Despite the stiff competition from the best third-party keyboards, Apple’s QuickType keyboard remains my firm favorite for various reasons. Among several neat features, the one that I find enormously user-friendly is the ability to turn iPhone keyboard into a super handy trackpad to select text or move text input cursor with utmost ease.
Times when I’m typing out a quick email or a bit long iMessage, I use the virtual trackpad on my iPhone to edit text more conveniently. This hidden feature makes it incredibly easy to position the insertion at the specific point and even highlight the phrase or sentence.
To offer a little background, this well-thought-out editing tool had first arrived in iOS 9 for iPad and 3D Touch supported iPhone 6s in 2015. Being so impressive, it soon became the envy to the incompatible iOS devices. After a long wait, this feature has finally broken the limited boundary.
Turn the iPhone Keyboard into a Trackpad to Select the Text
With iOS 12, Apple has made trackpad mode available across iOS devices. So, how to get started with this?
It’s dead simple to trigger trackpad in the QuickType keyboard. If you are using a non-3D-Touch compatible device like iPhone 5s, SE or iPhone 6 series, iPhone XR, and iPhone 11 series simply open any stock app like iMessage, pages or Notes.
Then, long press on the space bar to enter trackpad mode. When it’s on, the virtual keyboard is greyed out, and all the keys are hidden.
When using a 3D-Touch compatible device like iPhone 6s/6s Plus, 7/7 Plus, 8/8 Plus, iPhone X/Xs and Xs Max, you can touch and hold anywhere on the keyboard to trigger the trackpad mode.
Side Note: On your iPad, you can activate trackpad mode by just placing your two fingers on the virtual keyboard.
Move Cursor In Trackpad Mode
As mentioned above, it’s quite simple to move the cursor when you are in trackpad mode. Just swipe your finger on the greyed out keyboard to place the text input cursor at the desired place.
Select Text in Trackpad Mode
It’s slightly more straightforward to select text on the 3D-Touch supported devices. Bring up the software keyboard on your preferred app and then touch and hold the keyboard to invoke the trackpad mode. Then drag your finger on the trackpad to jump over to the text you wish to highlight. Next, press harder on the screen and then use the cursor to select the text.
The process of highlighting text slightly differs on the non-3D Touch supported devices. To get it done, open an app where you can use Apple QuickType keyboard. Then, long-press on the space bar to enter trackpad mode.
While still pressing the space bar, use your other finger to tap on the greyed out keyboard to enter text selection mode. Next up, drag your finger on the trackpad to select the text using the cursor.
Once the text has been highlighted, lift your finger and then tap on the selected text to bring up the popup window with multiple editing options like cut, copy, replace and more.
Side Note: On your iPad, you can use the two fingers to highlight text using the cursor in the trackpad mode.
That’s pretty much it!
Over to You:
Quicktype keyboard may not be as flashy as some of the third-party keyboards. However, when you talk about smooth typing experience, it does live up to the task reasonably. Features like emoji suggestions, predictive functionality make it quite handy for messaging.
You might want to refer these posts as well:
- All the New Keyboard Shortcuts in iPadOS 13
- Tip to Fix Keyboard Lag on iPhone or iPad
- How to Move the iPad Keyboard on the Screen
- How to Use Apple Smart Keyboard Shortcuts on iPad Pro
What’s your take on the stock keyboard app for iOS? Share your feedback with us in the comment box.