How to try out iPad’s hidden floating keyboard

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iPad floating keyboard
The hidden floating keyboard in action.
Photo: Steve Troughton-Smith

Apple’s latest iOS 10.3 betas feature a floating QuickType keyboard for iPad, but it’s hidden away and inaccessible for now. Here’s how you can try it out before it is officially unlocked using the free Swift Playgrounds app.

When in use, the floating QuickType keyboard appears inside its own little window, like a Picture in Picture video. It’s about the same size as an iPhone keyboard, making it easier to type when holding your iPad in one hand.

It’s unclear why Apple is yet to unlock it, but recent speculation suggests it is waiting to make the feature available with the new iPads expected this spring. To try it out early, all you need is the Swift Playgrounds app, iOS 10.3, and some code, which you can download from GitHub.

The code was released by recognized iOS developer Steve Troughton-Smith. Once you have an iOS 10.3 beta installed, you’ll be able to download it on your iPad and open it in the Swift Playgrounds app. You can then hold down the emoji key to access the floating keyboard.

Note that the keyboard will only work inside Swift Playgrounds, so you won’t be able to use it elsewhere. And if you have a 12.9-inch iPad Pro, you’ll need to set your screen resolution to match that of the 9.7-inch iPad within Display Zoom settings before starting.

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