Keyboard shortcuts in IOS

iOS & iPadOS


I'm using a logitech k811 and IOS 9.3.1 and I'm encountering issues using shortcuts, most notably, shifting through apps. I understand that it is supposed to be the alt tab, command tab, combo but this doesn't work. When I have put it into keyboard help mode, VO K, it says "Change focus to next app" when I hit VO and ]... However, when I try this I get the 'bonk' sound of doom.

Firstly, does anyone know the solution to this problem and secondly, is there an up to date resource for all the current shortcuts?

Thanks so much.



Submitted by JeffB on Sunday, April 3, 2016

I have a bluetooth keyboard and I use left and right arrows to go through the apps then hit up and down arrow at the same time to open one. Not sure if you have arrow keys but may be worth a try if you do.

Submitted by Oliver Kennett on Sunday, April 3, 2016

I'm sorry, I wasn't very clear. Navigating the home screen is fine, it's switching apps which I'm having trouble with. On the iPad, and recently the iPhone, one can do a four finger swipe to the left or right to move through open apps. This is what I'm trying to achieve with the bluetooth keyboard. I used to have a fold up keyboard but the configuration of keys was very odd, I got it working on that but it seems to have changed.

Submitted by dvdmth on Monday, April 4, 2016

Club AppleVis Member

It is Command-Tab and Command-Shift-Tab to cycle through apps. Make sure the modifier key you are pressing is being treated as the Command key by your device. If I remember right, the Alt key of a Windows-style keyboard is mapped to the Option key on Apple keyboards, while the Windows key serves as the Command key. You can verify the keys by pressing each key while in VoiceOver help.

When selecting an app, hold down Command, then press and release the Tab key, without letting go of Command. VoiceOver should announce the name of the last app you were in. If this is the one you want, release Command. If not, press Tab again until you find the app you want. If you go too far, hit Shift-Tab to go back, while still holding Command. This process is identical to how you switch between apps on a Mac.

The combination Control + Option + Right Bracket is only used in split view mode, where you have two apps side by side on the screen. You use the right bracket to move to the app on the right side, and you use left bracket to move to the left. The divider between the two apps can also be reached with these shortcuts.

As for a list of keyboard shortcuts, are you interested in VoiceOver specific shortcuts, or are you interested in shortcuts for general use within apps? For VoiceOver shortcuts, I am not aware of a list that is complete as of iOS 9, but maybe someone else knows of one. The best thing to do is to use keyboard practice and try them out.

For general shortcuts which don't rely on VoiceOver, simply press and hold the Command key, again making sure it is the Command key you are pressing, and a screen should come up with a list of shortcuts the current app accepts. If you are having trouble getting it to show up, try switching to another app and trying again.

In addition to those that appear when you press Command, there are some global shortcuts that work anywhere. Command-C is Copy, Command-V is paste, Command-X is cut, Command-Z is undo, Command-A is select all, and Command-Shift-H goes to the home screen, the same as the VoiceOver shortcut Control-Option-H. There are a number of articles on various tech sites with lists of iOS keyboard shortcuts, but I don't know of any article that is 100% complete.

Submitted by Brian Tew on Monday, April 4, 2016

Very helpful, thanks.
All that stuff actually works for me.
I'm quitting for the day.

Submitted by Oliver Kennett on Monday, April 4, 2016

That was a great reply and very in depth, so thank you. Unfortunately it still doesn't work my end. I've tried turning off VO and using the command tab, no joy. I have confirmed the keys by using the VO k option and it is identifying the keys as they should be. Holding the command doesn't work either to bring up a list of short cuts. Also, I may be wrong with this one, but I think pressing h when on a webpage should jump through headings? This is not working either.

It's so strange. I have turned off the function key on my Logitech so that the f keys work as they should, (three of them are used to switch between Bluetooth devices). I can't find anything on the Internet of anyone else having any problems with the keyboard so, I'm at a loss. I'm just wondering if the keyboard is killing long presses... I might have a look at that. Still, very frustrating as I'm really enjoying being laptop free and just using my iPhone and keyboard.


Submitted by Scott Davert on Monday, April 4, 2016

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Firstly, command tab has not worked for several versions of iOS. Regarding pressing and holding the command key, this is an iPad only feature and does not list VoiceOver specific commands. With regard to using quicknav keys, you must ensure that First Letter Quicknav is enabled. DO this by pressing VO with Q, and then hit VO Q again to turn it off. There is no updated comprehensive list that covers every keyboard command that is updated, one of these days I'll get around to creating it. I know these aren't all the answers you wanted, but I hoep the first letter navigation at least helps some.

Submitted by Oliver Kennett on Monday, April 4, 2016

Thanks so much for this. I'm surprised that the command tab doesn't work, is this an iPhone/iPod issue only? Hope they're not being naughty and trying to bottle neck us into all getting iPads... :(

I'll try the other thing now. That's great. Thank you.

I can see that it's almost there with IOS replacing my laptop, it's just these little things that mean I still need two machines... Probably intended... How very skeptical I am... Cheers