Wednesday, May 2, 2012
HOW TO: Move and split the iPad on-screen keyboard
By Josh Duglin
A great feature was added to the iPad with iOS 5 and you might not even know about it. You can now quickly and easily move the keyboard to anyplace you want on the screen. Also, and perhaps more importantly, you can split the keyboard into two pieces so you can easily type with your thumbs when holding the iPad in portrait mode. To top it all off Apple has even included a little bonus in the way that the split keyboard works.
First let's look at how you split the keyboard into two pieces. There's actually two ways to do this. The easiest, and my favorite way, is to simply place one finger on each side of the keyboard and then pull your fingers apart, as if you are ripping the keyboard in two. You will see the keyboard stretch and separate into two pieces.
The alternate way to split the keyboard is to hold down the key in the lower right corner of the keyboard (the one that looks like a little miniature keyboard). A menu will appear from which you can just choose "Split" to split the keyboard. This method is a little more obvious but takes longer and isn't nearly as fun as just ripping the keyboard in two with your fingers.
Now that you've got the keyboard in two pieces you'll probably want to move it a little bit higher on the screen so you can comfortably grip the iPad and type at the same time. If you used the keyboard button to split the keyboard then the keyboard will actually move up the screen automatically. If you ripped the keyboard in half with your fingers then it will still be near the bottom of the screen. In either case you can reposition the keyboard by touching the same small keyboard key in the lower right corner and then quickly sliding your finger up or down the screen. You have to do this in one quick motion because otherwise the pop-up menu for the keyboard will appear and you won't then be able to move the keyboard around.
To recombine the keyboard you simply push the two pieces back together. Just place a finger on each side of the keyboard and move your fingers together. You can also accomplish this via a pop-up menu through the same keyboard key as before.
To put the keyboard back where it started simply drag it down to the bottom of the screen and it will snap into place. If the keyboard was split it will automatically recombine when it gets to the bottom of the screen. Of course there's a way to do this through the keyboard key as well, just select the "Dock" option.
The hidden bonus:
If you look at the split keyboard you'll see that the split is between the T and the Y, the G and the H, and the V and the B. The letters T, G, and V are on the left portion of the keyboard and the letters Y, H, and B are on the right portion of the keyboard. What if you're used to typing one of those letters with the opposite hand (or thumb in this case)? Well, you're in luck. Apple has included a nice bonus feature that allows you to use those six letters from either side of the keyboard. If you want to type one of those six letters on the opposite side of the split keyboard simply imagine that the letter is where it would be if it were on that side, and tap there. You won't see the letter on the keyboard, but if you tap in that spot it will type it. To illustrate this I've created a graphic showing the normally "invisible keys" outlined in red.