Ask LH: Can I Make My iPad Cursor More Usable?

Ask LH: Can I Make My iPad Cursor More Usable?
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Dear Lifehacker, I am getting to like my iPad and my smart phone better than my computer for reading email, surfing the web and many other tasks. But for any sort of editing — even writing email — I find the biggest obstacle to ease of use to be the difficulty in positioning the cursor. If I want to go back to insert something, it is hard to dab in the right spot. Any ideas? Thanks, Cursing The Cursor

Dear CTC,

I feel your pain. The lack of arrow keys on the iOS keyboard makes it a pain to even go back a few characters.

If you do a lot of editing and typing on your iPad you could consider a keyboard case. I purchased the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for both my iPad and iPad mini. Although they do add a little bulk to the iPad, it’s not a huge amount and it’s unlikely to make much difference in your bag. That gives you a proper keyboard with arrows that make editing much easier. In addition you get improved access to keyboard shortcuts.

Alternately, you could look at alternative keyboards such as Tyype HD or SwipeSelection although the latter requires you to jailbreak your iPad.

Finally, there is a little bit of technique in getting the cursor to land in the right spot. Rather than just trying to tap in the right spot, a tap-hold will display a loupe that magnifies the section of the word you’re editing and the cursor.


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  • As ever, the only way to make a Cupertino product usable is with a third party piece of hardware.
    Ha ha, jailbreak it to make it usable, brilliant!
    I love the concept of going to jail for trying to get some decent usage out of the device I overpaid for.

    • Out of all the android keyboards on my Xoom2 I’ve tried, none were any better, especially when it comes to selecting words/paragraphs where every app works differently if its even possible.

  • The Win8/RT onscreen keyboard has back and forward cursors. Maybe if you want to be productive on a tablet you would be happier with a Surface? 😛

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