Daily tip: Scrolling on iPhone and iPad

Just get an iPhone or iPad and curious how to better scroll your way around apps like the Safari web browser? Apple has built a whole lotta multitouch goodness into iOS to help you out, and let's face it the faster and more accurately you can scroll, the better.

Thanks to SockRolid from TiPb's iPhone Forums, we'll show you a few quick tips to get you started... after the break.

Go to the top of a page

If you've flicked your way down a web page (or any long page), don't bother flicking to get back to the top. Just tap the status bar and you'll be instantly transported to the top of the page.

Unfortunately there's no "scroll to the bottom" shortcut, but scroll to the top works in almost all iPhone and iPad apps so consider that a bonus tip!

Tap to stop scrolling

If you've flicked madly and inertia has zoomed past what you wanted to see, you can tap the screen anywhere to instantly stop the scrolling. And tapping to to stop scrolling won't bring up the keyboard.

Scroll free or scroll constrained

If you start moving a page around diagonally you'll be able to keep moving it any which way you like -- up, down, left, right or any angle you please. If you start scrolling straight up or down, iOS will lock vertically so you can only keep scrolling up or down. This is handy for long text pages where you want to keep what you're reading in the frame.

Jump through the alphabet in Contacts

You can use this tip with Contacts any app that has the alphabet in a column on the right (the "index" as Apple calls it). Tap a letter in the index to jump right to the items whose names start with that letter. Or drag your finger to rapidly scroll through the alphabet.

We've found that lifting your finger occasionally causes the list to jump to the previous or next letter in the alphabet. If this happens to you, you might try sliding your finger off-screen to the right instead of lifting it up.

Scroll inside a form field

Some web pages, especially content management systems, have form fields with tons of text in them. Using one finger you can only move the whole page around, which makes it impossible to get to any off-screen text. However, if you place two fingers on the text in the form field, you can scroll that text instead of the whole page. Check the video up top to see how it's done.

Tips of the day will range from beginner-level 101 to advanced-level ninjary. If you already know this tip, keep the link handy as a quick way to help a friend. If you have a tip of your own you’d like to suggest, add them to the comments or send them in to dailytips@tipb.com. (If it’s especially awesome and previously unknown to us, we’ll even give ya a reward…)

Have something to say about this story? Share your comments below! Need help with something else? Submit your question!

Georgia

Senior Editor at iMore and a practicing therapist specializing in stress and anxiety. She speaks everywhere from conferences to corporations, co-host of Vector, Review, and Isometric podcasts, and should be followed on Twitter @Georgia_Dow.

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Reader comments

Daily tip: Scrolling on iPhone and iPad

36 Comments

Two finger scroll on text field is definitely a ninja tip. I didn't know about that one.
Let's see all the haters knock on the Daily Tips now...

Indeed, I've been using iOS for over two years, and never knew about the two finger scroll and I'd definitely been frustrated.
Great tip!

Scrolling inside a form field is indeed the best tip. I also only discovered that one in early 2010.

I've never had much luck with the alphabet list on the right side of Contacts. I suppose it can get you close, and would be a bit of a time saver if you have a lot of contacts, but you always have to scroll afterwards anyway. Also, if you slide off the side or move your finger at all when you lift up, it can be very confusing. I never use it myself. Search would probably be faster and more accurate if you have a lot of contacts.

Oh, and just the clarify the two-finger tip, you have to drag two fingers inside the text box, not just anywhere on the page. In Rene's video, the text box pretty much fills the screen, but some text boxes are ridiculously short and on the iPad you might have a lot of other parts of the page visible.

omg thank god I actually finished watching that video! I almost quit, because the first half was "duh!". Glad I stuck it out.

Great tip on the 2 finger scroll. I've had all 4 iPhones and an iPad and I didn't know that.
One tip I didnt see that I use all the time is, when you are text messaging and want to scroll back up a few lines to read something then scroll back down reading as you go. You can start with your fingers in the message field and scroll all the way down right over the keyboard without activating the letters. As long as you start scrolling in the message field and dont lift. I laugh at people trying to scroll down and not touch the keyboard when the keyboard gets locked out when you scroll. Once you touch the text you can scroll in both directions not affecting the keys until you lift.

Is there a way to jump to the bottom? There is a page I have to visit for work that takes about 5 seconds of very fast scrolling to get to the bottom of. I would like to triple tap and jump to the bottom.

The main reason I knew about the two-finger scroll was because a friend bought a MacBook Pro and loved showing me all the cool gestures. I immediately forgot them after he showed me, but the first time I couldn't scroll within a text box, I remembered just enough to give it a shot. Bingo.
I hope you enjoyed my story.
bows

Wow, how have people managed this long without two finger scroll?! I found it by accident on my iPhone 3g but it ls invaluable and opens up many apsects of websites that otherwise are a no go

Are there any tips on how to better finely navigate text in iOS? Say I'm typing an e-mail, see an error in a previous paragraph. Currently, I tap to get up there, get nowhere near it because of my fat fingers. Then tap and hold and wait and wait and wait, to get the magnifying glass, then I scroll and let go and miss my spot, then I yeesh... Where's the arrow keys at anyways?

Great video tips! Just goes to show you. No matter how much we know-it-alls think we know, there will always be opportunities for us to learn something new. We must always have an open mind. Never be too quick to judge videos like this with a "duh". I never knew about the two-finger scroll within a text box and I've had an iPhone since the original.

jakubw obviously know how to scroll, but seems to be needing a tip explaining the "Caps Lock" key.
Add me to the list that didn't know about two-finger scroll in text boxes... Handy tip, thanks a bunch!
Sure beats my prior "workaround to a problem that apparently isn't even a problem" method:
tap & hold in text box > select all > copy > close Safari > open notes app > paste in notes > edit text > select all > copy > close notes app > open Safari > tap & hold in text box > select all > paste".

FLskydiver. Lol. I was not that bad. But I would tap and hold and wait for the mag glass to appear and then you could move up and down with the mag glass and it would scroll the text box. That's how used to do it.

Just an idea for next tip: google street view in maps app!! I've had iPhones for three years now and only recently found this capability. :-/

Force quit an app by holding the power button until it says slide to power off. Release the power button and press the home button for a few seconds. That will close a stuck app like safari, a game or whatever.

I use StubHub quite often to buy event tickets and it was frustrating to not be able to view and scroll the entire seat page window on iPad. From this post I hear about Two Finger Scroll, low and behold........WTF? I have had iPhones since Gen1 and now iPad, and never knew about this.....thx Rene.
Now I can go focus on my music. One Love!

As post said above. There's no "scroll to the bottom" shortcut. But we still can simulate scroll to the bottom by combining "javacript" & "bookmark".

  1. copy javascript code below
    "javascript:scroll(0,document.getElementsByTagName('body')%5B0%5d.scrollHeight);"
  2. add bookmark. You can name "Scroll to end", "Jump to end" etc.
  3. edit bookmark and paste javascript code. If you have many bookmarks, you should move this bookmark to the obvious positoin. You may spend more time to find this bookmark to jump to end more than scoll by youself if you can't find it immediately.
  4. Done.

I wish there was a quick way to scroll to the bottom. I use the notes app to compose journal and log entries and the can get pretty long. When I want to add content to the bottom it's kind of a pain to scroll to the bottom.