Placing the text cursor on an iPhone or iPad can sometimes feel frustrating and inaccurate. You tap the screen and sometimes it doesn’t go where you want. Fortunately, there is a faster, more accurate way called “virtual trackpad mode” built into your device’s keyboard. Here’s how to use it.
On the iPhone
Switching to virtual trackpad mode is easy. It depends if your iPhone has 3D Touch, a feature that Apple no longer has on the latest iPhones:
- 3D Touch can only be found on the iPhone 6S, 6S Plus, 7, 7 Plus, 8, 8 Plus, X, XS and XS Max.
- 3D Touch is not included with iPhone SE, iPhone XR, iPhone 1
On an iPhone with 3D Touch, press firmly (but not too hard) on the onscreen keyboard with your finger.
On an iPhone without 3D Touch, press and hold the space bar on the onscreen keyboard.
When the labels on the keys disappear, you are in virtual trackpad mode. Slide your finger across the screen to place the cursor exactly where you want it. When you’re done, lift your finger.
On an iPad there are two ways to enter virtual trackpad mode. The first is just like on the iPhone: place and hold your finger gently on the space bar on the screen. Or you can simply place two fingers on the on-screen keyboard at the same time.
After a while, the keyboard letters fade and you can use that area as a touchpad. Slide your finger around to place the text cursor on the screen.
When you are done, release your finger from the virtual keyboard and the cursor will stay where you left it. The letters on the on-screen keyboard reappear and you can retype.
If you ever need to switch back to trackpad mode, follow the steps above. You can use it to position the cursor as many times as you want, then use selection and editing gestures to edit the text. Have fun typing!
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