There's one change in iOS 7.1 that has not gone down WELL.
Apple has changed the look of the Shift key on the keyboard. Prior to iOS 7 the arrow on the Shift key was greyed out when not activated, and filled in when caps lock was on.
In iOS 7.1 the design of the Shift key has changed. In iOS 7.1 when caps lock is off the Shift key is a white arrow on a grey background, when Shift is selected it is a white button with a black arrow.
This had lead to much confusion. If you were used to recognising caps as being on because the arrow was filled in, therefore indicating that it was selected, you may be confused by the fact that the operating system now indicates that the shift key is selected by making the background of the key white, with a black arrow.
When the Shift key is deselected it is grey with a white arrow – which while in many circumstances would suggest it was deselected, in this case makes it stand out more, with the resultant effect being that it looks like it is selected.
The amount of times we have tapped shift unnecessarily since the update to iOS 7.1 has got us thinking about other ways Apple could improve the iOS keyboard.
Here are our top five requests for the iOS keyboard
1) The Shift key should look like it is selected when it is selected. One way to indicate that shift is off would be to show lower case letters on the keyboard when it caps isn't selected.
2) An extra line should be added to the keyboard for numbers. We are fed up with switching keyboards every time we need to type numbers – so often part of passwords these days.
3) We'd love the ability to switch the iOS keyboard to another from a third party – one you could buy on the App Store, for example. This is something that Android users can do, and they do like to let us know this.
4) There's a darker version of the iOS keyboard used in the YouTube app. The strange thing is that this darker keyboard was available in the iOS 7.1 beta but now it has disappeared. The darker keyboard is perfect for use in darker environments, which is most likely why YouTube adopted it. It seems odd that this feature didn't make it out of beta form.
5) We may say Damn you AutoCorrect from time to time, but when you don't have it you realise just how helpful it is with such a compact keyboard. We are often frustrated by the fact that it is missing from the search field in Safari. This means when we are searching for information in Safari we often end up with a line of gobbledegook. We've got various tips for getting AutoCorrect to work better for you here, but it would be even better if Apple could improve the accuracy of our typing by improving the keyboard so that the keys are less crammed together. One solution to this problem would be the rumoured bigger screen iPhone.
Luckily there are a few work arounds to these issues we have. We have collected together eight of our favourite tips for using the keyboard in iOS 7.1.
[Read our iOS 7 review here]
1) Keep caps lock on in iOS 7
Would you like the ability to keep caps lock on when typing a series of upper case letters on your iPhone? It is possible but you need to activate this option in settings. Go to: Settings > General > Keyboard > Enable Caps Lock. Now when you want to type a series of capital letters just double tap the shift key. Again the shift key looks different in iOS 7.1
2) Type .com .co.uk on the iOS 7 keyboard
Want to quickly type co.uk or .com for a web address while using Safari. Just tap and hold the full stop [.] and you will see a number of common web address shortcuts.
3)Find accented letters on the iOS 7 keyboard
If you have to type accented letters it is possible to do so by pressing and holding the letter until the selection of accented alternatives appear. You can find other special characters by tapping and holding some of the punctuation marks found under the numbers. For example, press and hold the UK pound sign and one of the options is the dollar sign. You don't need to move your finger up to the new character, just role your finger and the selection will move to the next option.
4) Quickly type ? and other punctuation in on the iOS 7 keyboard
Fed up with having to go to the numbers keypad to type a question mark [?] and then having to tap the 123 key again to go back to the main keyboard? There is a shortcut. You can tap and hold the 123 key and then drag your finger to the question mark, or keep the 123 key selected with another finger and select the question mark, and then release, the first keyboard will return.
5) Enter number and letters without constantly switching keyboards in iOS 7
You can use this same shortcut if you are entering a sequence of numbers and letters – perhaps as a password. It's not ideal for one handed use, but it does cut out some extra key presses.
6) Use Emoji's in iOS 7 on the iPhone and iPad
If you'd like to use Emoji's but hadn't yet figured out how to add them to your keyboard on your iPad you need to do the following: Go to: Settings > General > Keyboard > Keyboards > Add New Keyboard > Emoji. Now when the keypad is visible you will see a globe key next to the space bar. This gives you access to alternative keyboards, including the various Emoji images. It could also include keyboard for other countries if you require them.
7) Dictate rather than type on your iPhone or iPad
Why not bypass typing all together. You can activate dictation from the keyboard by tapping the microphone symbol next to the spacebar. Now you can just speak what you want to type to your iPad or iPhone.
8) Make the keyboard darker on the iPad or iPhone
Want a darker keyboard. There is a workaround. Go to: General > Accessibility > Increase Contrast > Reduce Transparency. if you go to Apple has including the keyboard in the Bold Font option in Accessibility this would be sufficient. You can also select Reduce Transparency in Accessibility options and this will make the keyboard darker. You can also select Bold Text here but beware your phone will need to restart following the switch. The result is a slightly darker and more defined keyboard.