Hidden ‘iPad Pro’ like keyboard in iOS 9 scales to larger screen sizes with additional keys

Keyboard improvements

In addition to an all-new predictive touch technology and two times better touch-to-display latency in iOS 9, another clue of a rumored ‘iPad Pro’ comes in the form of a hidden software keyboard in iOS 9.

As discovered by iOS developer Steve Troughton Smith, it was designed to cater to bigger screen sizes with a wider key appearance, some new keys and a brand new row of symbols that are normally invoked with specific keystroke combinations.

Shown top of post: iOS 9’s keyboard on present-generation iPads.

As seen below, it seems the hidden keyboard in iOS 9’s UIKeyboard framework adds the new Tab and Caps Lock keys at larger resolutions than the current 2,048-by-1,536 pixel iPad displays.

iOS 9 iPad Pro keyboard image 001

You’ll also notice an additional row of symbols at the top of the keyboard, providing quick access to such characters as @, #, $, %, ^, &, * and more.

Both the Tab and Caps Lock keys are typically found on hardware keyboards.

As you know, Apple is rumored to launch an ‘iPad Pro’ with a screen measuring between twelve and 12.9 inches diagonally.

iOS 9 iPad Pro keyboard image 002

Whether or not this hidden keyboard is for the rumored device remains to be seen. That it’s hidden and designed for improved appearance on bigger screen sizes is evidence enough for me.

iOS 9 improves upon several aspects of the virtual typing experience.

For starters, Apple’s added a new row at the top of the keyboard providing access to functions like cut, copy, paste, attachments and more, as clearly illustrated by the top image.

Even better, third-party apps can now register their own actions and there’s now a system-wide two-finger gesture that turns the keyboard into a virtual trackpad for precise cursors positioning in any app.

And when used with a wireless keyboard, iOS 9 supports many more special keystrokes than before, including the familiar Cmd-Tab for switching between apps with an OS X-like app switching overlay.


Developers can register their own hardware keyboard shortcuts with the system and iOS 9 will show these in a handy overlay if you press and hold the Cmd, Alt or Ctrl key.

Other changes include a redesigned Shift key for distinguishing capital letters, lowercase and caps lock, the use of upper and lowercase lettering on the keyboard itself, the removal of the character popping up when typing on the keyboard (for security purposes) and more.

Source: Steve Troughton Smith