How to Use the iPad's Nifty Flick Keyboard Feature

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The QuickType keyboard on the iPad has been updated in iOS 11 to introduce a super handy new Flick feature designed to let you enter numbers and symbols without the shift key.

When you upgrade to iOS 11 and take a look at the keyboard on the iPad, you'll notice that all of the keys now display letters and number/symbols. A tap lets you enter the main letter on the keyboard, while a flick lets you enter the secondary symbol or number. Here's how to use it:

  1. Bring up the iPad's keyboard, either in an app or using the search feature.
  2. Tap on a key if you want to enter the standard letter or symbol.
  3. To enter the "flick" symbol, touch a key and then pull downwards.
  4. As you pull down, the symbol will replace the letter on the keyboard and it'll be entered into the text field.

Typing symbols and numbers this way is simple, intuitive, and a lot faster than taking the time to use the shift key. With this keyboard, you can still access the special characters and accent marks by holding down on a key.

Turning Off the Flick Key Option

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap "General."
  3. Select the "Keyboard" option.
  4. Toggle off "Enable Key Flicks."

Compatibility

The new key flicking feature is available for almost all iPads that are able to run iOS 11, with the exception of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. With the larger iPad Pro model, you won't be able to use key flicks. It is, however, available on all other iPad Pro models, the iPad Air and later, the iPad mini 2 and later, and the 5th generation iPad.

Top Rated Comments

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35 months ago
This is a great feature and for people who mix a lot of numbers into their text (like me) it's going to be a huge time saver. However, to me they got the direction wrong. It's much more intuitive to flick up, towards the symbol you're "shifting" to IMO. Maybe it's just one of those things that makes sense for some people and not for others, for example up-down flight controls in games with inverted option. Unfortunately as far as I can tell, Apple isn't providing an option to invert it.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
35 months ago
Why not on the 12.9?
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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35 months ago
I love this thing. Agree the gray is too light. Thought I’d be getting it on the phone as well. Really miss it there.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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35 months ago
This is one of my favorite features of iOS 11. Before, I remember thinking how good the Win 10 keyboard (at least on the SP3) was with being able to long press on the top row and then swipe up to access the numbers directly, without having to switch to the number keyboard. I would often try to do that by accident on iOS 10.

Now I find myself doing the opposite and trying to use flick gestures on the SP3 keyboard. MS has even gone a step backwards (imo) in their preview releases and took a good idea and ruined it (you now have to long press and swipe up and right).
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
35 months ago

Doesn’t work on the flagship 12.9 Pro?

It is on mine, I have the 1st Gen iPad Pro 12.9. Not sure if that was a typo or not. Had it on all the betas for it too.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
35 months ago

This is a great feature and for people who mix a lot of numbers into their text (like me) it's going to be a huge time saver. However, to me they got the direction wrong. It's much more intuitive to flick up, towards the symbol you're "shifting" to IMO. Maybe it's just one of those things that makes sense for some people and not for others, for example up-down flight controls in games with inverted option. Unfortunately as far as I can tell, Apple isn't providing an option to invert it.

I'm OK with flick-down for digits & symbols; especially since what I'd really like is for Apple to add flick-up for uppercase.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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