iOS 5 multitasking gestures on iPad

Update: It’s now being reported iOS 5.0.1 is being released soon, and it’ll add the multitasking gestures to the 1st generation iPad. Looks like people at Apple realised they screwed up, and are correcting the mistake. Case closed.

One of the nice new features promoted by Apple for iOS is the Multitasking Gestures which allow you to swipe from app to app. They’ve been testing this on iOS 4 for a long time, and I’ve used them quite a bit on my iPad 1. I’ve especially been using the 5 finger pinch to exit an app, and four finger swipe up to show the app switch menu. The feature was only available to developers in the past, but became available to all users at the launch of iOS 5.

Except it didn’t, Apple killed the feature on iPad 1 on iOS 5’s release version.

I’m guessing this was a last minute decision on Apple’s part, since they launched iOS 5 with a page describing the features that said the features is available on “iPad”, indicating both iPad 1 and iPad 2 were supported. Apple has now silently changed the features page to say the feature is for iPad 2 only, but the UK site and other international sites are still carrying the original page.


So, nice little fail from Apple’s part that’s infuriating the early iPad adopters. I can see why they chose to not support the side swipe from app to app which wasn’t 100% smooth, but it completely beats me why the pinch to exit and 4 finger swipe up were eliminated, as they simply replicated the behavior of the hardware button. So – Apple – could you please add the feature back, and give the users the choice on activating it or not, the way it used to work?

3 thoughts on “iOS 5 multitasking gestures on iPad

  1. Ian Betteridge

    In iOS 4, you could enable this on iPad using a bit of trickery with Xcode – can you still do this, I wonder?

  2. Sulka Post author

    Sadly, that’s been removed. The only way to re-enable the gestures is to jailbreak the device. :(

  3. Adam Martin

    I believe this is part of a deliberate campaign to get rid of iPad1 – make sure they all get binned – and I’m not sure I blame them (even though I have several iPad1’s)

    Since iPhone launch, Apple has worked hard to prevent developers from making apps backwards compatible – e.g. we’re now not even “allowed” to develop for iPhone 3, or for iOS 2.x.

    But iPad1 is a special case: in practice, it has LESS memory and graphics power than the *old* iPod Touch – it has to drive a large screen using a slow CPU/GPU and very very little RAM. I think iPad1 was an accident on Apple’s part – probably it was pushed to market sooner than they were happy with, and the components were just a bit too underpowered.

    Now they need to get rid of them. As a deeloper, supporting iPad1 is horrible right now: it’s so massively underpowered. Look at top-notch iPhone4 games, then try them on iPad1 – they tend to look worse, pixel for pixel – because they ARE worse, the devs often have to downgrade them. Makes Apple look bad, makes develoeprs look bad.

    There’s way fewer ipad1 than ipad2. It’s painful to support ipad1 knowing it’s a minority – but that it’s a minority of 10 million (according to court documents Apple was forced to post)

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