Tired of QWERTY? Starting with iOS 16 – launched last month – the Apple iPhone now supports the 86-year-old Dvorak keyboard layout. Previously, Dvorak typing aficionados needed to install a third-party app to use the layout.
Dvorak uses a different key layout than the standard QWERTY layout with the aim of improving typing speed and ergonomic comfort. August Dvorak and William Dealey created the layout in 1936 after studying the shortcomings of the QWERTY keyboard, which was already 60 years old at the time.
Apple and Dvorak have an interesting history. The company first included native Dvorak support for its computers in the American model of the Apple IIc, released in 1984. It included a special “Keyboard” button that would switch the layout between QWERTY and Dvorak based on logic, but the physical key will need to be. re-arrange for convenience if you need a label.
Interestingly, Apple founder Steve Wozniak (“Woz”) learned Dvorak around 1993 and never looked back (he had nothing to do with Dvorak on the Apple IIc, he said). In an email to Ars Technica, Woz recounted how he first learned Dvorak. “I was on the plane to Tokyo and ran into Mavis Beacon teaching writing in Dvorak style,” he wrote. “I spent 5 hours learning it, I didn’t look at the QWERTY keyboard again. That’s all it took. My son has already changed the work successfully, and he learned Dvorak in a short time and quickly get up to the speed he typed in QWERTY about it. a week.”
To use Dvorak on your iPhone, first make sure you’ve upgraded to iOS 16 or later. Next, open the Settings app and navigate to General > Keyboard > Keyboard, then tap your language and select “Dvorak” from the list. The next time you lift the keyboard, you’ll see a different layout, with a home line that reads “AOEUIDHTNS” – just the way August Dvorak would have liked it.
It’s worth noting that Dvorak’s improved speed comes from using 10 fingers to type, so if you’re just learning Dvorak, you may not see any speed improvements on QWERTY when typing with two fingers, like a large finger However, long-time Dvorak users will be pleased.
“My favorite thing about Dvorak at the time was the feeling of using less energy with your fingers,” Woz said. “Since iPhones came out, I had to start using QWERTY but it’s not in my brain anymore. I’ve been a fast QWERTY typist all my life, but now it’s gone. I have to look at the letters on my iPhone.”
Ars notified Wozniak of native Dvorak support in iOS 16, and he responded, “OMG! Thank you so much!”