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Home / Tips and Tricks / How To Turn Your iPhone Keyboard Into A Trackpad For Easier Cursor Placement «iOS & iPhone :: Gadget Hacks

How To Turn Your iPhone Keyboard Into A Trackpad For Easier Cursor Placement «iOS & iPhone :: Gadget Hacks

Since the introduction of 3D Touch in iOS 9 for the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, a little-known trick to move the cursor and select text has been incorporated into Apple's standard keyboard. Since then it works on all iPhones with 3D Touch, and the iPhone 5S, 6, 6 Plus and SE stay out. With iOS 12, however, this "trackpad" works on all iPhones, 3D Touch or not.

Placing a cursor from the text box itself

In any app where you enter text For example, messages and notes, and Safari to place the cursor, which Apple calls "insertion point", at a particular point in the text you are editing, just tap anywhere. If it does not end up in the right place, you can tap and hold to bring up the enlargement bubble, which increases precision. When you release, you'll also see selections, including "Select", which will select the next word or number, and "Select All", which will select everything.

With and without a magnifier (left) and a close-up without a magnifier (right)

While all iPhone users can benefit from the cursor placement method, the only thing that could be done on an iPhone 5S, 6, 6 Plus and SE on iOS 11 and below. Any iPhone equipped with 3D Touch can access a trackpad that makes it easier to do so by applying pressure somewhere on Apple's standard keyboard. But if you use iOS 12 on any of these non-3D touch iPhones, you can finally access the trackpad.

Placing the Cursor with the Keyboard Trackpad

You need an iPhone that supports 3D Touch and iOS 9 or later if you want to enable the trackpad with pressure. If you're using an iPhone 5S, 6, 6 Plus or SE, you'll need to run iOS 12 or higher to emulate this effect.

To unlock the hidden trackpad on the Apple keyboard, press anywhere on the keyboard (with 3D Touch) or tap and hold on the space bar until the keyboard turns light gray. Then hold your finger on the screen (you can release the pressure if you have used 3D Touch), move your finger around to move the insertion point to the right place in the text.

3D Touch (left) compared to holding the spacebar (right)

Tip: Party keyboards let you turn the keyboard into a trackpad like Gboard, but in this example, it works a little differently. In Gboard, you must tap on one of the 3D letter keys to call up the trackpad and then to the left or right to move the cursor accordingly. However, you can not move it vertically by swiping up and down as you can with the Apple keyboard.

Simple text with the trackpad

If you have an iPhone with 3D touch support, you can also do a little more with this trackpad. So far iOS 12 seems to offer no way to simulate these selection tools with the trackpad for non-3D touch devices, but dragging the cursor is a good first start. You can also use the regular path to text selection.

To select text with 3D Touch, press deeper to select a word without lifting your finger off the keyboard trackpad. If you press a second time, you should be able to select the whole sentence. If you press three times, the entire paragraph should be selected. Personally, I never get lucky with the second and third presses, so if you encounter the same problem, you can simply press once and then drag to select the text you want.

Choose a word with another (left) and drag to select more (right)

If you do not use 3D Touch or 3D Touch on the trackpad, you can double-tap a word or number. To select more text, drag each bar (the "touch points") on the left and right sides of the word or number to select a larger text snippet. This only applies to text input fields. If you're reading apps like Apple News, long press on a word to select it.

Double tap to type a word (left) or a long word (right) ), and then drag the points.

If you are in text entry fields, you can also place the cursor on it Tap on to go to the selection menu to select "Select" or "Select All".

Cover Picture and GIFs by Justin Meyers / Gadget Hacks

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