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iPad Pro’s keyboard has an annoying shift key bug, here’s how to fix it


If you have a new iPad Pro and have had issues using the new software keyboard, you’re probably not alone. Aside from following the iPhone 6/Plus lead and adding new keys in the space around the QWERTY keyboard, iPad Pro includes a full sized shift key and half-height number keys which in theory require fewer taps to access more characters.

In practice, the new layout requires an adjustment period, to put it mildly, as the keys most frequently accessed are surrounded by targets that you have to avoid tapping accidentally. I’m on day four and getting better, but there’s one embarrassing keyboard bug that had me convinced I was crazy. Turns out I may not be. Here’s the deal:


The new iPad Pro mimicks a full-size keyboard layout with full-width tab, caps lock, and shift keys while plus a half-height number row with punctuation and special characters. iOS by default capitalizes the first letter of each new sentence. These two features aren’t playing nice, and Apple hasn’t resolved the issue in either iOS 9.1 or iOS 9.2 beta 3 on iPad Pro.

For that reason, typing a new tweet like “@apollozac Hi!” will actually type “2apollozac Hi!” or adding an entry to a spreadsheet in numbers like “$169” will likely type “4169” instead when holding shift and tapping a number key. This only happens at the beginning of a sentence while anything after that works just as expected.


To fix this issue, disable the Auto-Capitalization feature on your iPad Pro until Apple fixes this keyboard bug. To do that, go to the Settings app, find the General section on the left, then the Keyboards section on the right, and toggle off Auto-Capitalization. New sentences won’t automatically start with capitalized words, but both shift key and symbols keys above the numbers row will work like the physical keyboard that the iPad Pro’s virtual keyboard mimics.

Alternatively, you can leave Auto-Capitalization on and ignore the symbols keys above the numbers keys when beginning a new sentence, instead using the old method by tapping the .?123 key like on older iPads. The least efficient solution is tapping the shift key a couple of times to toggle the key case state, then holding the shift key and tapping a number to activate the character above it, but this method is wonky and difficult to get right.

Hopefully the iPad Pro software bugs get worked out sooner than later for more owners (and Apple’s Smart Keyboard accessory becomes more readily available), but until then I hope this fix helps you for now.

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  1. - 7 years ago

    You can also just hold the number key down and the symbol will pop up above it, then slide your finger to the symbol.

  2. I’m pretty sure this is how all iPad keyboards work, although it’s only a problem for the question mark and exclamation points on smaller iPads, and since you tend not to use those at the start of a sentence, most people won’t notice it. But if you ever happen to be in a spot where the iPad wants to capitalize a letter (say you capitalized a letter, then delete it and want to type an exclamation point or question mark in that same spot), it behaves the same way and as far as I know, always has. I can imagine it being significantly worse with the new keys on the larger iPad, though.

    • Josh L (@Kosikutioner) - 7 years ago

      Yea absolutely, it drives me mental. Typing a text like “??? what??” is very frustrating. It’s only been around for a bit though, I feel like since iOS 9 but I can’t be sure.

  3. therealtruthwhisperer - 7 years ago

    In other news…. Duh.

  4. HiroiSekai - 7 years ago

    I don’t know how you folks are typing, but I’ve been using my Pro to write out long documents on Pages with none of these issues. I’m not using the Smart Keyboard, by the way.

  5. Jon Grant - 7 years ago

    This affects all iOS 9 devices. Pre-9 you could hold down the shift key and type to get ALL CAPS without having to use the double-tap action. It still works, except for at the start of a sentence… which is what you outline here.

  6. shultquist - 7 years ago

    Good point. It is more noticeable in the iPad Pro.

    Similarly, if you touch-type as I do, you’ll find going too fast or, perhaps, typing the space bar with other characters will cause the last word or phrase to be selected and then overtyped if you keep typing. This one drives me nuts, and I haven’t found a way to address it. I haven’t even figure out for sure how it happens. It happened twice as I typed this comment!

  7. Rick Davis - 7 years ago

    It’s not just those keys, I seem to have it do the same to everything in the first word often, but not always. Meaning in starting a paragraph, my first word will get a duplicate cap, like AApple, meaning I have to go back and delete it. But the same OS (newest beta) on my iPad Air 2 doesn’t do the same thing, only the Pro.

  8. Tom Lacey-Johnson - 5 years ago

    Not an issue just swipe down to get the alternative key options.


Avatar for Zac Hall Zac Hall

Zac covers Apple news for 9to5Mac and hosts the 9to5Mac Happy Hour and 9to5Mac Watch Time podcasts.