How to Create the iPad Split Keyboard

Easier typing is just a few seconds away

What to Know

  • Tap and hold the Keyboard key > select Undock or Split.
  • Or, place your fingers or thumbs in the middle of the keyboard and move them to either side of the screen.
  • To undo, hold down the Keyboard key and select Dock and Merge, or push the keyboard together with fingers.

This article explains how to an iPad's keyboard. The ability to split an iPad's keyboard is one of the iPhone's many hidden tricks that most people don't know about.

How to Split a Keyboard on iPad

You can split the iPad keyboard in two different ways. The first method uses the keyboard; the second uses your fingers and the screen.

Split a Keyboard Using the Keyboard Keys

The Keyboard key in the lower right corner of the on-screen keyboard normally makes the keyboard disappear. But if you hold your finger down on it, a menu pops up. This menu will let you "undock the keyboard," which puts it in the middle of the screen, or simply split the keyboard in two.

Undock and Split commands

Pull the Keyboard Apart Using Your Fingers and the Screen

There's a quicker way of splitting the keyboard. You can actually pull it apart with your fingers. Do this by placing your fingers or thumbs in the middle of the keyboard and then moving them to either side of the screen to virtually pull the keyboard apart.

The addition of the Virtual Touchpad to the keyboard in iOS 9 makes this a little trickier. If you engage the virtual touchpad, the iPad won't recognize the gesture to split the keyboard. It's worth the update to the current iOS if you use this feature a lot.

If you are having trouble pulling the keyboard apart, you can try placing the iPad flat on the table and using the zoom out gesture on the keyboard. This is accomplished by placing your fingers together and then moving them apart. If you do this with your hand positioned so that your fingers will move horizontally across the keyboard when you make the gesture, it will engage the split keyboard mode. And because you are doing it with one hand, it can be easier for the iPad to recognize.

Split keyboard using fingers

The Hidden Keys on the Split Keyboard

Apple is known for the little things which put the finishing touch on a product or feature, and it's no different with the split keyboard. There are actually hidden keys you can use when you have the keyboard in split mode.

The first row of keys on the right keyboard half can be accessed on the left keyboard by typing in the place the keys would have been if the keyboard continued without the split. So you can type a Y by tapping your finger just to the right of the T and you can type an H by tapping just to the right of the G. This works on the other side as well, allowing you to type a T by tapping to the left of the Y.

So if you are accustomed to reaching these keys with a bigger stretch while thumb-typing, you should still be able to do so on the split keyboard.

How to Fix a Split Keyboard on iPad

Once you are done with the split keyboard, you can "unsplit" the keyboard the same way you split it up.

Method 1

  1. Hold down the keyboard key to pop up the menu.
  2. Select Dock and Merge to combine the keyboard and move it to the bottom of the screen.
    1. Alternatively, select Merge to combine the keyboard but keep it in the middle of the screen.
Merge menu

Method 2

Push the keyboard together with your fingers on the screen. This actually works a bit smoother than pulling them apart. Simply place your index fingers down at the middle edges of each keyboard half and move your fingers together.

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