A secret keyboard that’s never been released is hiding within the iPhone’s iOS system code, by Apple developer Steve Troughton-Smith and revealed in 9to5Mac.
Troughton-Smith suggests the hidden keyboard is designed for one-handed use, as the keys are closer together than the original keyboard in iOS, making it easier to type with a single thumb. The keyboard is activated by swiping from either the left or right edge of the keyboard.
Here’s a closer look at the keyboard:
Check out a video of the keyboard and how it’s activated posted by Troughton-Smith on Twitter:
Video or it didn’t happen: (very hard to engage in the Simulator with a mouse cursor) pic.twitter.com/vw2wpCgiLJ
— Steve T-S (@stroughtonsmith) October 19, 2016
You’ll also notice that you get some copy and paste functions when Troughton-Smith swipes from the edge of the keyboard.
Apparently, the code for the supposedly one-handed keyboard has been in the iPhone operating system since 2014 with iOS 8 (we’re now on iOS 10), which is when Apple released the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Keeping in mind that the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus had larger screens than previous models, it’s possible that Apple was looking for ways to make one-handed typing easier on larger screens.
The recent discovery of this unreleased feature doesn’t necessarily mean Apple will announce it any time soon, if at all. Unfortunately, Troughton-Smith doesn’t elaborate on how to activate the keyboard, either.