Use AssistiveTouch for Customizable Shortcuts on the iPhone and iPad

Originally published at: Use AssistiveTouch for Customizable Shortcuts on the iPhone and iPad - TidBITS

Don’t be fooled by its location in Settings > Accessibility. AssistiveTouch is more than just another accessibility feature. Instead, it’s an always-available shortcut to numerous actions on your iPhone and iPad.

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What I would really like to do with it is switch between QWERTY and Dvorak keyboards on my iPad Magic Keyboard. (Actually, I’d like to do that with the on-screen keyboard, too, but I believe that’s impossible.) Before I installed iOS 15, and Apple Store employee told me it would be simple, but I cannot figure out how to do it. Any help? (I’m now running iOS 15.5 on an iPad Air 4th generation, if it makes any difference, but I couldn’t figure anything out with earlier versions of iOS 15.) Many thanks.

You can switch between qwerty and dvorak on hardware keyboards with the globe key or control space if you are willing to have two different English keyboards active (like US and UK).

I’m sorry, can you provide more details? While I got the impression that I should be able to switch keyboards, I couldn’t figure out how to do it. How would having two different English keyboards active make the difference? Does that mean I’d have at least three different keyboards, including Dvorak? And wouldn’t have QWERTY and Dvorak count as two different English keyboards? Thanks for any insight.

Each English keyboard you have on your list in settings > general > keyboard > keyboards can have its own hardware keyboard mapping. So you go to settings > general > keyboard > hardware keyboard and tap over at the right edge and set one to us (qwerty) and one to dvorak. Then the globe key or control space will switch between the two English keyboards and between qwerty and dvorak. (But the two English keyboards may give you different autocorrect/spellcheck behavior, if you use that).

Can you not just download a Dvorak third party keyboard to switch to for the on-screen? It looks like they are in the App Store, but I don’t know a lot about the Dvorak world.

Thank you! So far, it works like a charm.

Am I correct that this switching is independent of AssistiveTouch? Not that it matters; I’m just curious.

Yes, this method uses the old standard keyboard switching systems and is not related to Assistive Touch.

Yep, we covered custom keyboards way back in the day, but AFAIK, little has changed.

Try this shortcut and see if it does what you want: Shortcuts

I created it in iOS 16, so hopefully it works for you. It should display a menu that lets you turn Personal Hotspot on and off. You can set it to one of the AssistiveTouch actions.

thanks Josh.
The Shortcuts app tells me “This action could not be found in this version of Shortcuts.” It displays the menu and stops.
I’ ll wait until iOS 16 is out.
(n.b. I deleted my original post by accident…)

Here are the actions if you’re able to implement them in iOS 15. It’s pretty simple.

The “Personal Hotspot” is not available in the list “All Actions”, which is kind of strange.
I browsed the whole long list of actions and even switched the iPhone language to English looking for what you display above. There is no entry with that green symbol nor would the word hotspot appear somewhere… :roll_eyes:
Makes me believe that Personal Hotspot as action item is not available in iOS 15.6.? Hard to believe.
I have the iPhone 12 mini.

Wild. Apple must be introducing it with iOS 16. That’s my biggest frustration with Shortcuts: there are so many common actions that I expect to be built in that just aren’t there.