iOS 9: New keyboard tools on iPad are game changers

I am generally not one for hyperbole (unless I’m joking around). But the new keyboard tools Apple added to iPad in iOS 9 really do feel significant.

Predictive bar has more tools

For example, if you have the predictive text bar enabled, there are dedicated tools for copy, copy, paste, and undo on the left (tip: swipe up and down at the top of the keyboard to toggle this bar). Both the left and right side are contextual too, allowing apps like Notes to display custom controls such as font, style, and drawing tools.

Move faster than a Mac

This is my favorite: If you tap anywhere on the keyboard with two fingers, all the keys disappear and you can now move the cursor anywhere you want. Of course you can still tap anywhere you want to place the cursor, but this is really nice for frequent fine-grained placement. The best part is that, once it became habit for me, this felt faster than working with text on a Mac. 

Instead of having to grab a mouse, find the pointer on the screen, then move it to where I want, tapping with two fingers means I’m already in control where the cursor is, and I simply need to drag and drop where it should go. After spending time with this since WWDC, this really does feel faster to me now.

Faster selecting

This is another two-finger tip: if you tap once with two fingers, you’ll select the word closest to the cursor. Now place two fingers again, start dragging around, and you will continue selecting text and lines that you drag over as if you had grabbed the right selection marker.

This is another habitual change, especially coming from a Mac, but it really is starting to feel faster for me than working on a Mac.