Apple Pencil cannot be used for any screen edge swipe gestures

Number:rdar://23839606 Date Originated:2015-12-10
Status:Open Resolved:
Product:Apple Pencil Product Version:1.0
Classification:Enhancement Reproducible:Always
In addition to pressure-sensitive drawing, the Apple Pencil allows navigation throughout iOS and apps using tap, long press and swipe gestures, provided these are single-touch. A glaring gap in these navigation gestures is the various system-wide screen edge swipe gestures listed below:

- Top Edge Swipe: Show Notification Center
  - note Notification Center over can be dismissed with Apple Pencil
- Bottom Edge Swipe: Show Control Center
  - note Control Center over can be dismissed with Apple Pencil
- Left Edge Swipe: Safari "Back" navigation
- Right Edge Swipe: Safari "Forward" navigation
- Right Edge Swipe: Split Screen App Picker Menu
- Top Edge Swipe: Split Screen App Picker Menu (from flyout or right pane of Split Screen)
- Tapping the "Pill" on the Split Screen flyout to enable Split Screen mode
- Tap on Split Screen "Pill" and pan to resize the Split Screen

While I can see that disabling many of these screen edge swipes would improve the experience while using the Apple Pencil for drawing, it degrades the experience elsewhere as the user must constantly be switching between the Pencil and their finger in order to navigate around on the iPad Pro.

Steps to Reproduce:

1. Pair an Apple Pencil with an iPad Pro
2. Attempt any of the gestures listed above

Expected Results:
The Apple Pencil will trigger the relevant gesture.

Actual Results:
Using the Apple Pencil to perform any of the above gestures fails to trigger them. A finger must be used for these gestures.

IPad Pro ML0N2LL/A, Apple Pencil v1

Version & Build:
iOS 9.2 (13C75)

Additional Notes:
Using the Apple Pencil is a fantastic improvement to the usability of the iPad Pro. Its length help reduce arm strain by extending the user's reach. Additionally, the smaller tip and shaft block less of the screen than a finger extended from a hand, making for a much more pleasant tapping experience.

However, the lack of support for these fabulous system navigation gestures requires the user to constantly switch between finger and Pencil, making the interaction tedious.

Since these are iOS system gestures, one option is to enable them for the Pencil by default and have drawing apps opt out through a new API. The downside to that approach is that drawing apps would have to adopt the new API or else frustrate their users.

I believe the best way to make everyone happy here is to add a toggle under the Settings > General > Multitasking pane allowing these gestures to be enabled/disabled solely for the Apple Pencil, just like the 4-5 finger iPad multitasking gestures.


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