Apple’s stock keyboard on iOS 11 comes with a special mode designed to make typing with larger iPhones easier. Available on 4.7 and 5.5-inch iPhones but not on iPad, it shrinks the keys and moves them closer to your thumb.

This makes it far easier to compose messages in one-handed mode because the compressed keyboard is tantamount to the size of the standard keyboard on a four-inch iPhone.

Not only does it make doable to reach all of the letters on larger iPhones, it’s also perfect for accessibility concerns. Plus, this keyboard mode caters to both left and right-handed users.

Here’s how to enable and use the one-handed keyboard on your iPhone with iOS 11.

How to enable one-handed typing via Settings

The one-handed keyboard can be enabled and customized through the Settings app.

1) Launch the Settings app on your iPhone.

2) Tap General → Keyboard → One-Handed Keyboard.

3) Choose among the following options:

  • Disabled—Turns off the one-handed keyboard.
  • Left—Shrinks the keyboard in left-handed mode.
  • Right—Shrinks the keyboard in right-handed mode.

Regardless of the options selected here, you can always enable or disable one-handed typing, choose between left or right orientation or quickly open the one-handed keyboard options through iOS’s input switcher menu.

How to enable one-handed typing on the fly

iOS’s input switcher menu provides quick shortcuts for adjusting your one-handed keyboard.

1) Bring up the keyboard on your iPhone.

2) If you have just one keyboard installed, tap and hold the Emoji icon in the bottom-left corner of the keyboard to bring up the input switcher, as with any other keyboard. If you have multiple keyboards enabled, tap and hold the Globe icon instead.

3) The input switcher menu pops, offering one-handed typing options at the bottom.

Tap one of the orientation icons to do the following:

  • Snap the keyboard to the left side—tap the leftmost orientation icon.
  • Snap the keyboard to the right side—tap the rightmost orientation icon.
  • Re-center the keyboard and make it full width—tap the middle orientation icon.

TIP: The Keyboard Settings option at the top of the menu is a handy shortcut that saves you a few taps by taking you directly to the Settings → General → Keyboard → Keyboards section where you can adjust various other options.

If you’re currently using a third-party keyboard, you will need to choose the standard iPhone keyboard from the input switcher menu before you can enable one-handed typing.

How to use one-handed keyboard on iPhone

Whether you’re holding a coffee in one hand and your iPhone in the other or have smaller hands that make it difficult to type on the keyboard on a larger iPhone, you’ll find the one-handed keyboard practical to use.

1) Using the instructions provided above, go to Settings → General → Keyboard → One-Handed Keyboard or use the orientation icons in the input switcher menu to shrink and snap the keyboard to either side.

2) That’s it, thumb-type on that keyboard like a pro.

TIP: If you can’t be bothered to reset the keyboard size via the input switcher, tap the arrow icon on either side of the keyboard to re-center and enlarge the one-handed keyboard.

And that’s all there’s to it, ladies and gents.

You will hopefully find that typing with a single thumb is a lot easier on a larger device with the shrunken keyboard. Not having to over-extend your thumb to type certainly reduces the risk of losing the grip on your iPhone, which can be hazardous when walking down the sidewalk.

Hands-on with iOS 11’s one-handed keyboard

Watch the video embedded below in which our resident video editor and reviewer Andrew O’Hara puts iPhone’s one-handed keyboard through its paces.

Subscribe to iDownloadBlog on YouTube.

What are your thoughts on the one-handed keyboard? Will you be using it and if so, in which particular scenarios? And lastly, would you say that iOS 11’s one-handed keyboard mode takes away some of the sting resulting from typing on a larger iPhone with a single thumb?

Tell us in comments!

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  • Christopher

    It’s so nice that it caters to us left handed people, very few things do lol.

  • techfreak23

    Am I the only one that hates they added that keyboard settings at the top? I am constantly accidentally sliding up to it and opening settings when switching from my emoji keyboard… (I have 4 different keyboards in that list)

    • Christopher

      Yeah that’s going to take some getting used to.

    • Mine show at the bottom.

      • techfreak23

        How is yours at the bottom? Even the screenshots in the post show it at the top… I was talking about the “keyboard settings” button, not the left/right hand keyboard options

      • My bad, it was a misunderstanding on my part. I thought you said that this keyboard setting (the one-handed keyboard option) was at the top.

      • techfreak23

        No worries. I figured that’s what it was lol but yeah I use the hold and drag on the little glove icon to switch between my keyboards. When I switch back to English, a lot of times I will accidentally land on the keyboard settings button and it will open up to settings. Very annoying.

  • Nathaniel

    Not relevant, but Apple just lowered the new iPad’s price

  • burge
    • Noohar

      Wowzer…that font size!

      • burge

        And your issue with that is ?

  • 向经典致敬,与时代同行!

  • M_Hawke

    Can’t wait until 11 comes out of beta. This keyboard alone will be worth upgrading to. I sometimes use Microsoft’s Word Flow. I think it is a pretty good keyboard. My only complaint against it is that because of the layout, it can be difficult to type on because of the smallness of the keys. But they had the correct concept of shrinking the keyboard and putting on the left or right. Invoking the left/right/full positioning was pretty slick, too. But this new iOS feature takes care of everything and even though the keyboard is shrunk, it is still large enough and not curved like Word Flow to make typing easier. I will also say that Word Flow’s predictiveness is superior to the current iOS keyboard.