Two Finger Scrub

iOS & iPadOS

I’m sure this subject has been covered before, but I could really use some help. I am having trouble mastering the two finger scrub gesture to go back. I can do it by shaking my wrist back and forth, but doing this hurts my hand after a while. Therefore, does anyone have any suggestions on what else to try? The description of making a z makes no sense to me.



Submitted by Piotr Machacz on Sunday, May 13, 2018

Put 2 fingers on the screen right next to each other. Then in one motion, slide them down, up and down again. The movements don't have to be very big, and you can do it in any direction (sliding right left right will work as well). If this still doesn't help, imagine you're holding a cloth and you want to clean the screen by gently rubbing a small spot on it. That's the motion you're going for with 2 fingers.

Submitted by Michael Hansen on Sunday, May 13, 2018

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Think of the two-finger scrub gesture as being similar to scrubbing the surface of a table, except that the scrub gesture is left-to-right. Place two fingers on the screen, roughly in the middle. Move them left and right a couple times. When you're starting to practice, exagerate your movements so that you're moving your fingers almost to either edge of the screen... Then make the movements smaller as you get more comfortable.

Submitted by TJT 2001 on Monday, May 14, 2018

The direction you scrub your fingers really shouldn't matter, and they shouldn't have to move more than about a centimetre (half an inch) from their starting position.

Submitted by Dawn 👩🏻‍🦯 on Monday, May 14, 2018

I had the same reaction when I was told about this!! lol

Plus, it works better in some appi than others. In my opinion at least. I've had my ipad for 3 years this June, and I still mess it up a lot. Only way I mastered it, is I got the z out of my head.

Submitted by Kelsey Nicolay on Sunday, May 20, 2018

I’ve been trying th scrub gesture and am still having a hard time with it. When I go to the Voiceover practice screen, it’s registering as a one finger flick right. The best luck I’ve had is turning the phone sideways and scrubbing up and down. It’s not easy to hold a phone in landscape mode, but I may have to settle for that if nothing else works.

Submitted by Jeff on Monday, May 21, 2018

If your hands are small and your two fingers are very close together, perhaps the phone isn't seeing it as 2 fingers, hence your problem. Try separating your 2 fingers slightly, maybe about a finger's width apart.

The key is to perform the back and forth motion fluidly without pausing or lifting your fingers.

Hope this helps.

Submitted by Seanoevil on Monday, May 21, 2018

Hi Kelsey,

Judging by the number of replies you've received,the AppleVis Community feels your frustration and wants to help.

If I may make a couple of suggestions:
1. Relax and take your time with this gesture. There is no rush, it is not a flick.
2. Separate your fingers, so VO recognises the two finger touch. I trialled it with fingers inches apart and it works, so there is no need to press your fingers together..
3. Sometimes smaller is better. I complete this gesture within a square inch of screen space, so there is no need to make bold or sweeping movements.
4. Constant, light pressure. No tapping, no poking, no flicking, no pointing, no stabbing just a simple fluid, back and forth motion.
The technique that works for me is:
Letting my first two fingers fall comfortably on the left side of the screen, a little apart, I apply a light but constant pressure as I move them an inch to the right, an inch to the left (angled slightly downwards) and finally an inch to the right.
I am touching the screen only with the pads of two fingers.
Instead of going straight to your iDevice, I wonder whether it may help if you practiced the motion on the Palm of your hand..?



I have no idea what I did, but it did work once in Safari. I probably could not reproduce what I did though. Anyway, I find using my fingertips much more comfortable since I used to play piano which requires curved fingers. My fingers were barely apart, maybe an eighth of an inch. Whe I talked to Apple accessibility, they had me go right, angle down to the left, then back right. I think the diagonal part is what I’m not quite getting. I am going to try and go to an Apple Store so they can physically guide my hand, but I’m not sure when I’ll be able to get there.

Submitted by david s on Monday, May 21, 2018


Use your pointer and middle finger. Keep them together, no space. Start from the left,put both fingers on the screen at the same time. Without spreading or lifting your fingers move them to the right then back leftthen back right. Straight line is fine, no need to move diagonally.

I suggest trying it on the news app. Select a story then use the scrub to go back to the main page.

Or, since you can do this while the device in landscape, keep your phone in portrait but rotate your hand 90 degrees. This way, you will be performing the up and down movement but side ways. LOL. Okay, the last part sounds silly but we really want to help you do this.

HTH and good luck.

Submitted by Holger Fiallo on Monday, May 21, 2018

I tried but does not work for me. I follow all instruction but does not make a difference for me. Using iPhone 7, iOS 11.3.1

Submitted by Kelsey Nicolay on Monday, May 21, 2018

In reply to by Holger Fiallo

Holger, I feel your pain. I’m using 11.3.1 except I have an iphone 8. I’m thinking thi is a bug since now I am not the only one having the issue with the scrub.

Submitted by Justin on Monday, May 21, 2018

I feel your pain, also. Understand there's loads of ways to do these gestures. Here's what I do, naturally I've got small hands. Put two fingers on the screen, use fingertips, not the whole finger. Move them up and down, not right to left, up and down. Do this in the VO practice screen. It'll tell you if you got it right. Hopefully it works, i understand the frustration, it took me a while to get it right, but once I did it's very simple now. Also, do it in portrait mode, I never use landscape mode unless an app automatically puts the phone in landscape. I have portrait lock turned on, so it's always in portrait.

Submitted by Kelsey Nicolay on Sunday, May 27, 2018

For some reason, landscape mode seems to be easier with the scrub gesture. It takes several attempts before the gesture will work; it is not consistent. Part of me wants to go to an Apple Store for help, but I’m not sure what they can do for me. I would hate to get there only to find they can’t help me. I think having someone physically demonstrate the motion would help.

Submitted by Holger Fiallo on Sunday, May 27, 2018

Do have small fingers and did follow all instruction about how to do it but is not working. Maybe apple will visit all bugs with accessibility on iOS 12 since they are looking more into getting the iOS stable and free of bugs.

Submitted by Kelsey Nicolay on Sunday, May 27, 2018

In reply to by Holger Fiallo

I agree; hopefully this will be fixed. I’m not sure if it’s a bug or not, but one thing you might want to try is if you have an ACB or NFB chapter near you, see if someone there can take your hand and physically demonstrate the motion. That’s what I’m going to do before reporting it as a bug.