Anyone who has used a smartphone for any length of time and sends text messages is used to typing with both hands while holding the phone. In fact the fastest “texters” use both hands to quickly type out a message and send it. One of the reasons this can be done is smartphones are small enough to hold with both hands and actually reach all the keys on the virtual or physical keyboard. Doing this same thing on an iPad can be a little more tricky because the iPad is bigger than any smartphone.

With the introduction of iOS 5.0, Apple added a very cool feature that most people don’t know about. Its a split keyboard. The normal keyboard on your iPad appears like this:

ipad keyboard

The split keyboard divides the keyboard into two distinct halves, one on the right and one on the left side of the screen.

split keyboard on iPad









This makes it much easier to type while holding the iPad with both hands. A great improvement from the original design and much more functional.

How Can I Split the Keyboard on my iPad

There are two ways to create the split keyboard on the iPad.  

1) While the keyboard is open on your screen, look in the lower right hand corner for the keyboard key. Press and hold the key with your finger and you will see a popup with the options Dock and Split. Tap Split and the keyboard will separate into two pieces on your screen.

To rejoin the keyboard, hold down the keyboard key in the lower right corner and tap on Dock and Merge.

2) The second way involves placing a finger on each side of the keyboard and dragging your fingers out to the sides of the iPad. This motion will cause the keyboard to split as well.

To rejoin the keyboard, place a finger on each keyboard piece and drag them together in the middle of the screen. The keyboard will merge back into one piece.

Apple has even included hidden keys for people who would rather type the letter T with their right hand, or the letter Y with their left hand. These hidden keys solve this issue. Use the picture below to see where these hidden keys are on the keyboard and then go try it yourself. It works great!

the hidden keys on the iPad keyboard






How Can I Move the Keyboard Up or Down the Screen

There are times you may want to have the keyboard in the middle or even the top of the screen, you can undock the keyboard in regular and split keyboard mode. 

To do this press and hold the keyboard key in the lower right corner of the keyboard and quickly move your finger up or down to adjust the placement of the keyboard on the screen. If you hold your finger on the key too long, you will see the pop up menu for docking or splitting the keyboard. You have to be quick to press and drag the keyboard up or down the screen to adjust the placement.

Note: One caveat to remember while doing this, if you drag the keyboard completely down to the bottom of the screen it will dock and merge again.

Now you know all the secrets of the iPad keyboard! I used to think I needed a case with a keyboard and I actually own one, but I prefer a lighter case without the keyboard and use the on screen keyboard. I’m just as fast typing with it as a bluetooth keyboard.

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Filed under: Tutorials

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