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iPhone Bug: Keyboard typing the wrong key

This keyboard bug has the iPhone registering inaccurately the key you have tapped, leading to the wrong letter, number, or symbol showing up on screen. I am sure Steve Jobs is telling me that this is the key I really wanted (coughs) but none the less it is a pretty annoying problem.

To find out more about the issue stay with us after the break!

I have had the iPhone keyboard go through periods of registering the wrong keys a few times and each time it happens I get more annoyed. It is not that the key is giving you random letters, it is always the key that is to the left and diagonally above the key I would like to press.

The issue is easily enough fixed: leave the application and then return. It does not happen often, about every 40 keyboard uses or so. I can only assume that this is a software issue as I never had it happen before I upgraded to 4.1. This is also an issue that I had before I jailbroke (Chad, you can not blame the jailbreak for this bug).


  • Keyboard registers incorrect key
  • Happens intermittently, every 40 keyboard uses or so


  • Could be related to iOS 4.1 or later firmware


  • Leave application and return
  • Upgrade to 4.2.1 if you haven't already
  • If already on 4.2.1, wait for next update (sigh)

Have you ever had this issue and on which versi iOS? Also have you ever had this happen on your iPad?

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

  • Yep! This has happened to me! Annoying indeed!!
  • So really the problem is, whatever you press on the keyboard it gives you the key to the left and diagonally above? Never had that before... not that I've noticed anyway? I'll keep a look out though...
  • Yeah I'll randomly have keyboard problems, but not as often as you,normally it happens between switching landscape and portrait modes.
  • Happens on my 3Gs running 4.2.1 all the time, I thought it was just me!
  • Yep same here noticed this once or twice on my 3GS running 4.2.1.
  • I've had this problem since I got my iPhone 4. I thought it was me and this is the first time I'm ever hearing someone speak of it. I've never had this problem with any previous iPhone device (3GS, 3G or 1st gen)
  • Also do you have any Cydia apps (winterboard options) that would affect it?
  • Yep, I've had this weird behavior before. I think ever since 4.1.
    Even with 4.2.1 it still happens every now and then.
    To me most of the times it happens in WhatsApp. It's not exclusive to this app, though.
    Pretty annoying!
  • Hmm, never had this happen on my iPhone 4. But mine is not jailbroken, and is now running 4.2 so if it was a 4.1 bug I must have missed it.
    And my iPad hasn't had the issue either, but again iPad never had 4.1 software, it went from 3.2 to 4.2.
  • Yes, it happens to me quite often.
  • Never happened to me before. Restore it to factory setting and then restore it to your personal settings. Try that.
    The thing that would happen to me is when im in the text messaging app when i first open it. When i go to type, the keyboard is missing. I have to go out and in and then it comes back.
  • Why is iOS so buggy I have not experienced this though
  • i've had it sometimes, but it started when i installed emoji.
  • Exactly!!!
  • It is DEFINITELY emoji related. You don't even need to exit any application, just hit the language switch (world symbol) key again and switch back to English again.
  • My iPhone only started to do this once I installed emoji and it only does it randomly after I have used an emoticon.
  • I don't get this bug. 4.2.1 here. Can't wait for the next update to iron out all the sticky screens and bugs. 4.2 was def a rush job.
  • Hold it differently.
  • This happens to both me and my boyfriend a looot! And we both have 4.2 its soo annoying cause sometimes we're in a hurry to write a txt and the phone wont cooperate :/
  • its lot, your holding it wrong
  • Has never happened with any of my iPhones.
  • Never had it. 4.1.
  • The bug(?) I encounter after I upgraded to iOS4.2.1 (jailbroken iPhone 3gs) is whenever I delete the "+" sign in Notes, the number before would also be deleted. E.g. if I were to delete the "+" in "1+2", I would end up with "2". Somewhat an irritant since I use Notes to keep track of some accounts.
  • Happens to me on non-jailbroken iPhone 4 iOS 4.2.1
    Seems to be related to having the Emoji keyboard
    When it happens, I've found pressing the globe key to change to emoji keyboard and back again gets keys working again :)
  • Happenes with me on whatsapp and nimbuzz, on 4.1 and 4.2.1 , before and after jailbreaking :S !!
  • You guys are complaining way too much lol. If you have a blackberry storm for a year and get an iphone, you don even notice this... Because the blackberry glitches soamy times
  • So many times,,,
  • Never had this bug either. iPhone 4, No jailbreak, latest iOS.
  • Same here, no issue at all.
  • I have the iPhone 4, I have never this issue at all
  • eddit "I have never had this issue at all"
  • I notice this once or twice a day on a 4 with 4.2.1 jailbreak. I notice it the most when I hit space it puts a "b". I have found either closing the keyboard or carefully hitting the correct key fixes it...
  • Happens to me frequently too and I am using IPhone4 and iOS4.2.1 no jailbreak. I call it "Keyboard Drift". Many of my work colleagues complain about it too. It is exactly described by Georgia. Thanks for the post. I thought it was maybe because I dropped my phone once too many times. My wife on the iphone3GS recently started to complain about it too.
  • Happens to me every day, usually when writing sms messages, and it drives me crazy. As described it detects a key press on a key that is to the left and above of where your finger is. Often when pressing space bar I'll get an x or a c. Usually I quit the sms app and return to keep typing.
    Only very recently have I seen any mention of it on the internet.
    It started happening for me on my 3GS either when upgrading to 4.0 or to 4.1, I don't remember which, but it definitely wasn't there in 3.1.3, and it happens with or without jailbreak.
    The posters that have connected it to Emoji icons may be onto something, it's nearly always when typing an sms that it occurs to me, and I frequently use Emoji icons in sms. (I was doing this on 3.1.3 as well without problems)
    Another issue with Emoji which was there in 3.1.3 and earlier as well, is that after typing an Emoji character and then returning to normal letters, auto-correct would be disabled until quitting the app and re-entering it. In 4.x this has changed slightly - some automatic substitutions now work after using Emoji ('teh' converted to 'the' without prompting for example) but pop up auto-completions do not work.
  • Me and my girlfriend have had this since at least 4.1. We have always noticed being connected to Emoji use. It isn't certain emoji that set it off and it doesn't occur all the time; it seems to be a randomly occurring bug somehow associated with typing letters after using an emoji.
  • Don't have this problem on my Droid Incredible! Droid Does Type!
  • I have an iPhone 4 running 4,2,1. Emoji has been installed for many months. Never had this issue.
  • I tried some quick notepad tests I could make it happen reliably if I typed some emoji followed by a few letters followed by a punctuation - after that the space bar would type a letter repeatedly - going in/out of 123 keyboard fixed it.
  • Occasionally when I push SPACE, I will get the letter V instead. The screen clearly thinks I'm pushing V. Seems to go away if I just rotate the phone. No JB and have the latest iOS. I also have Emoji. This is the first I have read that others have the same issue and I am somewhat relieved (I guess).
  • Okey this explains a lot. I just thought that i just have gotten worse with typing. Got an android phone for backup phone couple days ago. Much better than i thought. And in light on these clock issues, home buttons and keyboard i might make it my primary phone. Like i said to home buttons post apple quality control has probably left the building. There must be a way to seriously talk about these issues, otherwise the quality keeps on dropping. So far it has been easy for apple, as they say that iOS is the simpler os/x. But iOS is getting more complicated and therefore there are more possibilities for something to breakdown. Waiting for Chad to whitewash again cloak etc." Come on it is not a big deal ..."
  • Hasn't happened to me on any of my iPhones. I currently have two iPhone 4s and doesn't happen on my iPad or any of my previous iPhones. I think this bug is called a mistype, you know when you swear you've hit the right key but the person next to you can clearly see otherwise. People don't like to admit that something might be their fault.
  • i've noticed this too, along with the home button goofiness ... kept thinking it was me!
  • Never had this happen before. 4.2.1 on iPhone 4
  • I've noticed this from as early as 2.0. It never used to let me type my student username; I'd have to type an incorrect character, backspace, then finally type the correct character.
  • Quick keyboard tip: If you ever see the wrong letter pop up as you type, just keep holding your finger down and drag it to the correct key. In fact, after you tap the keyboard and see the letter pop up, you can drag your finger anywhere on the keyboard, and you'll see the letters you're dragging over pop up. When you see the correct letter, release your finger and it will "type" that letter into your document or whatever.
  • I've never typed the wrong key. NEVER fo you hear me? MEVER!
  • Yep, happens to me too, pretty sure its emjoi related
    I also have a problem where I type the letter N but the space bar enters..... weird
    Like everyone else, going out back in fixes it (happens on sms, Whatsapp, ping etc)
  • "I" instead of "O" -- over and over and over.
  • Happens on both my wides an mt iPhone 4 running 4.2.1
  • I have the same problem, about every 10 keyboard uses on my 3GS running 4.1
  • My proximity sensor issue is worse...but this pops up also.
  • So it is not me all the time. If you type slow, not much of a problem, but if you are a speed typest, more mistakes. I wonder if there is a speed that the keyboard just cannot handle?
  • I'm still on iOS 4.0.1 and I'm bumping in to this bug quite frequently. It's really annoying, even for a swede ;)
  • Georgia, I think it's on purpose. However, with iOS 3.0, many keyboard features were done away with, and I don't really notice the "forced" key anymore. So, maybe it is a glitch. Does it seem like it's making an assumption or just a mistake?
  • Hugely annoying bug.
  • Never experienced this. Have had Emoji for a long time. iPhone 4 latest ios
  • Never seen it (fortunately, knock on wood)....may be depending on what kboard layout you use? I change often between english and spanish...maybe it only happens if you use the same layout all the time? Or if you are switching to a particular layout?
  • never noticed such issues ....i think this is fake news by some stupid users ..... i have both iphone and ipodtouch with latest firmware....
  • I thought it was just my iPhone 3GS haha I bought it from someone for 100$ and didn't say anything cause I didnt want to be made Fun off, well I guess we'll have to live with this bug for a while :(
  • I have noticed this bug since I upgraded my iPhone from 3.1.3 to 4.1
    It happens from time to time. Hope it'll be fixed soon (or that it's fixed in 4.2.1 firmware but I'm still in 4.1)
  • Is this why I keep getting the N letter when I really want a space?
    I thought it was just just me....probably still is me.
  • I have experienced this before! I thought it was just me. Hopey it'll be fixed in tue next update.
  • I have experencied this both on iOS 4.0 and currently 4.1!
  • I've experienced the same problem and I'm not jailbroken.
  • I have the same problem. Just filed as rdar://8839518
  • Looks like it's an Emoji thing:
  • This happens to me also, 4.1. When it does happen, I simply hit the lock button at top of the return, return and it's fine again. An annoyance but nothing that can't be solved temporarily in seconds :)
  • It's not just me! I thought it was just a jailbreak app (not the jailbreak itself, mind you), or my own system file screwup.
    But I have not upgraded to 4.2.1 yet. Is this bug/"feature" still present?
  • i've had the same problem ever since i've been on 4.x
    i use the keyboard so often that i am seriously considering going back to 3.1.3
  • I had the same problem even with 4.2.1, no matter what I did, soft reset, hard reset or full restore worked. I was lucky enough to get a replacement iPhone under warranty. I later discovered that it might have been the emoji emoticon app that was either causing the problem or making it worse. If you have this app totally remove it from your phone and see if that helps..
  • Ha! this has been happening to me ever since updating to 4.2.1 - I thought it was me! Thanks for the info.
  • i have emoji-smileys installed and it happens to me too. seems really a emoji-problem!! :-( I doubt any apple os update will address this problem since its no their app...
  • I Just got a new I phone 4 and I cant use the keyboard in the Portrait position when I type some letters i get the one 2 over or the both of them at once it also happening with number 5 as well
  • yup i just got the white iphone 4 and after 3 days i cant use the "w" key in portrait...ive restored and updated nothing...
  • please help me with this problem. I can't type anything on my phone. I'm going nuts!!
  • I have the iPhone 4s. The keyboard sometimes won't type a letter or it might start typing without me even touching it. Other times it will type a letter other than the one I pressed. Usually only happens in portrait. Sometimes the unlock slide won't slide over either. Very frustrating. I have the 5.0.1 software which is the latest version. Could use advice if anyone has any. Thanks.
  • have same problem!!!! very very irritating!!!!!! any solutions?
  • This happens to me regularly iphone 4 with ios 5.01 and previous ver of ios . It seems to work fine for a while and then goes haywire . In portrait mode the letter o is skipped and in landscape mode the caps button and the z,x,m,c,v,b,n,m dont work .I feel it has something to do with digitiser.
  • I'm not certain the place you're getting your info, but great topic. I needs to spend a while finding out more or working out more. Thank you for wonderful info I was on the lookout for this information for my mission.
  • Can't believe the amount of ignorant people here saying just because they haven't experienced it means the problem doesn't exist. This is definitely brought on by using the Emoji keyboard and if you want to continue using it you can try adding a third international keyboard. Many people say this helps. For example I have English UK, Emoji and English US. Since I added the third I no longer experience this bug.