How Apple Should Fix iOS 7.1’s Horrible Shift-Key

iOS7keyboardfixed

Current iOS 7.1 keyboard – is the Shift key on or off?

Among Jony Ive’s many changes brought to iOS 7 was the tinkering of the keyboard’s Shift key which has inexplicably gotten worse over time.

Streaks of successfully guessing whether the shift key is on or not should be award with showers of iTunes credits, but as designer Geoff Teehan points out, Apple could fix its keyboard woes with one simple change.

Check it out:

iOS7keyboard

Teehan’s proposed fix is actually borrowed from Android, which deals with the shift key problem by simply changing the case of the characters when you tap the button. A double press to activate Caps lock highlighted with a different key color would make it a great fit with iOS 7, and ease a lot of texters frustrations.

Google might not like Apple aping the idea after their thermonuclear war, so maybe a variation of this is more likely, but sadly, at this point a fixed shift key is one of our biggest wishes for iOS 8.

  • AgedWiseOne

    Agreed! On? Off? Have to type something to find out!!

  • Mirian Koridze

    NO.

  • BlazingSwordofTruth

    but then the shift of case on all the keys can be annoying. the answer is pretty straightforward. have the shift on arrow be a bit larger and more importantly, a bit higher. so the progression would be arrow= shift off. arrow moves up and enlarges =shift on. enlarged arrow moved up with line underneath = shift lock.

    done.

  • Tom Gibson

    Or just go back to the original design, which there was nothing wrong with.

  • azntaiji

    Or just Jailbreak your device and download ShowCase :)

    • mlee19841

      Thanks dude sweet tweak

    • SupaMac

      I’m so used to ShowCase that i honestly forgot that the iOS keyboard always shows uppercase.

      • :)

        Yeah, same here. Safe mode always gives off this ugly and beta vibe to me…

  • http://appletite.tumblr.com/ Alex

    I still think it should use a color instead of just a slightly darker version of gray. At a quick glance I still don’t think the proposed solution is very clear either….

    When it was a glowing blue button in iOS 6, it was absolutely clear that you had the Caps Lock on. What was wrong with that design?

  • http://jamiebrightmore.com/ Jamie Brightmore

    This issue bugs me every day. Terrible UI decision by Apple.

  • Mrus

    It works for me: best of anything so far.

  • Frankie Pallitta

    HAHAHAHA that’s true. i never know and it pisses me off. And I actually thought the apple guys were thinkers… how simple of a fix… how about for all replies… anything is better than what it is now..

  • Merckel

    How about making the arrow smaller for lower case and bigger for upper case?

  • Charilaos Mulder

    No. Like all the other grey buttons, the shift key should be white when pressed/activated. Grey means not active, white means active. Makes sense. Caps lock is white, too, with a different icon, because it’s yet another active state of the button.

    • WP

      If grey means not active, then ALL the keys on the keyboard (including letters) should be grey until activated – that’s what causes the problem.

  • Mike Chu

    This was a jailbreak tweak called ShowCase from back in 2011

  • Biebs

    Or you know. Just go back to the way it’s looked, and worked, in all previous versions of ios.

    Ive wanted his simplistic design, but it doesn’t work on a lot of ways. He just made it worse.

  • appliance5000

    Nice thing about Android – you can download any number of different keyboards including the amazing swiftkey. Hope you get that button fixed- keep us posted.

  • http://www.nbrand.ro/ Eduard Pantazi

    Keyboard look much nicer with uppercase this iOS 7 keyboard, but the shift key need to be much visible when is pressed and locked. I simple solution could be to change the color of the shift key when is pressed and alsi when is locked, not like now…

  • Ventura

    I want them to add a ‘Delete’ key as well as a ‘backspace’ key

  • syed haris

    This keys board look like a toys.

  • AntoniusPrime

    Android weren’t the first to shift case on displayed keyboard characters when shift or caps was pressed.
    Pretty sure the original Xbox did it, the Xbox 360 definitely does it and Nintendo’s Wii does it.

    These kind of UI decisions aren’t just for Apple or Google…

    • WP

      (Agreed – The on screen keyboard of the old MS pocket pc phone I had back in the day before switching to iPhone also did this and it just makes sense.)

  • Rene Stein

    Am I the only person who has not ever struggled with the new shift key? Dreary grey means shift key not on, very strong black on white means it is one. Doesn’t really take a genius to figure it out. I looked at all the posts on the various sites (iMore, here, etc) when 7.1 first came out and thought to myself, “Are these people really that dull?”

    • matthewdeaners

      Not everyone’s experience of the world is identical to yours. It’s great that your brain is able to process the disconnect between the on/off state of one button being the opposite of the on/off state of adjacent buttons. You might very well have a more powerful brain. However, not being able to anticipate that other brains and people experience the world differently (and the assumption they must simply be dull) demonstrates lack of empathy, which is an indicator of psychopathy. So, maybe those other people are better off?

      • darlaj

        I had to go check my phone to see what the problem is, too. I’m not terribly bright or dull, but my brain seems to have adapted easily to this change.

        I do have trouble because the passcode entry screen looks too much like the phone dialer. I’d prefer to enter numbers, letters or characters from the keyboard to unlock the phone. Or maybe next year a fingerprint.

      • SupaMac

        you’ve always been able to do enter from the keyboard. mine has been set up like this since iOS 5

        Settings>General>Passcode Lock> then turn “Simple Passcode” off. Now you can make your passcode whatever you want – words, numbers, whatever.

        my passcode is just one letter and the standard keyboard comes up automatically when i turn my phone screen on

  • http://www.russellbishop.co.uk/ Russell Bishop

    Like Android.

  • BrS

    Jony Ive seems to be master of bad and ugly interface design.

  • William Donelson

    M and the (delete) key are way too close. This has driven me crazy since day one.

  • Jason Brooks Nyquist

    And then: Shift + Backspace = Delete!!!

  • CapsLock

    Just change the color of the arrow to green or simulate a small green LED on the shift key like on some real keyboards.

  • darlaj

    Nevermind.

  • Robson Masta

    Why was my comment deleted? I posted a perfectly on-the-topic and insightful comment on this G-d-awful Shift key in iOS 7, and compared it to Windows Phone exquisite keyboard implementation (seriously, this one’s awesome! I know it’s a Windows Phone, but the keyboard’s actually great) but my comment was soon deleted. Why, was it that I dared to mention the competitive product with a little praise which I think is due? I didn’t even give that much praise to Windows Phone, I just mentioned a better implementation and expressed hope that one day iOS will feature a similar solution, that’s it. I honestly think my comment was valuable, and deleting it was on the same level of childish as fandroids on xda-dev circle-jerking off to the compile error log voice-over.

About the author

Buster HeinBuster Hein is Cult of Mac's Senior News Editor and lives in Phoenix, Arizona. Twitter: @bst3r.

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