Entering Time in iOS

In iOS 14, when you setup the time for events in reminders or in your calendar, you typed it in. No more spinning the Wheel o’ Time to set the correct time.

I liked it. Time is something I can quickly type in, and it’s pretty simple. I hate it when you have to spin or select time from lists. I especially hate it when I have to select my birth year and have to travel decades back to find it. Nothing makes me feel old like having to spend 15 to 20 seconds going back to find my birth year.

Then in iOS 15, the spinning time wheels are back. Why? We’re people in capable of entering time by typing it?

However, when you firmly press the time wheels, you get a pop up numeric keypad for entering the time.

Wheel of Time

Manual Input

One of the complaints about iOS’s interface is that it’s not discoverable. On the Mac, I can search through menus, and there’s usually a button that would have done something like this. On iOS, you just have to know.


Just tried this and it works… thank you so much for this!


This is the reverse of the change introduced with iOS 14 I believe. There, manual input was introduced, but you could hold and scroll it to regain wheel selection. Now it appears they have reversed that and are giving people the wheel default with the option to enter manually. Not sure which I personally prefer actually.

Obviously, which ever way they choose, some people are going to prefer the other over their default. Which is why it would have been nice to give people the option to choose their default. In the old days, the response to that would have been that Apple prefers simple GUIs over many options and hence you get whatever they chose as best, but these days where even Safari gives people several preferences just how to set up the default browser GUI widgets or when DND has been turned into Focus options configuration palooza, you’d think this one little settings option wouldn’t be too much to ask for.

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I agree. And with no trace of snark in my comment, it really looks like the iOS team was too busy in the Focus labyrinth to add a preference like that.

iOS preferences once they were introduced quickly got impossibly long. TidBITs has published in the past an excellent guide to finding the one you’re seeking, though as I recall the final advice was to use the hidden search bar at the top of the preferences main screen.

I could see this as an Accessibility switch, since it affects any app where time gets selected.

Maybe it’s time to move preferences from Settings for a particular app over to the apps themselves.

It always struck me as unintuitive that when I want to change something about the app, I have to search for it in Setttings. And with Settings getting impossibly long, this might be a way to simplify it.

I have a new iPad Air with a Logitech Folio Touch keyboard. Half of the settings are under Keyboards (Hardware), and half are under Accessibility.


I recall this was a conscious decision on behalf of Apple when they set up the new iPhone paradigm. It was very deliberate to separate app settings form the apps themselves.

I would, however, also assume that these days such a decision should be reconsidered. Back in the day nobody foresaw that we’d have millions of apps and it would be entirely ommon for people to have 100 or so on their device. As TidBITS wrote a while back, Settings is a mess. I too all too often find myself in a situation where I just use the search field because I can’t remember where I’d have to drill down to get at what I’m trying to do.


I prefer the wheels, I think the tap targets for the time fields were too small, but this is a good tip.

As Matt notes, this is something that affects any app where time gets selected so a centralized place would be better.

Where to put things is almost as difficult a problem as naming things. I assume these settings are where they are because half have accessibility benefits and half don’t.

Search is the UI to rule them all. Using search to get to something is not a failure.

“The more they overthink the plumbing,
the easier it is to stop up the drain”

  • Scotty, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock