Saturday, September 19, 2015 [Tweets] [Favorites]

How to Turn iOS 9’s Keyboard Back to All Caps

John Gruber:

The main argument I’ve seen in favor of this change holds no water: that this is the solution to iOS 7’s is-it-on-or-is-it-off? Schrödinger’s Shift Key. The proper solution to an ambiguous Shift key is to replace it with an unambiguous Shift key. The lack of case shifting on the keyboard was not a problem on iOS 1-6 because the Shift key on the old keyboard was unambiguous. Whether you prefer a case-shifting keyboard or not, the Shift key should be unambiguous. These are two different things.

The good news is, Apple did improve the Shift key on iOS 9. When not engaged, the arrow glyph on the key cap is now hollow. When Shift is engaged, the key turns white and the arrow is solid black. With Caps Lock on, the arrow gets an underscore.

Update (2015-10-04): Rosyna Keller notes that the Mac System 1.1 software keyboard changed the case of the keys.

Riccardo Mori notes that the iOS 9 display of keyboard shortcuts mirrors the Newton’s.

Eli Schiff (comments):

With the release of iOS 9, there have been a variety of changes to the software keyboard. Unfortunately, none of them have addressed the fundamental problems of its visual design, as much as pundits might claim otherwise.

2 Comments

Whenever I use a pre-9 iOS device, I feel like the keyboard is broken. I understand that switching the labels on the keys seems odd if you've been using a static keyboard for (almost) the past decade, but from a UX point of view, showing the actual letter that is going to be typed if you hit a key just makes the whole thing much more obvious.

This is particularly important because the OS changes whether the shift key is engaged on its own (e.g. when a new sentence starts). These kinds of automatic changes need to be made as plain as possible, and so far, iOS has failed at this.

Replacing the shift key won't solve the problem. When you're using the keyboard, your thumb is covering that key much of the time. Look at the keyboard while you're typing; chances are, you'll rarely ever see the shift key.

I think Apple made the right choice here. It's good that they allow people to revert the decision, but new iOS users shouldn't be habituated to this mistake :-)

Got to admit I tried using the switched case keyboard and I hate it. I find it very distracting. It's a solution just because iOS7-9 do a poor job highlighting the shift key being activated.

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