Gadgets

There’s a secret one-handed keyboard hiding in your iPhone

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David Cornish
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There's something mysterious hiding in the depths of your iPhone: a special keyboard, built for use with one hand.

It's Apple's secret weapon, built to combat that starkest of smartphone issues - while screens have been getting bigger, your hands have remained stubbornly hand-sized. The odd thing is, they don't want you to use it. 

This is what it looks like.

This lopsided marvel was recently dug up by app developer Steve Stroughton-Smith, who found this alternative QWERTY keyboard sitting dormant in the current iOS build.

According to the developer, it's hanging about in Apple's operating system "since iOS 8" - software that was built to coincide with the release of Apple's first XL-sized phone, the iPhone 6 Plus. 

Mindful that some digitally-challenged (small fingered?) users might struggle with the six-inch Plus monster, it would appear that Apple was playing around with a solution for texting with one hand - but decided not to give it the green light.

While it's not accessible from a normal iPhone, Strought-Smith demonstrates that it can be accessed from a 'jailbroken' iPhone, a model that's been tweaked to allow unapproved software and operations to be carried out on it. 

However, if you're not keen to jailbreak your iPhone (it'll ruin your warranty if you try it), one-handed keyboards are available from other developers. Microsoft has the very swish Word Flow Keyboard, while SwiftKey offers a heap of customisable keyboard placements. 

Here's hoping Apple unlocks their Plus-conquering keyboard in the near future. Our thumbs could use the break. 

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David Cornish

Shortlist.com’s esteemed Tech Editor. David has a keen interest in video games, Star Wars and stuff that runs on batteries.

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