A Complete List of iOS Gestures Available to VoiceOver Users

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

Below is a listing of iOS finger gestures arranged by gesture type. All text, single document. Verified in iOS 10, using VoiceOver Practice; (Settings>General>Accessibility>VoiceOver>VoiceOver Practice).

Additional tips given at bottom.

Note: Much of the information gathered below is a rearrangement of Apple's original materials. Some editing has been performed to better fit the layout. Some editor's additions have been included, from experience and use.

Portions copyright Apple, Inc. All rights reserved.

Basic Navigation

The most direct method of navigation is to lightly drag a finger around on the screen and listen to what it touches. VoiceOver will speak everything you touch.

The Rotor

Use thumb and forefinger, like turning a knob on the surface, to choose different Rotor settings and navigation modes. The Rotor can be turned in both directions. Use 1 Finger flick up and down, to adjust each setting or to navigate in the chosen mode.

You can also place a finger from one hand on the screen, then drag a finger from the other hand around it in a circular motion and it will turn the Rotor.


Flick Right or Left

1 Finger: move focus to next or previous item.

2 Fingers: not mapped.

3 Fingers: scroll left or right one page.

4 Fingers: switch to next or previous running app.

Flick Up or Down

1 Finger Up/Down: move focus to next or previous item using Rotor setting. Or change the status of the current Rotor setting.

2 Fingers Down:, read page starting at selected item.

2 Fingers Up: read page starting at top.

3 Fingers Up/Down: scroll up or down one page.

3 Fingers Down when VoiceOver Focus is in the Status Bar: loads Notification Center.

3 Fingers Up when VoiceOver Focus is in the Status Bar: loads Control Center.

4 Fingers: not mapped.


Single Tap

1 Finger: select an item without activating.

2 Fingers: if VoiceOver is speaking, pauses and resumes speaking.

3 Fingers: speak page numbers or rows being displayed.

4 Fingers Near Top: move to first element on the screen (usually top-left corner element).

4 Fingers Near Bottom: move to last element on the screen (usually bottom-right corner element).

Double Tap

1 Finger: activate the selected item.

2 Fingers: stop and start the current activity. Answers or hangs up a call, pauses or resumes a video or music, plus others. See VoiceOver practice.

3 Fingers: toggles speech on and off.

4 Fingers: toggles VoiceOver help on or off.

Triple Tap

1 Finger: double tap the selected item.

2 Fingers: activate Item Chooser.

3 Fingers: toggles Screen Curtain on and off.

4 Fingers: not mapped.

Unique Gestures and Tips

Quadruple Tap with 3 Fingers: copy last spoken phrase to the clipboard.

Double Tap with 1 Finger and Hold: drags the selected item. On the Home screen, move, edit or delete apps. In text, pop-up window with editing options.

Double Tap with 2 Fingers and Hold: set a custom label.

Split Tap: place a finger on the selected item, then tap anywhere with another finger to activate the selection.

Activate Anywhere: when a item is selected, you can double-tap anywhere on the screen to activate the item. No need to tap directly on the item.

2 Finger Scrub: like drawing a 'Z' with both fingers close together. Dismisses alerts or goes back one screen.

2 Finger Double Tap: when editing text in any field or app, starts and stops dictation.

One Finger Double Tap and Drag: adjust a slider to a new position.

Triple Click Home Button: turns VoiceOver on and off (cam be customized in Settings>General>Accessibility>Accessibility Shortcut).

App Switcher: double-click the Home button to access all running apps; 1 finger flick left or right to move between the apps; double-tap an app with 1 finger to switch to that app; 3 finger flick up to quit a running app.

2 Finger Pinch Open: select text.

2 Finger Pinch Close: unselect text..

iPad Only:

4 Finger Tap Near Right Side of Screen: move focus to next app.

4 Finger Tap Near Left Side of Screen: move focus to previous app.

Note: it is entirely possible that I have overlooked a gesture, so please let me know in the comments of any others that you are aware of.



The guide on this page has generously been submitted by a member of the AppleVis community. As AppleVis is a community-powered website, we make no guarantee, either express or implied, of the accuracy or completeness of the information contained in this guide.


A few more items

On an iPad, you can swipe left with three fingers while focused on the status bar to bring up the slide over panel for multitasking.

A three-finger tap will also announce the VoiceOver hint for the item currently focused, if it has a custom hint. This can be useful if you have hints turned off, but an app has some additional details buried in the hint.

A double-tap in the status bar will scroll to top. If there are two views side by side, a double-tap on the left side of the status bar will scroll the left pane to the top, while a double-tap on the right side of the status bar scrolls the right pane to the top.

At least on an iPad, a five-finger swipe up will bring up the app switcher, the same as a double-click of the home button. Also, a five-finger pinch returns to the home screen. I don't know if these gestures work on iPhones or not.

Another VoiceOver gesture for the iPhone

Another VoiceOver gesture for the iPhone is the 4 finger swipe. For example if you have multiple apps running, turn your iPhone as if it is in landscape mode, then swipe up or down with 4 fingers on the screen to switch between the running apps. This gesture also works on iPad and iPod touch.

Thank you for your comments.

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

Hello dvdmth and Fatima.Hamoud10,

Thank you for the excellent additions. They make this a much better resource. I appreciate your comments and contributions. I feel that I should note, part of the credit for my blogs and posts goes to the AppleVis Editorial team and the wonderful work that they do.
Another part goes to the excellent comments contributed by members of the AppleVis Community, such as yourselves. I am very gratified to be a small part of AppleVis!
Thank you again for your comments.

An exclamation and another gesture

First, how in the world did I not know you could place a finger on the screen, then move another around to turn to certain router options. I've been using the two finger twist this whole time. No wonder I hated the router. Second, on an Ipad, if you place five fingers on the screen and move them around like you would with one finger to look around with voiceover, the screen will scroll left, right up and down as it does when voiceover is turned off and you move your finger around the screen. That is such a cool feature I just suddenly discovered. Also, when you say a command is not programmed, does that mean you can create custom gestures?

Custom gestures

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

Hello Remy_C,
Thank you for your excellent comments. I did not know about dragging 5 fingers around, very nice!
After I read your question about custom gestures I became curious. Unfortunately I could find no place in the iOS settings to make custom gestures specifically for VoiceOver.
The term Not Mapped refers to a gesture where Apple did not assign any action. On the mac, using Trackpad Commander, you can create custom gestures which are activated by holding down one of the control keys. On Mac you can also create custom keystrokes which can be assigned to Not Mapped keys, or replace existing keys. I too was hoping for this type of functionality in iOS. To my current knowledge this is not possible.
Something that may help in certain situations:
The Assistive Touch menu allows for custom gestures, this feature is mainly intended for those who might have adaptive needs with controlling their touch on the screen. After a look, it seems like a customizable widget that can be accessed from the edge of the iOS screen. A shape will appear on the screen with 6 positions, 3 across the top, 2 in the middle and 1 on the bottom. You can add or remove positions. Each position has default actions assigned; SIRI, Notifications, etc. In the Assistive Touch settings, Customize Top Level Menu, you can edit or add a new actions for each position. For certain functions this may also help a VO user, though it would involve navigating an additional item on the screen.
Farther down in the settings is an option for creating a custom gesture. These can be added to the "Custom" position on the Assistive Touch menu.
After playing with this with VO I decided it would require help to set up with any certainty. Apple's instructions direct me to choose the amount of fingers for the new gesture, but VO never lands on this option, so I am not sure what gesture I am actually making.
However, I must say that I am very impressed with the ability to customize the main Assistive Touch menu.

Using Assistive Touch:

Sorry for the side-track, sometimes other adaptive tech can blend very well with the use of VoiceOver, at least in some situations. To explore these features more would probably take an entire blog post. Hmm. :-)
Thank you again for your great contributions! They are always welcome.
Best regards.

Gesture Pass Thru

At one point a double tap and hold would allow for another iOS default gesture to be passed through to iOS. This seems to have been replaced by dragging.
Has anyone found if the pass through gesture exists in some other form? Thanks.