Docking split keyboard removed in iOS 15?

Here’s something that, if generally true and not just an occasional bug, would seem to warrant mention in TidBITS:

Apple seems to have removed the ability to dock the split keyboard in ipadOS 15

I definitely could do this in ipadOS 14, but every attempt I’ve made in ipadOS 15 to put a split keyboard at the bottom of the screen has failed.

Are other people experiencing this issue, or is it just me?

I know I can’t split the keyboard on my iPad Air 4, but I couldn’t on iOS 14, either. I believe that my wife’s iPad Mini 5 still can split the keyboard, though.

And I just checked Apple’s support site: that sounds right, because split keyboard is only available on iPads with a home button. If your iPad keyboard is small or split in half - Apple Support

Just a guess: Does it split if you go hold the iPad in Landscape?

According to the online iPad manual, the split keyboard is not available on 3rd generation iPad Pros. Apple has noted this since iPadOS 13 and maybe before.

On my iPad Mini 4 & 5, the path is Settings>General>Keyboards and is the 8th option down: “Split Keyboard”. This is using either iPadOS 14.4 or 15.2. I can then do these steps:

Step 1: Tap into any text field within iPadOS or an app to bring up the keyboard.

Step 2: At the bottom-right of the screen, tap and hold the keyboard icon until a menu of options appears above it.

Step 3: Slide your finger to the Split option.

Oh, and it does work in Portrait orientation.

Ya’ll are misunderstanding. The keyboard splits just fine; it just will no longer dock while split, a useful feature.

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Mine remains docked after splitting.

calion, I’m using iOS 15.2.1 on an iPad (6th generation). When I read your inquiry I checked and the split keyboard was docked on my iPad. I started experimenting and then could not get the split keyboard to go back to the docked position. I previously was able to split and dock the keyboard using my thumbs to split the regular keyboard as I dragged down to the docked position. That procedure no longer worked for me, the split keyboard always ended up well above the docked position. Finally I was able to get the split keyboard back to the docked position by starting with the floating keyboard and doing a split and drag procedure. I had tried unsuccessfully several times before that procedure worked. The split keyboard now has remained in the docked position through app changes. I hesitate to undock the split keyboard again now that it’s finally back where I like it. So, yes, it seems something has changed about docking the split keyboard. I’m not sure when the change happened as I’ve had my keyboard split and docked through several iOS changes and had not undocked it until today.

Dana, the easiest way is to use two fingers and pinch the split keyboard together. When that is done the mini keyboard key reappears in the lower right corner of the keyboard where you can then call up float/split/dock options.

Dennis, Thanks for the suggestion. What I can’t seem to make happen is for the split keyboard to dock at the very bottom of the screen. I used to be able to do that using the procedure I described in the post. Docking the full keyboard with the bottom of the keyboard at the bottom of the screen then selecting split with the mini keyboard leaves the bottom of the split keyboard about 1 inch above the bottom of the screen in landscape view and about 1 and 1/4 inches above the bottom of the screen in portrait view on my iPad. I prefer to dock the split keyboard with the bottom of the split keyboard at the very bottom of the screen. Yesterday when I started exploring the situation the split keyboard was docked with the bottom of the keyboard at the very bottom of the screen, as it had been for quite a while. Today when I tried your suggestion the bottom of the split keyboard was at the bottom of the screen when I started. I haven’t been able to get it back there yet but will continue trying when time permits and let you know if I find any reliable method to accomplish it. Having the split keyboard slightly above the bottom of the screen certainly isn’t a show stopper but I’d prefer to have it in the position where I have become accustomed to it being. Thanks for trying to help. Dana

Update. I was able to get the split keyboard to dock at the very bottom of the screen again. Unfortunately I can’t say exactly what I did to accomplish it. My wife suggested that I lay the iPad flat on the counter instead of holding it in my hands while trying to split and dock the keyboard. Voila! I tried some of the same gestures that had not worked previously and suddenly the split keyboard appeared docked at the bottom of the screen. The split keyboard has stayed in the fully docked position using several different apps. I won’t move it again until I’m aware of a foolproof procedure to get it back in the fully docked position. I guess it’s possible that the vertical orientation of the iPad has some influence on the docking of the split keyboard but at this point I’m not going to experiment further with it. May all your iPad keyboards dock where you desire!

Hmm, I’ll have to try that. I either just split it at the bottom while it was docked or merged it back together, docked it, then split it again. Apple really needs to give detailed procedures for every way the keyboard can be split, floated, docked. I’m sure the programmer who came up with this feature knows them but Apple has forgotten “The Rest Of Us”. Their manuals back in the Apple II and early Mac days were much better detailed than anything they publish today.

I think this counts as a removed feature, and as such merits a mention in TidBITS.

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Mine is doing the same thing. Now how do I get the darn keyboard back down??

Apple actually publishes some pretty good manuals, but they don’t include them with the products anymore. Instead, you need to download them from the Apple Book store.

Here’s a link to the iPad user’s guide for iOS 15.4: ‎iPad User Guide on Apple Books

The section on text entry using the on-screen keyboard is in the “Basics” section (from the table of contents). It includes a discussion of the split keyboard, including a statement that “The Split Keyboard option is not available on iPad Pro 11-inch and iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd generation and later).”

Unfortunately, the user guide is not in PDF, so I can’t use it. I dumped iBooks years ago after a simple update completely trashed my carefully curated iBooks Library. Since iBooks has an extremely minimal and limited sorting feature, it would have taken me hours to redo the sorting manually and I had way less books then I have now in my library. The problem is amplified by the fact though Steve Jobs was anti-DRM, Tim Cook seems to love it and any of the so called “ePub” books from iBooks has Apple DRM on them making them unusable by other ereaders. I moved to MapleRead and have been extremely happy as it can handle both PDF and real ePub ebooks.

As far as I can see, any Apple manual more than a page or 2 long, is also published on the web and are free in any format.

So, you can always create a bookmark for the manual in your favorite browser to access the manual for a device at any time.

Also, even if you insist on not using Apple Books (the renamed iBooks) for general publications., you could just use it only for certain free support guides (i.e. Apple Manuals)… It should be able to have it only contain the guides for your software and hardware, updating it for new versions.

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The online documentation is fine too, and has a nice feature of being able to select which version you’re looking at (13-15 currently). I wish they had a lot more screenshots though.

iPad models compatible with iPadOS 15.4 - Apple Support

There’s no reason why you can’t have any number of reader apps
available, including Books even if the only thing you ever put into it
is the manual for the current device. The Books interface is annoying,
but it’s not like you’d be spending all that much time with it. For
epubs I have Books, all three flavors of Mapleread (CX, CE and SE),
Marvin, BlueFire, Overdrive, Libby, and two versions of KyBook. For
pdfs, I mostly use Goodreader, but also have PDF Expert (can’t stand
Books for pdfs). They get used for different kinds of books (drm, no
drm, fiction, non-fiction), and also because it’s faster and easier to
switch between readers than between books within the same reader, with
the exception of Goodreader which can have several pdfs in tabs.)
Especially with non-fiction, I often have 3-6 current books active, and
sometimes the same book in several readers (set to e.g. maps, glossary,
index, etc.) And that’s not even counting the handiness of several
ipads active at once…


Thanks. I didn’t realize the books were available in web form as well.

For those looking for an answer to the original question, here’s the page on text entry, which includes the split keyboard:

Alan, I couldn’t find any way to download a PDF version. You supposedly can export to PDF but not the complete manual; only the page you are viewing.

However, your suggestion to just use Apple’s lame reader just for Apple manuals is a good idea. I’ll re-install the apps on my iDevices and into High Sierra.