iPad Multi-Tasking Gestures Stop Working Periodically in iOS 8

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I’m getting a problem that is being reported on a few other forums, where the multi tasking gestures on the iPad (4 finger pinch for the home screen, and 4 finger swipe to switch apps) randomly stops working. The option is still enabled in Settings > General, but the gesture no longer works.

Some have reported that its related to the new keyboard replacements in iOS 8 but I have not installed any on my devices so that doesn’t appear to be the problem. I’ve yet to see any pattern in usage prior to the gesture becoming inoperative.

A workaround appears to be to disable the multitasking gestures options in settings and then re-enable the option and see whether it works. In at least one instants that I’ve experienced it was necessary to actually completely shut down the iPad and restarted (hold down the lock key until the slide to power off message is displayed then once shutdown, hold down the lock key again until you see the Apple logo.

Update: This problem still seems to exist on iOS 8.1. Occurring on both iPad mini (original) and iPad Air.

Update: This is reported to be fixed in iOS 8.1.3. I’ve so far not experienced this problem in this version. Will update if it comes back.


  1. Go to Settings > General and toggle the Multitasking Gestures option off then on.
  2. Pull down from the top of the screen to reveal the Notification Centre, then swipe back up to hide it.
  3. Rotate screen orientation (i.e. from Portrait to Landscape) – if the orientation doesn’t change, you will need to make sure rotation lock is switched off, either in Settings > General or Control Centre (swipe up from bottom of screen)

43 thoughts on “iPad Multi-Tasking Gestures Stop Working Periodically in iOS 8

    1. Here is how to fix this problem (temporarily) : Go to Settings Go to General Tap on Accessibility Scroll to the bottom find Assistive Touch Toggle between On and Off This should solve the problem by now!! If it does not work restart your device!!

  1. Same problem here. Nothing fixes it on my mini. Quality control seems nonexistent these days and not just with Apple. Everyone just dumps a beta on the public and expect us to “test” it. I think we need to stand up and say enough is enough, we pay them for functioning products.

    1. It does appear that there are a number of somewhat surprising bugs in this release. It would be interesting to note if these problems were reported during beta testing. Apple only use the developer community for testing (plus internal resources) but it’s not the same as real world testing, as the priorities are different.

  2. The Siri fix has reduced the frequency but hasn’t completely resolved the problem, I apologise. I still get the odd multigesture failure and the only solution is to disable multigesture and re-enable. We can only sit here and wait for the 8.01 I am afraid.

  3. Swiping down to see the notifications and then swiping back up seems to bring the multi tasking gestures back to life on my iPad Air. Very bizarre.

  4. I am having same problem on iPad. Turning it off and on in settings works. Also, I have just tried pulling the Notifications screen down from the top has also worked! Thanks for the tip! I have not upgraded to 8.02 yet.

  5. I have also experienced this issue. Having to reboot your ipad every time to temporarily get this functionality to work is not an acceptable solution. I am running iOS 8.02 and the issues still exists.

    It’s like microsoft fix one thing break another……(windows 8 🙂 )

  6. Same issue here. Love early adopting, but this release has been the worse. Have an iPad 2 and ios 8 has ground it to a halt. Thanks for the notifications tip as that is quicker to resolve than going to settings or rebooting.

  7. The same problem here. UI slower than it was on iOS 7.1. What is going on with Apple? Quality control went downhill? I wish I could downgrade. The hiccups of the system reminds me of Samsung tablets a lot.

  8. same problem. Every time the iPad goes to sleep and wakes up I have to go into settings turn it off and then back on and then it works, until the next time it goes to sleep.

  9. I have installed two new keyboards…Swype and Swiftkey…and thought that was the problem. Clearly, it is not. Thanks for the fixes. Much better than restarting.

  10. Ipad 2 16 gb wifi only, updated to 8.1……pinch to close email still sometimes fails to work for me. Yes, swiping notifications, or pressing home, or what have you, will re enable it, but it would always work on ios 7. I shouldn’t have to do extra swipes or skip the multi touch features just to close the app.

    On a side note, chrome works so much better and faster than safari, i’ve found.

  11. annoying indeed ! but flipping to portrait, swiping up control centre, swiping down calendar seems to work !! BUT why are we having to do this at all the amount of money this tablet cost !!!!!

  12. A fix.

    Pulling down the notification tab, and back up, serves as a warm boot and the four finger swipe is active again.

    Try it next time.

  13. Oh. So its not me alone. I started doubting my ability to operate my Ipad Mini or thought i must have fiddled with some unknown settings. I must try with Multitasking gestures OFF and ON.

  14. I have had the same problem on an iPad 3 and a brand new iPad Air 2. iOS 8.1.1 didn’t solve the problem. While it happens sporadically when using any app, I notice it most frequently when using the clock app–specifically when setting the timer. I reported the bug to Apple at 8.0. Still waiting for a fix. Pretty frustrating that Apple can’t seem to promptly address such a fundamental flaw.

  15. IPad3 ios8.1.2 …we have 2 ipad3’s and they both have bugs when closing apps with finger swipe..have to switch multitasking on-off or swipe down notification window to activate again…very buggy iPads now 🙁

  16. This bus is still (!) present in the last iOS 8.1.2 update (in my case on a iPad3 Retina). Unbelievable. Anyway, you needn’t go into settings to get it working again. Simply, anything screen related will fix it (for a while), so swiping down the notification bar (just making the ‘tab/lip’ display is enough) or even rotating your screen (assuming you have screen rotation enabled) will help. Still, it’s pretty useless that Apple hasn’t fixed this yet.

  17. Multigestures only work in ios 8 with your home button down when portrait and when its on the right when its landscape, or according to apple ” the correct way of holding theipad” no need to do anything, its not a bug, and probably will not get fixed, just hold the ipad as specified above

  18. I have the same issue which has progressed. Pulling down Notifications re-activates multitasking gestures. But now, about once a day, the multitasking screen freezes and Home button stops working. Sleep button get blank lock screen which doesn’t swipe or respond to Touch ID. Only a reset seems to restore things. AppleCare had no idea, so going to Genius Bar.

  19. I had this happen to me after trying the assistive touch feature. I had turned it off and restarted but it the issues still persisted. Also control Center was also not showing.

    This time I deleted custom gestures under Assistive Touch, disabled Assistive Touch. Disabled control center options. Left Multi touch gestures on, then shutdown, then restarted.

    The everything was working again.

    Judging from the timing It seemed to have been triggered by using the Assistive Touch features.

    On IOS 8.3 iPad Air 2

  20. Hello!! I’ve had the same problem since i bought my ipad. But fortunately i found the solution to our problem. When i try to type with two hands i accidentally press three fingers which activates the zoom menu. Might or might not have happened with you. Later i get these problems of milti-gesture. So i tried tried turning off the zoom options from the accessibility. As soon as i turned that off, there is no problem at all.

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