Since I began writing this column I’ve talked about such lofty topics as Internet privacy, the Facebook scandal, a new definition for the kilogram, and why we should all care about net neutrality. I always get a lot of nice emails when pieces like these appear.
But those few times when I’ve written about little-known but immensely useful features on iPhones and iPads, a tsunami hits my inbox. So while “stuff that makes you think” is nice, “stuff that you can use” is what gets gobbled up.
Accordingly, I’m going to tell you about something that will make you want to name your children after me.
We all have the experience of composing an email or a text message or a tweet, then going back to correct mistakes. It’s usually about adding or replacing a character, which is not difficult, at least not after you get the cursor to the right spot. Getting the cursor to the right spot is what causes endless frustration and compels us to hurl epithets at the iOS designers who didn’t give enough thought to how we correct errors.
It turns out they did; they just forgot to tell us about it. Some iPhone 6S users know about the incredible feature that lets you turn the keyboard into a glide pad (a.k.a. “trackpad”): Instead of tapping on the keyboard, you press on it. The keyboard disappears, and you can now slide your finger around and easily move the cursor to any position you want, not just within a text line but up, down and anywhere.
I use this feature dozens of times a day, and everyone I’ve ever shown it to has thanked me profusely. Unfortunately, it only works on phones like the iPhone 6S, which have pressure-sensitive, “3D Touch” screens that respond to being pressed as well as tapped. And no iPad has 3D Touch.
Well, guess what: I found out by accident that this feature is available on ordinary iPhones that don’t have 3D Touch, like the iPhone 6. Even more surprising, I tried it on an older model iPad and it worked there, too.
It’s ridiculously simple.
After you type your text, put your finger on the space bar of the keyboard and hold it there. In about a second, the keyboard will blank out, so it looks like this:
Then, just start moving your finger around and place the cursor wherever you want it.
Amazing, isn’t it?
Now there will be children all over the country carrying my name. Very exciting.
Lee Gruenfeld is a managing partner of Cholawsky and Gruenfeld Advisory, as well as a principal with the TechPar Group in New York, a boutique consulting firm consisting exclusively of former C-level executives and "Big Four" partners. He was vice president of strategic initiatives for Support.com, senior vice president and general manager of a SaaS division he created for a technology company in Las Vegas, national head of professional services for computing pioneer Tymshare, and a partner in the management consulting practice of Deloitte in New York and Los Angeles. Lee is also the award-winning author of fourteen critically-acclaimed, best-selling works of fiction and non-fiction. For more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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