Starting with the launch of iOS 11 in the autumn of 2017, iPhone owners will have the option to access a particularly useful feature: a one-handed keyboard, which will make it much easier to type on a bigger screen.
With the iPhone in a horizontal position, all the user needs to do is to press and hold the globe (or emoji) button to evoke the keyboard selector, exactly as he or she would do with any keyboard switch.
Below the list of keyboards at their disposal will be several orientation icons. Simply tapping on one of them squashes that particular keyboard and moves it to one side or the other, or alternatively zooms it back to full width and shifts it to the centre again.
iPhone owners who are used to a two-hand grip on their device, especially those who own an iPhone 7 Plus, will most likely need some practice to become comfortable with a right or left oriented keyboard, taking into account that the user is only operating the keys with a single digit.
The option to use the iPhone in one-handed mode is, however, good news for accessibility reasons, as well as for applications requiring a hand which would otherwise be busy entering text.
In October last year, snippets of code were found in Xcode. The ‘iOS Simulator’ was discovered to have a comparable implementation as far back as iOS 8.
Apple initially planned for its new single-handed keyboard to be activated by a right or left swipe from the side of the keyboard to drag the keys to either side. At some point the company decided against this idea, deciding instead to go with the mentioned press and hold of the globe key to summon the keyboard selector.