iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus: Can you use them one-handed?

How to enable Reachability for one-handed use of your iPhone
How to enable Reachability for one-handed use of your iPhone

One of the biggest questions surrounding Apple's new, big and bigger iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus — aside from whether or not they'd fit in your skinny jean pockets — is whether or not you can still use them in the traditional one-handed manner. iPhones have always been prized by typers and swipers on the go. Those with feet to pavement and other hands to the coffee cup. Yet with 4.7- and 5.5-inch screens, and casings to match, how well do the new iPhones hold up to that legacy?

The iPhone 6 holds up relatively well. Even with my tiny hands I can still walk, type, and drink effectively. I do have to alter my grip slightly, in the same way I had to alter it when I went from the iPhone 4s to iPhone 5, but it remains extremely doable. Part of that is the thinner, rounder body, which is larger than the iPhone 5 but lighter even than the iPhone 4s. So, it might take some getting used to, and you might have to give your brain a few days to wire in new habits, but you you be just fine.

The iPhone 6 Plus is a different matter entirely. Granted I have tiny hands, but unless you have really big, Simon Sage-sized giant hands, you probably won't find it easy to type one handed on the iPhone 6 Plus. It's not just the width of the keyboard, which makes it hard to reach letters on the opposite side, it's the larger size which is harder to balance. I'm afraid of dropping it when I'm trying to reach the other side!

Reachability mode, where the iPhone interface slides down the screen, can help a little on the iPhone 6 Plus. I don't really find I need to use it on the iPhone 6. I should also point out that I've only tested the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 plus with the built in QuickType keyboard so far. Results might be different with a custom keyboard. I look forward to testing several of those soon.

Even though I can't walk, type, and drink at the same time with the iPhone 6 Plus, I still prefer it. The gains in terms of large screen size, longer battery life, and the iPad-style landscape mode more than makes up for the lack of one-handed ease of use, for me.

If you want a tiny tablet, you'll likely find the same trade-off works for you, and you'll want the iPhone 6 Plus. If you really want a phone, one you can pound out messages on while you're pounding the pavement and pounding down your favorite espresso-based beverage, you'll want the iPhone 6.

If you've tried typing on the iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus one-handed, let me know — how's it working for you?


Senior Editor at iMore and a practicing therapist specializing in stress and anxiety. She speaks everywhere from conferences to corporations, co-host of Vector and Isometric podcasts, follow her on Twitter @Georgia_Dow and check out her series at anxiety-videos.com.