How-to

iPhone's hidden trackpad makes editing text easier. Learn how it works – CNET


iPhone 13 Pro Max

The iPhone’s trackpad feature can be particularly useful for people with large hands.


Sarah Tew/CNET

Unleashing the full potential of your iPhone ($1,129 at Amazon) or iPad ($439 at Amazon) requires a deep dive into the many features of iOS 15. Some features are stashed away in your settings, making them harder to find. Other times they’re hidden in plain view — like the secret trackpad in your keyboard.

Usually when you’re writing a long text message or an email, you use your finger to move the cursor and go back to any area of text you want to delete, rewrite or edit. A magnifying bubble appears underneath your fingertip anytime you do this, enlarging the text so that it’s easier to navigate.

However, if you find it difficult to move your cursor so precisely with your finger, iOS offers another option. In this guide we’ll show you how to access the trackpad that’s hidden in your keyboard, which makes it so much easier to move your cursor and make edits to your text on your iPhone or iPad.

For more, be sure to check out our best iPhone for 2022 and best iPad for 2022 roundups.

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The hidden trackpad in your keyboard should look like this.


Nelson Aguilar/CNET

How to unlock your iPhone and iPad’s hidden trackpad

Here’s how to discover the hidden iOS trackpad.

1. Anywhere you’ve written a block of text, bring up your keyboard and press and hold your finger down on the space key until the keyboard goes blank. You should feel a bit of haptic feedback and see the cursor enlarge for a second, which means you can now use the keyboard as a trackpad.

2. With your finger still pressed down, move it around the entire keyboard to move your cursor, just like you would on your Mac’s trackpad.

3. To place the cursor, simply lift your finger off the screen. You can then use any of the other keys, like delete, to make any edits in the text. If you want to move the cursor once again, press your finger down on the space key to bring up the hidden trackpad.

Check out the video below to see the hidden feature in action.

If you’re interested in more tips and tricks for the iPhone, check out these iOS 15 hidden features every iPhone user should know about and how to unlock this hidden iPhone feature to quickly ID songs. And if you’ve got an Apple computer, here are seven of the best hidden features for your Mac.


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