If you’re used to a keyboard, it may take a few minutes of practice to get used to the multitouch gestures used for navigating through an iPhone or other Apple iOS device. Fortunately, most of the gestures are quite intuitive, like tapping and swiping. Even if you have been using an iPhone for a while, some of these gestures might be new to you, like selecting whole paragraphs or rotating the screen, because not all apps use these features.
Swipe and Flick
Dragging your finger up and down or left and right on the screen in a swiping motion is the most common way to navigate through an iPhone. For example, swiping left or right on the iPhone’s home screen takes you to new pages of installed apps. Swiping upward on the screen on a Web page in Safari scrolls the page. Flicking your finger quickly can take you to the end of a page in many apps. This is due to inertial scrolling, which recognizes the speed with which your finger moves to determine how quickly or slowly the pages should scroll.
Tap, Double-Tap and Quadruple-Tap
Tapping on an iPhone is the basically the same as clicking a mouse on a computer. It is used primarily for selecting items. For example, tapping an icon on the iPhone home screen launches the application. Double-taps are usually used to zoom in and out on a page. When you are reading text, like on a Web page in Safari or using the Notes app, double-tapping a word highlights that word for copying or deleting. Tapping four times highlights the entire paragraph.
Tap, Hold and Drag
If you want to highlight more than a word of text and less than a full paragraph, try tapping the screen twice, holding your finger down for the second tap. The word is highlighted and you can then drag your finger across the text to increase the highlighted field. Holding down your finger on the text without the second tap brings up a magnifying glass, magnifying the text you are looking at. When the magnifying glass is visible, you can drag your finger across the screen to change what the magnifying glass is focused on.
Pinch and Rotate
Place a thumb and forefinger on the iPhone screen and then drag them together if you want to zoom out on a page. If you want to zoom in, drag them farther apart — this is called the “pinch-to-zoom” gesture. Some apps also take advantage of the rotate gesture. When you put your thumb and forefinger on the screen and then rotate them clockwise or counterclockwise, the image on the screen will rotate as you move your fingers. Of course these gestures don’t work the same on every app.