Dev Finds One-Handed Keyboard Code Hidden in iOS

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Small hands can make opening jars, playing the piano, and typing one-handed quite difficult. So it's a wonder why Apple never made public the one-handed keyboard hidden in its mobile operating system.

Developer Steve Troughton-Smith discovered code for an unused edge-swipe keyboard hidden in iOS Simulator, which is used to test apps. The feature, activated by swiping from the edge of the screen on the left or right, has reportedly been in existence since at least iOS 8.

Based on Troughton-Smith's demo, a modified keypad clusters QWERTY keys to one side, making them easier to reach with one thumb. Not everyone finds it difficult to write on the 5.5-inch iPhone Plus handsets, but writing a long text or email while multitasking can prove difficult.

Anyone with a jailbroken iPhone—especially one of the larger models—can dip into the code provided via Twitter by Troughton-Smith.

Apple did not immediately respond to PCMag's request for comment.

The iPhones already have some assistive options for those with smaller hands. The iPhone 6 and 7 lineups include a Reachability feature, which lowers the top half of the screen when you double-tap on the home button.

Microsoft in April launched its predictive Word Flow Keyboard for iOS, which encourages folks to replace their existing Apple keyboard with Redmond's one-handed alternative. Those who don't want the "arc" mode for single-hand typing can use the function—the brainchild of Microsoft Garage—as a standard keyboard in landscape mode.

Word Flow is one of many alternatives, including Swype and SwiftKey, the latter of which Microsoft acquired in February.

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