How I write on iPad

Just a word of encouragement for those who struggle with iPad typing. I learned how to type on it, and you can too. I use an iPad mini (the smallest possible option) with no external keyboard. Still my typing speed and accuracy are close to those on my MacBook Air.



It’s not impressive but I should stress that these results are for English which is not even my second language. In Russian I type much faster, even though there are more letters and no predictions.

To learn how to type I used an app called TapTyping: nothing fancy, just short typing lessons and tests. Recommended, though I am sure that there are many others out there.

My editor of choice is Drafts: its main advantage for me is the customisable extra row of keyboard, where I keep commas, semicolons and other frequently used marks. Another convenient thing is that I can jump into typing and decide later where it goes — Scrivener (via Dropbox of course), Google Drive, Evernote, email etc.

To sum it all up: I definitely do more writing since I’ve got an iPad mini. It slips into any of my bags without a second thought: is it worth taking with me? Will I write, will I not? Isn’t it too heavy to carry around? Whenever I stop for a coffee or am waiting for a bus, I can write a paragraph or two. I’m glad that I decided against an external keyboard: it might have been faster to start with, but it would have prevented me from improving my typing. What’s more, it would have been yet another physical object to carry around with all the fuss involved (I am a full-time traveler).

Of course there is a catch. It’s my first tablet. I bought an iPad, and not an Android tablet for one single reason: Scrivener. At that time (13 months ago) it seemed that getting it was just a matter of weeks. My initial low expectations of iOS, however, have not improved. On the contrary: I will never buy an iOS device again, my next tablet will be an Android for sure. So, no Scrivener on the go for me, but honestly I am quite happy with what I have.

Hopefully somebody will find my experience helpful.

On the Mac, with my Das Keyboard, I write about 65wpm in English. On the iPad, with the onscreen keyboard, I type about 40wpm. (On the Mac, I can type about 80wpm in Italian.)

However, the tests were different, and I cannot have my preferred keyboard layout on the iPad. The English used for the iPad test was old English, much more complicate than newer English. And on the iPad I must readapt to an odd layout, that is quite uncomfortable for italian writers.


Excellent results, Paolo. Complimenti.

What about editing previously saved texts?

I love writing on the mini (as I am doing now). I got a Bluetooth keyboard for the mini but I almost never use it. Tapping with my fingers on glass works really well. Writing or editing is the same. It’s a lovely writing tool. More than the regular size iPad, which I also owned. Although with the bigger iPad, Bluetooth keyboards work well, it’s like having a mini laptop. But the beauty of the mini is its portability.

I love love love my iPad but I’m not so in love with the built-in keypads - the squares are just so big for my petite hands and I’m used to regular keyboards (started out with old-fashioned typewriters in high school).

I use the Belkin keyboard cover and it is fabulous. This is actually my second keyboard after having to return the Brookstone keyboards; it refused to print out the “L” letter even though that appears three times in my full name, including my two surnames. No, that wouldn’t do it for me!