Android iPhone and iPad

This Feature May Make You Switch to Google Keyboard

Joel Lee 28-06-2016

Typing on a smartphone has never been easy, especially if you use a device with a smaller screen. Even if you’re skinny like me, “fat finger syndrome” is a very real problem. You always end up hitting the wrong key.


Sure, you could always switch to gesture typing — supported by most modern keyboard apps What Is the Best Alternative Keyboard for Android? We take a look at some of the best keyboards in the Play Store and put them to the test. Read More — but that still doesn’t solve the frustrations of fixing a typo or changing a word to something else.

I don’t know about you, but it usually takes me a few taps to get the cursor on the right spot when editing text on my smartphone, especially in note-taking apps What Is the Best Free Note-Taking App for Android? Want to take notes on your Android phone or tablet? Here are the best free note-taking apps for Android. Read More .


But it appears that Google Keyboard (Android, iOS) has solved this problem once and for all. Gone are the days of tap-tap-tapping just to position your cursor where you want it to be.

Here’s how it works: Press and hold the spacebar, then slide your finger to the left (to move the cursor leftwards) or to the right (to move the cursor rightwards). The cursor moves one characters at a time.


Awesome, isn’t it?

So if you aren’t using Google Keyboard yet, then maybe it’s time you made the switch. Quality-of-life features like this one may seem small and insignificant, but once you start using them, you’ll never go back. I know I won’t.

Do you use Google Keyboard? What are your favorite features about it? If not, which keyboard app do you prefer? Let us know below!

Image Credit: Holding Smartphone via Shutterstock

Related topics: Google Apps, Keyboard, Touch Typing.

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  1. Peter
    December 8, 2016 at 7:53 am

    I actually use a physical keyboard that slides out from the back of my phone, not using the virtual keyboard at all

  2. Kyle
    July 26, 2016 at 5:27 pm

    I think the original IOS keyboad is actually more useful with regard to text editing when you have a device with 3D Touch enabled. Applying pressure turns your keyboard into a trackpad where you can not only move your cursor with precision, but you can also make exact selections to delete or retype.

    The search features for the google keyboard are where I feel it really shines. But I use both, because the built-in IOS features are too useful to forego.

    • Joel Lee
      July 29, 2016 at 7:58 pm

      I've never owned an iPhone so I can't say I have much experience with that, but you've definitely intrigued me. Maybe I'll play around with a friend's phone the next chance I get. Thanks Kyle!

  3. Rajitha
    July 26, 2016 at 8:29 am

    SwiftKey has 4 arrow keys. And the beta version comes with a clipboard with which you can save multiple copied items. Very convenient.

    • Rajitha
      July 26, 2016 at 8:31 am

      you have to enable up,down,left, right arrow keys in swiftkey settings.

    • Joel Lee
      July 29, 2016 at 7:57 pm

      The arrow keys are nice, but they end up taking too much screen space for my liking (good for tablets though). Thanks Rajitha!

      • Rajitha
        July 30, 2016 at 1:03 pm

        You are welcome! It does eat into the screen -specially if you enable the top row with numbers and ruins the slick look (Mine occupies almost half of the screen in portrait mode)

  4. Mike Fischer
    July 25, 2016 at 4:36 pm

    This is an elusive feature that deserves much more attention, and I was sure It was not working on my phone until I read “tap and slide”. The whole reason I installed the “hackers” keyboard was for the arrow buttons.. made obsolete by this.
    I think Google or someone should do more to promote this and do it well .. it is not at all obvious.

    • Joel Lee
      July 29, 2016 at 7:56 pm

      Sorry about that, yes "tap and slide" is a better way to describe it. It's a shame most users don't know this exists! Thanks Mike.

  5. Tony
    July 25, 2016 at 12:32 pm

    How stupid is it that it's not available outside the USA?

  6. shemul
    June 30, 2016 at 7:49 pm

    Wish it had support for bangla. I use multiling keyboard.

  7. Najib Dajani
    June 29, 2016 at 10:00 pm

    Swiftkey has a cursor row at the bottom with all 4 directions.

    • Joel Lee
      July 4, 2016 at 2:38 am

      I didn't realize that until recently. Thanks Najib. I still prefer the Google way because it uses less screen space (I don't have much to spare on my Moto G) but it's great that SwiftKey has something similar.

    • Rajitha
      July 26, 2016 at 8:30 am

      And there is a clip board available in the beta version. Beat that google xD

  8. Neil
    June 29, 2016 at 4:10 pm

    It's just a normal tap and immediate slide of your finger. Holding it too long brings up the input method menu.

    • Joel Lee
      July 4, 2016 at 2:37 am

      Yeah, you're absolutely right Neil. "Tap and slide" is more accurate phrasing than "press and hold". Thanks!

  9. Kim
    June 28, 2016 at 2:34 pm

    My stock Samsung keyboard has this feature instead of flow. Very handy!

    • Joel Lee
      July 4, 2016 at 2:36 am

      Oh wow, didn't know stock keyboards were getting this now. That's awesome. Thanks for the heads up, Kim. :D

  10. Anonymous
    June 28, 2016 at 12:14 pm

    doesn't work with kit kat. please specify minimum version number for this feature.

  11. Richard
    June 28, 2016 at 12:14 pm

    You may need to disable the AOSP and other non-Google keyboards in Settings > Language & Input > Current keyboard > CHOOSE KEYBOARDS for this feature to become available.

    My experience was identical to yours until I disabled the AOSP and Google Handwriting keyboards. I left the Google Keyboard and the Google Voice keyboards enabled.

  12. Anonymous
    June 28, 2016 at 10:48 am

    Doesn't work for me: i get the popup where you can choose the input method.

    Swiftkey, however, lets me add arrow keys to the keyboard. Even easier and more intuitive in my opinion.

    • Anonymous
      June 28, 2016 at 12:13 pm

      Same here, doesn't work with Google Keyboard on Galaxy S5 (Marshmallow) or Nexus 7 (2013) (Marshmallow).

      Definitely a very much needed feature, and solves a major usability issue for me.

    • HildyJ
      June 28, 2016 at 10:14 pm

      Peter didn't mention it but, in addition to back and forth arrow keys, Swiftkey also adds up and down arrow keys for multi-line editing.

      • Rajitha
        June 29, 2016 at 4:56 pm

        One of my favourite features of SwiftKey. However arrow keys and number pad on to really eat into the screen space.

        • Rajitha
          June 29, 2016 at 4:57 pm

          *number pad on top

    • Joel Lee
      July 4, 2016 at 2:36 am

      Thanks Peter, I didn't realize SwiftKey had added that feature.