June 19, 2017

iOS has a Hidden One Handed Keyboard in Xcode

With smartphone screen sizes increasing, typing with one hand on those larger displays has always been a cumbersome process. Many people resort to using two hands whenever possible so that they don’t inadvertently drop their device while trying to compose a message. But with iOS 11, which was introduced at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developer Conference 2017, Apple has finally added that much-awaited feature: one-handed keyboard mode, making it easier for its users to type on the go.

ios hidden one-handed keyboard

But do you know that iOS has a hidden one-handed keyboard long back in iPhone’s Xcode? In October 2016, iOS developer Steve Troughton-Smith discovered a hidden one-handed keyboard feature in iPhone that makes it easier to type on larger displays. He spotted the code inside Apple’s iOS simulator, noting that the code for it has likely existed for several years, even if it hasn’t surfaced in iPhones yet.

Steve Troughton-Smith says that this code for this feature has existed in the iOS Xcode since iOS 8, which was released in 2014.

This one-handed keyboard can be activated with swipes from the edge of the keyboard. This would cause iOS to pull all the keys to one side or the other. You can see this in the gif below.

Taking things a step further, Steve has since published the code chunk, so you can give it a try but noted that you will likely need a jailbroken iPhone to use it. If your device is jailbroken, you can get it right now using a jailbreak tweak called OneHanded. When you install One Handed tweak, you can start using this hidden feature on your 4.7 or 5.5-inch iPhone.

Since the OneHanded tweak is free, it’s definitely worth a try if you have a jailbroken iPhone running iOS 8 or 9.

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