Paste gesture on iOS and iPadOS clashes with Obsidian swipe gesture

Steps to reproduce

A standard (OS provided) gesture to paste text on iOS and iPadOS is the three finger spread.

Expected result

When I use it, I expect text to be pasted at the cursor location, nothing else. And sometimes that is exactly what happens.

Actual result

But much too frequently, I end up navigating to the previous or next document instead.


  • Operating system: iOS / iPadOS


Obsidian provides the very useful two finger swipe to navigate back and forth. But a three finger swipe does the same thing, and that is a big mistake. It is very difficult to do a three finger spread without it being read as a swipe instead. (Or in addition.) So Obsidian needs to disregard the three finger swipe, and limit itself to reacting to a two finger swipe.

This is by far the most annoying misfeature of Obsidian on mobile devices as far as I am concerned. I get bitten by it multiple times every day.


I did some testing, trying to trigger the back navigation with a 3 finger swipe. It only happened occasionally — maybe 1 in 5 times. I thought maybe I wasn’t always pressing all 3 fingers down properly, tho when I paid more attention I felt I was pressing pretty firmly.

Finally I broke the swipe into 2 steps:

  1. Press all 3 fingers firmly to the screen — plonk.
  2. Drag.

This way I was able to eliminate the triggering of the back navigation.

So I think the problem is in how iOS detects the swipe and/or how inherently difficult it is to properly perform 3 finger touch gestures.

Thanks for testing. It prompted me to try this myself. I get similar but slightly different results:

  • If I swipe left or right with two or three fingers without a pause after I put the fingers down on the screen (without the plonk), I navigate. That’s the Obsidian provided stuff.
  • If I put two or three fingers down (plonk) and pause briefly before I move the fingers, I don’t trigger navigation. Instead, I now have access to the standard OS provided editing gestures:
    • Swipe with two fingers: Select text (bad UX for me, though)
    • Swipe left or right with three fingers: Undo/redo
    • Pinch closed or open (Apple terminology – they say swipe open where I said spread): Copy/paste.

So I can now reliably copy and paste using these gestures. Perhaps Obsidian is doing nothing wrong here – but I think the pitfalls of using these gestures could be better documented. Surely, I can’t be the first one with this difficulty? And I am likely not going to be the last.

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