Why Is My Keyboard Split On My iPad?

by John Sanderson
Why Is My Keyboard Split On My iPad

The virtual keyboard on your iPad takes up most of the screen, but there’s still some empty space above it. Then why is your keyboard split on your iPad? Is something broken? It turns out this is a conscious design choice by Apple and not an error. The virtual keyboard on the iPad has a built-in feature that splits it in half to make typing easier. Depending on how you hold your iPad, one side of the keyboard will be more visible than the other. You won’t see the split if you are holding your device in landscape mode or with the home button at the top left corner of the device. Here’s how to enable or disable this feature if you find it distracting or annoying as per your personal preferences.

Why Is My Keyboard Split On My iPad?

The split keyboard is a very clever way to optimize the space that’s left over after you’ve put all the keys on your iPad virtual keyboard. When you’re holding your iPad in portrait mode, the split keyboard is always visible at the bottom of your screen. The top half of the virtual keyboard is always hidden behind it. But when you rotate your iPad to landscape mode, a little side panel pops up (shown above) and covers up part of your virtual keyboard. This is great because it gives you more room for all of those extra keys (like Shift, Tab, Caps Lock, and so on).

Split Keyboard

In the early days of iOS, Apple faced a problem. The keyboard was taking up most of the screen space and it was hard to type with one hand. To solve this problem, Apple introduced a split keyboard in iOS 5 where the keyboard is separated into two parts: The top section for main keys (like letters and numbers) and the bottom section for secondary keys (like punctuation marks, etc). This feature makes it easier to use your iPad in landscape mode. 

Split Keyboard on iPhone

This feature has been introduced on all iPhones but is not enabled by default. You can enable this feature from Settings > General > Accessibility > Split Keyboard. If you are using an iPhone 4s or later, simply enable this option and you will see a split keyboard on your phone’s virtual keyboard.

Split Keyboard on iPad

It seems that a split keyboard is not available on iPads running iOS 8 or earlier versions like iPad 2 or lower series devices. However, there is a way to enable this feature on your iPad. You can enable a split keyboard for the top half of your virtual keyboard from Settings > General > Accessibility > Split Keyboard.

Split Keyboard on iPad Pro

iOS 9 introduced a new way to use split keyboards on iPads that have a larger screen size. In addition, it has an adaptive layout feature that allows the keyboard to automatically adjust to the size of the screen. To enable this feature, you need to go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Switch Control and then switch the adaptive layout option as enabled. The second option will automatically split up the keyboard into two halves as you type.

How to Enable iPad Virtual Keyboard Split

  • Tap Settings on the Home screen.
  • Select General from the left column.
  • Tap Accessibility from the menu on the right.
  • Select Split Keyboard under the Vision section on the left side of the screen.
  • Tap Enable Split Keyboard to enable it or Disable Split Keyboard to disable it again as per your personal preferences if you find it annoying or distracting as per your personal preferences as shown below image for iOS 9/10 and below images for iOS 11/12.

Is the iPad Keyboard Split Enabled by Default?

  • Swipe up from the bottom of the screen to open up Control Center.
  • Scroll down and tap on General.
  • You’ll see the Split Keyboard option at the top, which is enabled by default.
  • If you don’t want Split Keyboard enabled, tap on it and turn it off, as shown in the screenshot below:

When you are done, tap on Done and then close Control Center by tapping on its close button at the top right corner of your screen:

  • You can also turn off Split Keyboard from Settings > General > Keyboard > Split Keyboard:

The keyboard of the Future: Apple’s Magic Toolbar

  1. On a Mac, open System Preferences.
  2. Click on the Keyboard icon and select the Keyboard Tab.
  3. Select the “Modifier Keys” tab and select one of the options given below:
  4. On a Windows PC, open Control Panel and click on the “Keyboard” icon > select the “Modifier Keys” tab > Uncheck or Check any option as per your preference > Click on Apply button and then OK.
  5. If you find this feature too distracting or annoying, turn it off from the above-mentioned steps to disable it completely from your Mac or Windows PC!
  6. On the iPad, open Settings > General > Accessibility > and turn off the Split Keyboard feature.


The keyboard on an iPad is only as wide as the device is tall. With only an inch and a half of space available, it would be difficult to type on an iPad if you held it in portrait mode. The keyboard split feature on the iPad gives you more room for your thumbs when you rotate the device to a landscape mode. Apple-designed the iPad keyboard so that it splits in two when you rotate the device from portrait to landscape mode. This gives you more room for your thumbs and makes typing in landscape mode significantly easier. With the keyboard split feature, you can use both hands to type faster or type with just one hand in portrait mode. The keyboard split feature is enabled by default on all iPads running iOS 11 or later. If you don’t like this feature, or if you want to test it for yourself, you can disable the keyboard split in the “General” section of the “Keyboard” settings.

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