The big keyboard refinements in iOS 9

Keyboard improvements

During its WWDC presentation today, Apple introduced several new enhancements for its keyboard in iOS on iPhone and iPad. These changes include a redesigned shift key for distinguishing capital letters, lowercase, and caps lock. Additionally, key lettering now switches between upper and lowercase depending on which variation of a letter will be typed, which is another tool Apple is using to more clearly define what letter case mode the shift key is in, and adds ShowCase to the list of jailbreak tweaks Apple has turned into stock features with iOS 9.

upper lower cap keyboard ios 9

Also, the traditional pop-up character preview iOS has always displayed when a key is pressed is not present in iOS 9, with its replacement being a darkened key which is largely hidden by one’s finger when typing. This is possibly a security enhancement by Apple, as technology exists for logging key presses via video analysis of the pop-ups above pressed keys from camera footage of someone typing on their device.

ios 9 keyboard key pop

Further, Apple has included several improvements under the QuickType umbrella, including a built-in Shortcut Bar, which adds formatting, attachments, cut, copy, and paste options to either side of the QuickType word suggestions above the keyboard on iPad. The Shortcut Bar can also be customized by third-party apps, allowing for even more productivity and convenience in writing apps.

Additionally, a new method of moving the on-screen cursor and selecting text has been added in iOS 9 that utilizes a two-finger swipe anywhere on the screen, including over the keyboard, to quickly adjust cursor position or highlighted text. This feature works on both iPhone and iPad, and brings the hugely popular jailbreak tweak SwipeSelection’s functionality to iOS 9 in a way more optimized on iPad.


People using wireless keyboards with their iPad will now be able to take advantage of a new level of keyboard shortcuts, including Command+Tab-like app switching from OS X and invoke Search. Apps can also add their own built-in, custom shortcuts for various actions, and users can hold down keys like Command, Option, or Control to see all the available shortcuts of a given app.