The first iPhone didn't have copy and paste for a reason we can all understand

Original iPhone
Original iPhone (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • When the iPhone came out in 2007, it was missing copy and paste.
  • One of the device's original creators says this is because Apple simply didn't have enough time to create it.
  • Ken Kocienda also revealed how it stopped the iPhone from suggesting "horrid language" using autocorrect.

One of the original creators of Apple's iPhone has revealed that the first device didn't feature cut or copy and paste because he simply didn't have enough time to make it.

Ken Kocienda took to Twitter this week to reveal some tidbits of inside information about the process that went into designing and creating the first iPhone. While the first iPhone was revolutionary in many ways thanks to its multi-touch touchscreen and more, one key feature it was missing was cut, copy and paste. Turns out Ken simply had too much on his plate and didn't have time to get the job done:

The original iPhone didn't have cut/copy/paste. Infamous! The quickest explanation is that I didn't have time to do it right. I had too much keyboard, autocorrection, and text system work to do. The design team didn't have time either. So we passed on the feature for 1.0.

Kocienda went on to say that he worked with the design team to create the feature down the road, creating the famous magnifying text loop.

He also revealed how, in working on the iPhone's autocorrect dictionary, he visited long-lost internal websites of words compiled by Apple, then added extras like product names such as iMac, sports team, slang, and contractions like don't. Turns out, the autocorrect system was a bit rude and would offer "hateful words", so Kocienda had to make a list of "horrid language" to ensure the iPhone would never autocorrect such words, only letting users type them exactly. No wonder my iPhone is always telling people to "get the duck off my lawn."

Apple's best iPhones of the current era, like the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 owe much of their legacy to the original iPhone and the pioneering work of people like Kocienda, so it's always fantastic to hear these inside stories about how the first iPhone came to life.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9