VoiceOver Gestures on iPhone & iPad: Complete Guide

6 Min Read

You want to learn iphone voiceover gestures but don’t know where to start. No problem. In this step-by-step guide, I’ll explain in details how to navigate your iPhone using iOS voiceover gestures. Below is a full list of VoiceOver gestures on iPhone and iPad. All text, single document. Verified in iOS and iPadOS 13 using VoiceOver Practice; (Settings>Accessibility>VoiceOver>VoiceOver practice).
Not sure how to use VoiceOver on iPhone X or newer? I’ve discussed iOS voiceover gestures for iPhone X and later below in the article. If you want to use VoiceOver on iPhone, there are a few iOS Voiceover gestures which you need to know.
How to use voiceover on iPhone and iPad
Here is the step-by-step guide which will help you to use VoiceOver on your iPhone and iPad like a pro.
Note: Much of the information gathered below is a rearrangement of
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.

voiceover gestures for iPhone and iPad

The following is a complete list of VoiceOver gestures on iOS and iPadOS.

Basic Navigation VoiceOver gestures

The most direct technique of navigating your iPhone and iPad with VoiceOver is to lightly drag a finger around on the screen and listen to what the VoiceOver announces. VoiceOver will speak every item you touch. Without further ado, here is a complete list of voiceover gestures for iPhone and iPad.

VoiceOver Rotor

Use thumb and forefinger, like turning a knob on the surface, to choose different Rotor settings and navigation modes. VoiceOver Rotor can be rotated both
Clockwise and anticlockwise. Use 1 Finger flick up and down, to adjust each setting or to navigate in the selected mode. In addition, you can 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.

  • 2 finger rotation: choose a rotor setting
  • Swipe up: move to the previous item or increase depending on the rotor setting
  • Swipe down: move to the next item or decrease depending on the rotor setting


  • 1 Finger flick right: move focus to next item.
  • 1 finger flick left: move focus to the previous item.
  • 2 Fingers flick left: not mapped.
  • 2 Fingers flick right: move to related content.
  • 3 Fingers flick right: scroll right one page.
  • 3 Fingers flick left: scroll left one page.:
  • 4 Fingers flick right: switch to next or previous running app.

Flick Up or Down

  • 1 Finger flick Up/Down: move focus to next or previous item using Rotor setting. Or change the status of the current Rotor setting.
  • 2 Fingers flick Down: read page starting at selected item.
  • 2 Fingers flick Up: read page starting at top.
  • 3 Fingers flick Up: scroll down one page.
  • 3 Fingers flick down: scroll up one page.
  • 3 Fingers flick Down when VoiceOver Focus is in the Status Bar: launches Notification Center.
  • 3 Fingers flick Up when VoiceOver Focus is in the Status Bar: launches Control Center.
  • 4 Fingers flick up/down: not mapped.


  • 1 Finger single tap: : select an item without activating:
  • 2 fingers single tap: if VoiceOver is speaking, pauses and resumes speaking.
  • 3 Fingers single tap: speak page numbers, rows being displayed, or image description.
  • 4 Fingers single tap Near Top: move to first element on the screen (usually top-left corner element).
  • 4 Fingers single tap Near Bottom: move to last element on the screen (usually bottom-right corner element).

Double Tap

  • 1 Finger double tap: activate the selected item.
  • 2 Fingers double tap: stop and start the current activity. Answers or hangs up a call, pauses or resumes a video or music playback, and many more. Check VoiceOver practice.
  • 3 Fingers double tap: mutes or unmutes VoiceOver.
  • 4 Fingers double tap: starts and stops VoiceOver help.

Triple Tap

  • 1 Finger triple tap: double tap the selected item.
  • 2 Fingers triple tap: activate Item Chooser.
  • 3 Fingers triple tap: turn Screen Curtain on and off.
  • 4 Fingers triple tap: not mapped.

Special VoiceOver Gestures

  • 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 an 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 making a ‘Z’ with the two fingers close together. Dismisses alerts or return to the previous screen.
  • Two-finger double-tap and hold: Edit an item’s label to make it easier to find
  • 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> 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.

voiceover finger gestures for iPad

Here are voiceover gestures for ipad:

  • 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.

New VoiceOver Gestures with the iPhone X or later

The iPhone X and later models do not have the Home button.  So how do you perform the actions that used to be done with the Home button?

Here is the basic idea: you place one finger on the very top or bottom of the screen, and slide it toward the other end. In case you are on the top,
you simply slide it down; In case you’re on the bottom, you simply slide it up. You have to start from the area nearest to the top or bottom edge; too far from that and iOS
will assume you’re just touching the screen normally, not trying to initiate one of these new gestures. You will recognize if you’ve started in the appropriate area
by the special click your iPhone will make. This very click , at higher pitches, is used to indicate what will happen during your swipe. The first instance of the
sound–heard when your finger lands on the right place–is the lowest-pitched of the three iOS will produce. If you initiate this gesture inadvertently, or
decide halfway through that you do not want to implement it, simply slide your finger either left or right. In addition, you could allow your finger to linger at the same place for
a second. This stops the action and brings you back to normal , with VoiceOver speaking what’s beneath your finger.

New VoiceOver Gestures replacing function of the Home button

Starting at the very bottom of the screen and slide one finger up. You will feel three haptic vibrations known as “clicks” (similar to the old “click”
when pressing the Home button). Each of these three clicks will trigger a function. Note: The first click alerts you that you are in the feature.

  • Goto the Home screen: From the bottom of the screen slide one finger up until you hear the second click. Lift your finger from the screen.
  • Activate the App Switcher: From the bottom of the screen, slide one finger up until you feel the third click. Lift your finger from the screen.
  • Activate Reachability mode (if enabled in Settings): From the bottom of the screen, slide one finger up until you feel the first click. Quickly flick

Control Centre and Notifications

Follow these steps to launch control center and Notification center on iPhone X or newer using voiceover.

  • Access the Control Center: From the top of the screen, slide one finger down until you feel the second click. Lift your finger from the screen.
  • Access the Cover Sheet (also called Notification Center): From the top of the screen, slide one finger down until you feel the second click. Lift your
    finger from the screen.

Button reassignments

In case you’re conversant with the arrangement of Apple devices ever since the iPhone 6, where the power button is located on the right-hand side of the device, the
button on iPhone X or later is placed in the same location , however, it is longer, therefore, it’s easier to access.
The side button executes the following functions.

  • Tap the side button once to lock and unlock your screen. In addition, it is possible to wake your iPhone 11 by performing one finger tap on any section of the screen. you
    can disable this latter option in Accessibility Settings if you don’t like it.
  • Siri: old the side button down to initiate Siri
  • Apple Pay: Double-tap the side button when you have Apple Pay set up to indicate that you wish to make a transaction. In addition, it is essential to double-click
    the side button to proceed with a purchase in Apple’s stores such as the App Store and Book’s Store, to prevent Face ID from accidentally spending all
    your money.
  • Accessibility settings. Triple-click the side button to initiate any accessibility settings you’ve set up, and to cause VoiceOver to speak during set-up.
  • Emergency SOS. When configured, press the side button five times to trigger the emergency SOS feature.

Use the side button in combination with the volume up and down buttons to execute the following functions.

  • Hold the side button with either volume up or down to power off your device
  • Press the side button and release with volume up quickly to take a screen shot.

Finally, in case you may want to
Force restart your iPhone
in situations where it stops responding appropriately and you are unable to power it down, simply press the buttons in the following order quickly

  • Volume up
  • Volume Down
  • Hold the side button.

Now, your iPhone will restart.

Learn iPhone voiceover gestures, now you know

If you were looking for VoiceOver gestures on iPhone and iPad, there you have it. I hope this guide has helped you to master iPhone voiceover gestures. Note: it may be possible that I have passed over a gesture, so please let me know in the comments below of any others that you might be aware of!
For step-by-step information and explanation on how to initially use VoiceOver, check out our guide: Getting Started with VoiceOver on iOS and iPadOS.

Share This Article
GeeksModo Staff is a team of iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch experts led by Moses Johnson. We're passionate about all things Apple!
Leave a comment