How to tell if the shift key is lower case, Upper Case, or CAPS LOCK in iOS 7.1

One of the more subtle yet potentially frustrating changes in iOS 7.1 is how the state of the shift key is displayed. Not only isn't it intuitively obvious which state the shift key is in — lowercase, Upper Case, or CAPS LOCK — but it can be downright counter-intuitive to the point that you find yourself uncertain and guessing wrong more often than not. Granted, it could be a lot worse but it could also be a lot better. If you've installed iOS 7.1 and you're having trouble figuring out the shift key on your iPhone or iPad, here's a quick reference. (Share it with your friends. All your friends.)

How to tell lower case, Upper Case, and CAPS LOCK mode on iOS 7.1

  1. If the background is dark gray and the arrow is white, you're in lower case mode.
  2. If the background is white and the arrow is black, you're in Upper case mode.
  3. If the background is white and the arrow is dark, and there's a horizontal line beneath the arrow, you're in ALL CAPS mode.

I've been using iOS 7.1 since the first day of the first beta and while the implementation has changed considerably once and a while I still glance at it and can't remember immediately which state I'm in. Once you've had a chance to use iOS 7.1 a while let me know — how do you find the shift key?

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

  • 2 hours in and the new shit key is still driving me nuts. I'm sure I'll get used to it but lowercase definitely looks like uppercase at a glance.
  • looks like the "F" key may be troublesome for you as well. ;-D
  • haha:)
  • The shift key doesn't bother me nearly as much as the darkness of the dock background. Not a fan of the change. Sent from the iMore App
  • You know....I think I may agree. I'd like a little more transparency or how about a slider to set how much....
  • You mean you want the ability to customize the look of your phone?!?! That's such an anti-Apple statement! Don't worry, Apple knows what you REALLY want, and they've given it to you. If you want to customize, just go get one of those Android phones already...
  • Settings, General, Accessibility, Increase Contrast. Turn off "Reduce Transparency". Apparently it got enabled during the upgrade process for many people.
  • Thank you for this.
  • The reasoning behind this change escapes me. The previous behaviour was perfectly adequate and all this will do is frustrate users.
  • Change is good! Thanks for the tip, this will go a long way. Sent from the iMore App
  • Thanks iMore for the post on all the new features!
  • Callmeforge, go to settings>general>tap reduce contrast and then turn off reduce transparency! That'll get rid of that shading at the bottom and at all the folders as well. Sent from the iMore App
  • I'm still not sure why Apple doesn't have the keys simply change to the state they are in. Display lower case letters on the keyboard and when you press shift they change to CAPS. This works well on just about very other OS I've used.
  • exactly, this is something that bothers me a lot, as i use both, android and iOS, it seems like changing the actual keys to upper or lower case on android was something i took for granted and when i got my first iOS device, the iPad Air, it hit me how weird it feels soft keyboard not changing cases...i hope someday they implement that
  • That makes great sense! Of course, at the same time, it occurs to me, that the physical keyboards on our laptops or desktops don't change--and the letters on the keyboards are all caps. Still, I like the idea. Now, as to Rene's question: "Once you've had a chance to use iOS 7.1 a while let me know — how do you find the shift key?" Well, it's right beside the Z key, where it's always been! :-) Sorry, Rene, I couldn't resist!
  • Isn't that was the exact reason why Steve Jobs said iPhone doesn't have a physcial keyboard, which cannot be changed?
  • 100% agreed, perhaps it could be an option from the Settings, if Apple has some obscure design reason to default it to all uppercase keyheads. btw the new shift key is horrible, and the previous blue caps lock was ways better IMHO
  • i have no problem figuring out the Shift Key at all. I like the color scheme as well, although I'll admit the gray could be a shade lighter.
  • I think the lower case should have been like upper case in 7.1 with it being black arrow on white background, upeer case would be white arrow on black background, and caps lock with the bar underneath.
  • How do you enable caps lock in the first place? I thought it was a quick double tap but that doesn't do anything on my 5s.
  • Yup, quick double-tap it is. Try a few different timings, you'll get it!
  • I'm not getting it to engage…tried fast and slower double taps but no luck. I'll keep at it and maybe I'll figure it out. Thanks Rene.
  • Make sure it's enabled in Settings>General>Keyboard.
  • That was it…didn't realize there was a preference setting for it and couldn't figure out why the iPad Air and Mini Retina both worked but not the 5s.
  • deleted.
  • Well i haven't finished downloading yet but at least i can go in to the update already knowing this info thanks imore for the post.
  • Kind of crazy that you actually had to write an article about this.
  • I thought the same thing. It's a shift key, not rocket science.
  • Just installed 7.1 today, and throughout the day I've been guessing wrong. Might be helpful to post screenshots of the shift key before 7.1. Maybe that would shed some light as to why it's so confusing.
  • I can't get the update on my iPad 4. It just keeps saying that it's searching for a update. Before that it said it couldn't get a update. :(
  • Worst. Change. Ever. Sent from the iMore App
  • Not sure if this is an improvement, but it should be less confusing now, as it is a lot closer to how the keyboard on my Z10 operates.
  • Shift key change is perfect , easy to pick on eyes. Sent from the iMore App
  • I had seen leaks about this and figured it couldn't be as off as people had been saying. I was wrong. Posted via the Android iMore App!
  • Ah subtle change. Thanks for that. Sent from the iMore App
  • Do you all not use auto-caps, or something? Do you check the shift key with each word you type? Geeez... it's not that difficult.
  • The new SHIFT key change is MUCH, I repeat MUCH better than the old way. I don't know what you guys are whining about, but it is way easier to tell if you are in upper vs. lower, and caps lock. The scheme before was extremely annoying, and it was hard to tell which you were in then. Now, it is cake :)
  • It took some brain power for me to get used to it. UI should not make you think. I especially got tripped up when this happened: With the keyboard using black characters on white, the caps key is enabled when the arrow is black. On a "dark keyboard" like searching in the YouTube app, the characters are white and the caps key is enabled when the arrow is black, so a bit reversed from the other keyboard color scheme. Just have to remember he caps key arrow is enabled when it is black.
  • Well, noticed the caps key right away after updating today to iOS 7.1 and already sent in a enhancement request to Apple. I have no problem with distinguishing the caps lock but the toggle seems backwards to me. When it's white like the letters I think off and when it's gray I think on. Oh well, I'll get used to it. Looks like I'm not only one that thinks it's confusing. Now let's talk about iTunes 11 search and iOS 7.2 removing the ability to organize albums under artist by date. Sent from the iMore App
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  • I figure if I'm typing in lower-case, the caps key is off. I figure that if I touch it once, the next character will be capitalized. In the immortal words of Tony Shaloub in Galaxy Quest, "Seems ok to me."
  • Have to disagree. 7.1 is a MAJOR improvement over the 7.0 behavior where I never knew what state my shift key was in. It was way too subtle before. Now, it makes much more sense and is visually more distinctive.
  • I had no problem with previous version of shift key in 7.0 . It is still confusing and not very logical to me - two days of using 7.1. I wish they didn't vhange it. The same with the keyboard font.
  • I'm honestly not sure where the confusion lies. People may not like the design, but it hasn't caused me any issues. What I am really curious about is why the keyboard letters don't shift along with the shift key. That would go a long way to eliminating any questions of state during usage.
  • Call me crazy but it's correct now. When the key matches delete/return/123/and alt keyboard background gray and the arrow is white (not matching letters on the keys which are black) it's lowercase. When the arrow matches the white background and black of the keys themselves it's uppercase.
  • I still find it funny that seemingly endless little changes to the shift key are preferable to just making the keys change case and moving on to something less stupid.
  • Yes this feature frustrates me too. A feature they didn't remove with iOS 7.1 that frustrates me also is when you operate the volume & for a few seconds it blocks out a large portion if your screen view.......why is that.
  • I've worked out a possible reasoning, not that I agree with it but...
    - If the shift key is the same colour as the keyboard keys (which depict capital letters on a white background), then you'll be typing capital letters
    - If the shift key is grey, then you won't. I've seen the underlined arrow on other phone OS's (A Sagem MyC5-2v and I think my LG TU-500 too)