Apparently Apple enabled multitasking gestures on the iPad in a 4.3 beta but later removed them... However those that managed to get them have maintained them through future updates (at least up to 4.3.2).

This site http://www.tuaw.com/2011/03/13/want-new-gesture-controls-in-ios-4-3-on-your-ipad-heres-how/ describes a way to re-enable them if you do a collection of steps and buy an app but that seems a bit drastic for basic functionality.

Are there any other free options to re-enable this feature?

  • There's been rumors that you can do this with XCode 3 as well, which is free to download if you register as a developer at developer.apple.com but don't pay. I don't know this for sure, but you could give it a shot first. Saves you $5 maybe :). Apr 24 '11 at 17:33
  • Yes - if you agree to the free dev terms you can get Xcode 3 for this - see answer below for more details...
    – bmike
    Apr 25 '11 at 19:56

Both the latest Xcode 3 and the latest Xcode 4 allow you to mark an iPad with the latest 4.3.x as being "used for development". You can cancel if asked for your developer program credentials (which cost $99) and still have access to the gesture switch on the iPad.

Xcode 4 is only available presently as a $5 download from the Mac App store or with the $99 paid Mac Developer program as a restricted download. The free developer account (which still allows you to get Xcode 3) is fairly painless to set up as long as you can agree to all the conditions. You can see the various free and paid programs at http://developer.apple.com/programs/which-program/ - it used to be simpler but the free account is still fairly powerful but not on the cutting edge with pre-release

As with anything that is in software development, all things subject to change often and YMMV.


It's not basic functionality, really, it's special developer-only functionality; flipping a software switch is technically simple but it's pretty advanced (and often problematic) functionality in terms of how the OS is affected. As such your iPad has to think you're a developer before it will allow you to change the setting.

The two ways to convince it you're a developer:

  1. Join the paid iOS Developer Program for $99/year, download Xcode, and register your device.

  2. Pay $5 to download Xcode and register your device.

Only Xcode is capable of flipping that switch, outside of (potentially) jailbreaking.

  • I realize that its not super basic, but after seeing it in action, and seeing other devices (e.g. The BlackBerry PlayBook) excelling at multitasking I really miss it on the iPad. I'm also in an odd case whereby I own an iPad, but not a Mac. Thus going the developer route is actually very expensive (~$2,000 for the MacBook, + $99/yr for the dev program, + $5 for the Xcode/registration) ;-)
    – scunliffe
    Apr 25 '11 at 15:09

Based on my reading of that site, it is free. You can download XCode for free. You do not need to pay $99 to join the developer program.

  • I'm pretty sure that they eliminated Xcode downloads from the free version of the developer program at the same time as they made it available on the Mac App Store. I certainly heard it from a couple of people who tried it, but I can't easily check as I'm already a paying developer. Apr 25 '11 at 16:24
  • I can download Xcode and I have never paid Apple anything regarding development.
    – user588
    Apr 25 '11 at 18:42
  • Cool. I wonder if the source has any effect on enabling the developer options. Apr 25 '11 at 19:10
  • 1
    Xcode 3 is still free, but Xcode 4 (which I believe you need for this task) is not, unless you're part of the $99/year developer program. Individuals with free memberships can only download Xcode 3 from ADC. They have to get Xcode 4 from the app store for $5.
    – Ben Wyatt
    Apr 25 '11 at 19:45
  • @Ben Ah, that explains it. Didn't think you could do it for free anymore. Apr 29 '11 at 23:07

You should be able to enable this functionality on a jailbroken iPad via an app in Cydia. There are several out there that do this same feature for iPod Touches and iPhone 4s as well (in case you have them).

See http://www.chiphazard.com/2011/04/08/enable-multitasking-gestures-on-ios-4-3-1-without-xcode-or-sn0wbreeze-jailbreak/ for nice instructions on how to enable for iOS 4.3.1. It is possible that if you have 4.3.2 that it won't work, but it is worth a try. If you have no luck there, try http://smashingstories.com/2011/04/12/how-to-enable-multitasking-gestures-on-ios-4-3-1-with-cydia-tweak/.

(For the record, I have a Mac and used the XCode method, so I can't say it will work or not for the iPad.)

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