Another hidden keyboard has been uncovered in iOS, according to developer Steve Troughton-Smith who last night tweeted about his discovery of a one-handed floating iPad keyboard in iOS 10.3 beta code.

While not exposed to users just yet, Steve was able to activate this new keyboard by hacking Apple’s iOS Simulator app that developers use to test work-in-progress code on their Mac.

The keyboard floats on top of other apps and can be moved around onscreen similar to iOS’s Picture in Picture overlay. Because Apple’s UIKit is so big, something like a one-handed keyboard can go unnoticed for multiple iOS releases.

Hidden iOS keyboards actually date back to iOS 10.0. Thus far, two keyboard varieties have been discovered: one is a gestural keyboard and the other is of a floating variety.

The keyboard Steve just discovered appears to have been designed for one-handed typing and cannot be split in two like iPad’s standard keyboard. Troughton-Smith notes that the keyboard appears on 9.7-inch iPad models, but not on the 12.9-inch iPad Pro.

“Another place a floating keyboard might make sense if it were on a much larger device than any existing iPad, and floated a full-size keyboard,” he opined.

The screenshot top of post depicts the hidden iPad keyboard floating in a Picture in Picture-like overlay on top of the Contacts app, at left, and the Notes app in iOS’s Slide Over multitasking view, as shown at right.

On a related note, Steve says “a lot of work” has gone into the accounts parts of Apple’s mobile operating system, leading him to speculate it probably won’t be long before we see multiple user account support adopted across iOS.

Steve previously discovered iOS 9’s enlarged iPad Pro keyboard ahead of the tablet’s release and an unused one-handed iPhone keyboard that’s activated by an edge swipe (you can see it in action using a jailbreak tweak, called OneHanded).

Earlier today, we reported that Apple’s developers will soon be allowed to change their iOS app’s Home screen icon programmatically, whenever they like, without needing to submit an updated app binary to Apple.

Source: Steve Troughton-Smith

  • Diego Milano

    I like the animations, I just hope something like this comes to the bigger iPhone screens like the Plus models. Maybe a tweak will unlock this, although we won’t know since the jailbreak isn’t even compatible with iOS 10.2.1, so… 🙂

  • Reilitas

    I’m personally waiting for the next iPod, they should go for a new design, the iPhones are looking like them these days, minus the mute switch and sim card tray. I’d like to see the iPod Nano with an Appstore!

    • Marcus

      I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple discontinued the iPod entirely. The future for Apple rests in Mac, iPad, iPhone, and TV, so I don’t think they are going to bother devoting that much time to their iPod’s.

      • Reilitas

        I would like to believe that they are thinking of something cool for it, like the design. I remember something coming up about the iPad Mini’s and that they would have their own special design. I like the 6th Gen iPod Nano, it’s just a small square that can clip to you 😛

    • iByron

      Heh. Remember when the iPad came out all of the naysayers said, “It’s just a big iPod Touch!”? What if the future of the iPod were to become “a little iPad Air?”

      I know a few people who really like the form factor of the “Plus” model iPhones, but don’t want or need a second phone. A size bump and rebranding as an “iPad nano” or something would totally repurpose the iPod Touch from an high-end music player to a compact internet/home entertainment appliance. You would load it with the Apple TV and iTunes Remote apps, the TV app, 3rd-party apps for controlling a desktop Mac or a Sonos system and you’d have it right with you without having to pay for a phone or data plan. And it could still do FaceTime or AirDrop when you’re on a wifi network. Basically everything that Steve Jobs intro’d the iPhone as minus the phone.