Apple has drawn a lot of flak for the shift-key redesign in iOS 7.1. And all the criticism is completely justified because the new shift-key is one of the worst design decisions in the history of keyboard design.

But all the criticism is not going to change magically the keyboard you’ve got on your iPhone right now if you’re running a non-jailbroken version of iOS 7.1. The next good thing we can do, instead of writing crap about Apple and it’s botch-up, is to figure out how not to get confused with the shift-key status. Here’s how I got around to understanding Apple’s decision.

How to Figure out Shift-key Status Easily on iPhone and iPad

Take a look at this one:

How to Stop the iOS 7.1 Shift-key Bashing

Forget the (fill) color of the arrow. Just look at the key’s color. If it’s gray, the shift-key is off. If it’s white, the shift-key is on. And if the arrow has a small “-” underneath, the caps lock is on.

That’s actually simple enough and if you can remember it, good. But here’s a simple association/pattern that will help you remember why Apple put a gray-button to indicate that the shift-key is “off” or disabled.

Look at the keyboard in its default state.

iOS 7.1 Keyboard Shift Key Default State

The keys that type a character (that put a character on screen, including a space) are all white. The keys that don’t print anything on screen (that are only action keys) are all grays: the backspace, the 123 key, the globe icon if you’ve got multiple keyboards enabled, the return key. And the shift-key. Got it? The default state for shift-key is a gray-fill because it’s a non-printing key. It is only an action key like the backspace or the globe icon. So the default state of this key is associated with these keys.

iOS 7.1 Gray Shift Key

May be Apple did not intend the design based on the philosophy of what you just read but it’s one way of making sure you don’t get confused. I’ve put this thing in my mind and now I can easily tell when the shift-key is On or Off.