Is there an easier way to move the cursor when writing and editing text on iOS?

You might be familiar with the standard method of tapping between words to drop the text cursor down. (You know, the little bar that denotes where your next typed character will go.)

You might even know you can press-and-hold on a block of editable text to bring up a magnifier to help place the cursor more accurately.

How most people scrub through text to place the cursor

This is useful for going back to edit words, but it’s not ideal – movement is still somewhat fiddly, and it’s difficult to see what you’re doing with the cursor directly beneath your finger.

Luckily, there’s a much better way. Confusingly, the technique differs between devices and it’s not at all intuitive – but once you know it’s there, it’s incredibly easy to use.

Virtual Trackpad

This is the feature that will change your life forever (if you edit a lot of text on iOS). It turns the entire keyboard panel into a blank area you can swipe to control the cursor like a mouse pointer on a computer.

On most iPhones, you can engage the Virtual Trackpad with 3D Touch by pressing hard on the keyboard. Drag across the screen without letting go and you’ll see the cursor move with amazing precision.

Editing text is so much easier with a trackpad

If you have an iPhone without 3D Touch (that includes old devices as well as the new iPhone XR) you can get the same effect with a long-press on the space bar. iPad users can also engage Virtual Trackpad with a two-finger swipe of the keyboard.