Q. I have a one-year-old iPad, and sometimes when I use the onscreen QWERTY keyboard, numbers or other characters will show up in the text instead of letters. Why is this?
A. Apple’s current iOS 11 update for the iPad included a new feature in the system’s built-in software keyboard called Key Flicks — which may be inadvertently disrupting your text entry. With Key Flicks enabled, most of the onscreen keys can enter different characters depending on how your fingers touch the glass.
The alternate characters for each key are shown in gray above the larger black standard letter or punctuation marks. If you tap the T key normally, you get the letter T. However, if you tap the T key and your finger happens to linger and slide down a bit, the Key Flicks software will use the alternate character for that key — which is the number 5.
Before Key Flicks was introduced, you typically switched from the regular QWERTY keyboard layer by tapping the “.?123” key in the bottom corner to change the layout to a selection of numbers and other characters. When using the numerical keyboard, you can tap the “#+=” key to get to yet another layer of special characters for math and currency symbols. Pressing down on the keys for vowels and other letters that take accents in certain languages opens a menu of accented letters; hold down the dollar sign ($) to get the symbols for the yen, the euro, pound sterling and other currencies.
The Key Flicks feature is meant to save you time and taps. If you find it more frustrating than useful, you can turn it off. To do that, go to the iPad’s home screen and open the Settings app. Tap General, and on the General screen tap Keyboard. In the list of settings, find Enable Key Flicks and tap the button to the right of it to disable the feature and go back to using the multiple keyboard levels to insert numbers and other characters.
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