to return to the previous page, window, or screen in an app, and using a gesture makes it even easier.

The back gesture isn’t a new idea and in 2008, Apple introduced multi-touch trackpad gestures to control a MacBook, one of which was a two-finger swipe gesture to go back. The first iPhone to accept a swipe gesture as a replacement for a back button was one that had been jailbroken and included a tweak named SwipeBack. Developed in 2012 it worked with the Cydia jailbreak to bring this convenient feature to a mobile device.


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In Apple’s current guide to iPhone gestures, it covers swiping up to unlock the device, something every iPhone owner knows. Multitasking gestures are a bit more obscure with a swipe up and pause in the middle to see open apps. Swiping near the bottom on the multitasking bar is an even faster way to switch between apps. There are a few more beyond that, however. Apple neglects to mention that swipe right often works as a way to back up to the previous screen in many apps, including Safari, Mail, Reminders, Notes, and News. Many third-party apps support this gesture as well, such as Gmail, Chrome, Twitter, Facebook, Feedly, Asana, and Discord. While Apple doesn’t mention this as an official gesture, it is widely supported by most iPhone apps.

More iPhone Swipe Gestures

small iphone 12

Of course, some apps and many websites use swiping right and left as a way to navigate between photos and videos. Swiping right is incredibly useful and utterly impossible to know about unless reading about it from some source other than Apple or discovering it accidentally. Still, Apple does share a few more gestures and most are also great time-savers. Spotlight Search makes it easy to find almost anything on an iPhone. Apps, Settings, documents, photos, and more can be discovered quickly by swiping down from the middle of the Home Screen or Lock Screen to reveal a search box and bring up the keyboard.

Swiping down from the upper-right side of the screen opens the Control Center for quick access to screen brightness, volume, and much more. Swiping down from the top-center of the screen reveals notifications and a swipe left on any notification clears it. Swiping down from the bottom and off the edge of the screen activates Reachability, if enabled, to temporarily shift the top of the screen downward to reach higher more easily. These swipe gestures make an iPhone easier to use when known, so it’s worth trying each a few times to set up some muscle memory for that action.

Next: Use This Two-Finger Drag Gesture To Select All

Source: Apple

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Alan Truly
(1123 Articles Published)

Alan is a Tech Writer living in Nova Scotia, Canada. A tech-enthusiast since his youth, Alan stays current on what is new and what is next. With over 30 years experience in computer, video and photo equipment, you can expect useful tips and insights in his writing. Alan has a degree in programming, many years focused on design, editing, and animation. A period of managing logistics and e-commerce operations for a mobile accessories company rounds out a diverse background. Alan is a true jack of all digital trades in this ever-changing computer-enriched world. To stay flexible in mind and in body, he practices yoga, light cardio, and eats a whole food diet, based on minimally processed plants.

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