The QuickType keyboard in iOS 9 offers a Shortcut Bar and other helpful features
Eye on Apple
By Jim Lynch, CIO
iOS 9 has some very notable new features such as Split View multitasking and Picture in Picture video playing. But it also has a great update to the QuickType keyboard that offers some very helpful new features to help speed up writing and editing in iOS.
In this tip I’ll walk you through the new features in the QuickType keyboard and I’ll share a few of my own experiences with it on the iPad.
Double tapping and triple tapping to select words and paragraphs
One of the great things about the QuickType keyboard in iOS 9 is that it makes it very easy to select words and even entire paragraphs. For example, if you double tap with two fingers you can automatically select the current word that the cursor is placed in. And a triple tap with three fingers will automatically select the entire paragraph.
Both of these options are extremely helpful when you need to select text without fumbling around trying to place your cursor perfectly then drag the text selection bubble. I’ve found it’s made a real difference for me when I do work on my iPad instead of a desktop or laptop.
The Shortcut Bar on the QuickType keyboard in iOS 9
The ShortCut Bar is the most visible difference in the iOS 9 keyboard. Pull up the keyboard and you’ll see icons for copying, cutting and pasting text right at the top of the keyboard. You’ll also see additional icons for bolding, underlining or using italics in text and other features.
In the past text editing hasn’t particularly been a lot of fun in iOS. But the new features in the ShortCut Bar make it a piece of cake to copy, cut or paste text. And the ability to change the appearance of text by bolding, underlining or using italics is incredibly helpful when editing documents.
Some apps actually have different icons in the Shortcut Bar. In Mail you will see an attachment icon, while in Pages you will see the bold, italics and underline options. So the QuickType keyboard has been made to change depending on the app you are using and the kinds of work you can do within that app.
And don’t worry if you prefer the split-keyboard in iOS 9 on the iPad. All of the Shortcut Bar features work just fine on the split-keyboard. I was relieved to see that since I tend to do a lot of thumb typing via the split-keyboard on my iPad Air 2 while journaling in the Day One app.
Turn the QuickType keyboard into a trackpad
Another great feature in the iOS 9 QuickType keyboard is the the ability to press on the keyboard with two fingers and then move your cursor around to any spot in your open application. This might sound like a very minor thing, but I’ve found that it definitely speeds up cursor movement and placement within documents. It’s much faster than the old way of doing it, before iOS 9.
I’ve been using the two-fingered press on the keyboard while writing on my iPad Air 2, and so far it has made a real difference in how fast I can move and place my cursor. In the past it used to be annoying trying to tap somewhere on the text in a document to place the cursor in just the right spot, but with the iOS 9 QuickType keyboard it’s faster and much more exact for me.
Apple has put much thought into the QuickType keyboard in iOS 9
You can tell that Apple has put a great deal of thought into the QuickType keyboard in iOS 9. It’s not just some random icons added to the keyboard. The options the keyboard presents are contextual for the application you are using in iOS 9, and that makes a big difference when you actually sit down to use the QuickType keyboard.
One thing that I’d like to see added at some point are arrow keys. Being able to use arrow keys is something many users would probably get a great deal of value from and I see no reason why Apple couldn’t do this. Unfortunately, I don’t see it happening in iOS 9. Perhaps we’ll get them in iOS 10, however.
Still, even without arrow keys, the QuickType keyboard in iOS 9 has become much more useful than in previous versions of iOS. l couldn’t imagine going back to iOS 8 now after using the QuickType keyboard in iOS 9 for the last couple of months. Yes, it’s that much more useful for writing and text editing.
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