How to enable the swipe keyboard in iPadOS

Aug 2, 2019
Apple, iOS

Typing on the iPad has never been easy. It's a heavy device, and when you hold it in one hand, there is a giant keyboard on the screen which isn't designed for one-hand usage.

When SwiftKey was released for iOS, I was happy but still not 100% satisfied. Don't get me wrong, it's good but I didn't like swiping across the gigantic keyboard. It isn't convenient.

How to enable the swipe keyboard in iPadOS

Note: I may be biased because the Android version of SwiftKey is re-sizeable, while its iOS counterpart isn't. Though this may largely be an OS limitation.

Apple has finally added support for the swipe keyboard in iOS 13. iPadOS also received a similar option, called the floating keyboard.

How to enable the swipe keyboard in iPadOS

1. Open any app which has a text field (browser, App Store, Mail, etc), on your iPad.

2. Tap in the text field, to bring up the iPadOS keyboard in to view.

3. Now, use two fingers to pinch inwards on the keyboard. The gesture is similar to the zoom out pinch you may use on a touch screen.

4. The keyboard will shrink to a phone sized keyboard, which you can place anywhere.

5. Try swiping on the keys; it should work.

How to enable the swipe keyboard in iPadOS 2

Tip: To restore the keyboard to its original size, pinch outwards on the keyboard (like a zoom in gesture).

This works in landscape mode and portrait mode.

If that didn't enable the swipe keyboard, you may need to enable the Slide option from the  iPadOS Settings. Navigate to the Settings > General > Keyboard section. Scroll down till you see the option which says "Slide on Floating Keyboard to Type".

Make sure this toggle is enabled. Alternatively, if you were wondering how to disable the swipe keyboard in iPadOS, use the same method to disable the toggle.

How to enable the swipe keyboard in iPadOS 3

Tip: Sometimes the floating keyboard disappears, at least for me, and does not re-appear. To fix this, close the app in which you were using it, and re-open it, you will be able to access it again.

While this is much better than SwiftKey in terms of the size, there is still no resize option in the iOS floating keyboard. Apple really needs to let us resize the keyboard manually for the landscape mode. The animation for it does seem to exist though it doesn't work.

How to move the floating keyboard in iPadOS

Hold the floating keyboard with two fingers, and drag it anywhere on the screen. Regardless of where you place it, it will always appear on the left-hand corner of the screen. This is something else that I think Apple should address before shipping iOS 13 to the masses. The keyboard should remember the position, and also start back up in the floating mode.

Don't forget to check our iOS tutorials for configuring the DNS, VPN, and Safari.

How to enable the swipe keyboard in iPadOS
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How to enable the swipe keyboard in iPadOS
Want to use swipe gesture input on your iPad? We'll show you how to enable the swipe keyboard in iPadOS
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  1. Anonee said on August 3, 2019 at 10:00 am

    Yeah, the new keyboard looks awesome in iOS 13. I haven’t used the beta yet because I can’t take the chance but now we’re just a month or so from public release, so the wait is almost over!
    I like that you can shrink and expand the keyboard to taste and drag it anywhere around the screen. Also, nice to have native swiping built in for those who prefer it, though I’ve never gotten used to the swiping on 3rd party keyboards, either for iOS or android, but maybe Apple’s implementation can win me over? I never liked predictions either until Apple created their QuickType bar, which I still find to be better than any other keyboards predictions. Especially since iOS 12 expanded the functionality to allow 3rd party objects in the QuickType bar, such as matching passwords from LastPass.

    Btw, you said “Regardless of where you place it, it will always appear on the left-hand corner of the screen.” but I think that’s just a bug?
    I remember when they showed it off at the WWDC, they were dragging it around and it stayed put when let go. I think I remember seeing people show it off in YT videos too and it seemed to be working properly.

  2. owl said on August 3, 2019 at 7:11 am

    Thanks a lot.
    I installed the “SwiftKey Keyboard” of the topic.
    ‎SwiftKey Keyboard on the App Store |

    By the way, I use the equipment is “iPad mini 2 32Gb Wi-Fi + Cellular (ME824)” manufactured in 2015.

    At home, I use desktop PC (Windows), external monitor (3840×2160), the keyboard uses the “Logicool K345”. Windows is a user from “3.1”. Previously “MS-DOS” also has experience.
    iPhone is for business use and is Loaned goods from the company (personal use is prohibited).
    I bought “iPad mini 2” because I thought it was convenient for travel.
    A MacStore salesperson replied, “It can be used for about 6 hours with a full charge,” but in practical use, the battery will run out in about 2 hours and 30 minutes.
    While going out, there are limited opportunities for charging, and as a result, it was not suitable for practical use.

    The following is from official information:
    iPad mini 2 with Retina display – Technical Specifications |
    Battery and Power >>6
    >> 6.Testing conducted by Apple in October 2013 using preproduction iPad mini 2 units and software. Testing consisted of full battery discharge while performing each of the following tasks: video playback, audio playback, and Internet browsing using Wi‑Fi or cellular data network. Video content was a repeated 2-hour 23-minute movie purchased from the iTunes Store. Audio content was a playlist of 358 unique audio tracks purchased from the iTunes Store. Internet over Wi‑Fi and cellular data network tests were conducted using dedicated web and mail servers, browsing snapshot versions of 20 popular web pages, and receiving mail once an hour. All settings were default except: Wi‑Fi was associated with a network (except for Internet browsing over cellular data network); the Wi‑Fi feature Ask to Join Networks and Auto-Brightness were turned off; Brightness was set to 50%; and WPA2 encryption was enabled. Battery life depends on device settings, usage, and many other factors. Battery tests are conducted using specific iPad units; actual results may vary.

    The nominal value is about 2 hours and 23 minutes, which is the same as my actual feeling.

    In my usage, I lost the opportunity to use the “iPad mini 2,” but I’m going to use it to this opportunity.
    I reconfirmed the power saving settings.
    Batteries – Maximizing Performance – Apple |

    About 4 years have passed since the purchase of “iPad mini 2,” but since it is rarely used, the practical usage is unknown. gHacks articles are good textbooks. Thank you. And, please best regards in the future.

    1. owl said on August 3, 2019 at 12:50 pm

      By the way, as for old type up to iPad mini 3, the current “iOS 12.4” was the final release, and it was revealed by a telephone inquiry to official support that the future update was finished.
      There is no “floating keyboard” in the setting items of this machine.
      And “swipe keyboard” is not available. That is a disappointing result.

  3. owl said on August 2, 2019 at 2:36 pm

    @Ashwin: iPad, It’s a heavy device, and when you hold it in one hand, there is a giant keyboard on the screen which isn’t designed for one-hand usage.
    …… I didn’t like swiping across the gigantic keyboard. It isn’t convenient.

    I totally agree, and iPad’s battery drains quickly.
    As a result, in daily use is Desktop PC (Windows 10) of wired LAN connection using AC power.
    Since it is rare to use iPad, it is now a “Objet covered with dust”, but I think to try this usage.
    Thank you for the useful information.

    1. Ashwin said on August 2, 2019 at 2:53 pm

      You’re welcome.

      If your device is sitting unused, and you want a way to use it, I suggest getting a Bluetooth keyboard. I use a Logitech K480, which has a dock to place the iPad in it. It kind of transforms it into a laptop. The K480 also works with Android, Windows and macOS, so you can use it with other devices.

      Regarding the battery issue, I haven’t really faced any in 2+ years. One charge lasts me a week or so (browsing/reading, videos, IMs). Take a backup of your data and try resetting the OS to see if that fixes it.

  4. Yuliya said on August 2, 2019 at 10:21 am

    I could never use this thing, on Android. Always disable it, also disable any form of auto-correction/punctuation, spell checking and so on. I prefer to be in full control of formatting. I just want a keyboard, not some future Terminator AI:

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