Common Touchscreen Gestures: What You Should Know

Aug 9, 2023

Gestures are the basis by which users control touchscreens. Whether you’re trying to control a smartphone, tablet or any other type of touchscreen, you’ll need to make a gesture. A single finger tap, for instance, is a gesture. By tapping the display interface, you can control the touchscreen. But there are other gestures besides the single finger tap. Here are some common touchscreen gestures that you need to know.


Swiping is a common touchscreen gesture. Many touchscreen apps and operating systems support swiping. If you’re viewing a photo gallery, for instance, you may be able to navigate the photos by swiping. Swiping to the left will typically return to the previous photo, whereas swiping to the right will proceed to the next photo. Swiping is used to cycle between multiple items, such as photos, in a given set.

Pinch to Zoom

Pinch to zoom is a common touchscreen gesture. It’s a multi-touch gesture that, like other multi-touch gestures, involves two or more simultaneous points of contact. To perform pinch to zoom, you’ll need to pinch the touchscreen’s display interface with two fingers.

You can use your thumb and index finger to perform pinch to zoom. Pinching your thumb and index finger together will typically zoom into the image that you are viewing. Pinching your thumb and index finger away from each other, in comparison, will typically zoom out of the image that you are viewing.

Drag and Drop

Another touchscreen gesture you need to know is drag and drop. You can move app icons and other digital elements by dragging and dropping them. This gesture typically requires tapping and holding the digital element, followed by “dragging” it with your finger to a new location.

Double Tap

In addition to the single finger tap gesture, there’s the double tap feature. The double tap gesture is exactly what it sounds like: two consecutive and quick taps. When you perform a single finger tap, followed by another single finger tap in rapid succession, the touchscreen may register it as a double tap. The double tap gesture is often used to unlock additional options or settings that aren’t possible with the single finger tap gesture.

Custom Gestures

Some touchscreen operating systems and apps also have their own custom gestures. You may be able to draw a figure, for instance, to unlock your touchscreen. When using an app, you may be able to perform a different custom feature to control it.

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