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A Quick iOS Keyboard Trick


January 11, 2014

There were a few posts a few months ago on various tips and tricks about using the iOS software keyboard. Most of them talked about the ability to tap the ".?123" button and then slide your finger to choose a character from within that subset of keys. This method will also work with the caps lock key to capitalize a single letter with only a tap and slide instead of two taps. Small differences of course, but I've been using them for about four or five months, and while it takes a while to get used to them, once your fingers relearn how to operate the keyboard it becomes a much smoother and more instinctive way of typing. These kinds of tricks are an advantage that hardware keyboards can never compete with, so as software keyboard users we've got to take advantage of them.

I won't spend any more time reiterating what the linked posts above discussed, but I have noticed that none of them mentioned a trick I discovered which has become my favorite one of all. It regards the ",!" key located in the second row of keys from the bottom on the iPad keyboard, the third key over from the right. What many people (myself included for the first three years in which I used an iPad for almost all of my typing) don't realize is that if you tap on that key and then quickly swipe upwards it will immediately insert an apostrophe. Tapping and holding to reveal deeper functionality within the main keyboard keys is no secret, but what makes this key special is that there is no need to hold. As quickly as you can tap and swipe upwards and let go of the ",!" key is as quickly as it will place the apostrophe. This is significantly quicker than any other method of inserting an apostrophe, even using the apostrophes located on custom keyboards in apps like Drafts or Editorial. The exact same functionality works on the ".?" key, but inserts a quotation mark instead of an apostrophe.

It will likely take a while for your fingers to change the deeply ingrained behavior of tapping the ".?123" key and then tapping the apostrophe or quotation mark key from there (or sliding to it if you already use that method), but once you start using the quick tap swipe method described above, I find it makes my typing feel much more natural and less strained. Using this method, every one of the most popular punctuation keys are very small strokes of the finger away. Simply tap to get a period or comma, tap and swipe up promptly to get an apostrophe or quotation mark, and quickly tap swipe from the right caps lock key to the adjacent comma or period keys to immediately access an exclamation mark or question mark. If you start using each of these methods I guarantee that your software keyboard typing will feel more intuitive and have less slight irritations by cutting down the time it takes to use the most common keys.