iOS 10.3 has hidden support for one-handed floating iPad keyboard

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