Subtle Change Makes iOS 9.2 App Switcher Easier to Use

On iOS, you switch apps by double-pressing the home button, then swiping. Previously on iOS 9, when you swiped, the windows would slide across the screen, and it was easy to swipe too far, and have to swipe back to get to the app you want.

App switcher

In iOS 9.2, Apple made a subtle change. When you swipe now, one window slides out of the way, but the stream of windows stops on the next one, instead of continuing, potentially past the window you want to tap. It’s as if the windows snap into position as you swipe.

This is easier to understand when you try it out. So go ahead, double-tap that home button, and swipe; you’ll see what I mean.

Update: it turns out that not everyone sees this. This new app switcher behavior only occurs if you have the Reduce Motion setting turned on in the Accessibility settings. I have Reduce Motion turned on to eliminate many of the swimmy animations in iOS which serve no purpose and are distracting.

14 thoughts on “Subtle Change Makes iOS 9.2 App Switcher Easier to Use

  1. For me it appears to work the old way. Maybe it is less sensitive than it used to be? I also don’t recall seeing the Handoff icon at the bottom (for example, I see the open Safari Tab from my laptop on my phone now when I’m in the switcher)

  2. For me it appears to work the old way. Maybe it is less sensitive than it used to be? I also don’t recall seeing the Handoff icon at the bottom (for example, I see the open Safari Tab from my laptop on my phone now when I’m in the switcher)

  3. Just tried it on my iPad Air that I upgraded to iOS 9.2 yesterday. In landscape mode, I don’t see what you describe as happening. Several windows appear, and they don’t stop on any window, they just keep sliding on past, depending on how severe I make the sliding motion.

    • Interestingly, several people said they weren’t seeing it, and I figured out why. I just added this to the end of the article:

      Update: it turns out that not everyone sees this. This new app switcher behavior only occurs if you have the Reduce Motion setting turned on in the Excess ability settings.

  4. Just tried it on my iPad Air that I upgraded to iOS 9.2 yesterday. In landscape mode, I don’t see what you describe as happening. Several windows appear, and they don’t stop on any window, they just keep sliding on past, depending on how severe I make the sliding motion.

    • Interestingly, several people said they weren’t seeing it, and I figured out why. I just added this to the end of the article:

      Update: it turns out that not everyone sees this. This new app switcher behavior only occurs if you have the Reduce Motion setting turned on in the Excess ability settings.

  5. Yeah, the change doesn’t work for me because I usually like the swimmy. I did turn it off a few weeks ago because I was experiencing bad battery drain. Upgrading to 9.1 (which I had resisted for a while) fixed that. I like 9.2 which means I actually don’t detect a difference. I do wish I could completely eliminate the Apple News App, though. Still using Picky and avoiding iTunes; still avoiding Apple Music. 😉 Also waiting for a number of apps to be upgraded to suit the iPad Pro, which we love.

  6. Yeah, the change doesn’t work for me because I usually like the swimmy. I did turn it off a few weeks ago because I was experiencing bad battery drain. Upgrading to 9.1 (which I had resisted for a while) fixed that. I like 9.2 which means I actually don’t detect a difference. I do wish I could completely eliminate the Apple News App, though. Still using Picky and avoiding iTunes; still avoiding Apple Music. 😉 Also waiting for a number of apps to be upgraded to suit the iPad Pro, which we love.

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