iPadOS productivity secrets (these also work on the iPhone)

If you do a lot of typing or editing on your iPad, then these tips and tricks will boost your efficiency and help you get more done in less time. They also work on the iPhone -- but they can be harder to use because the screen is smaller. (Updated for iPadOS 13.3.)
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

I'm amazed how many features Apple builds into iOS, and then it just leaves them hidden for me to find. Here is a crop of tips and tricks for working with words and images on your iPad. 

All of these also work on the iPhone, but because of the limited screen size, they can be trickier to use on the smaller handsets (and near impossible if you have big, meaty paws as I do).

Must read: The ultimate MacBook USB-C accessory just got better

Text selection

iPadOS 13 gives you very fine control over text selection using just screen taps:

  • Double-tap: Select a word
  • Triple tap: Select a sentence
  • Quadruple tap: Select a paragraph

Undo and redo

Remember the "Shake to Undo" feature in iOS? While that's still present, picking up an iPad and giving it a shake to undo something is hardly convenient given the size and weight of the tablet. iPadOS 13 has some gestures that are a little less energetic:

  • Swipe left with three fingers to undo
  • Swipe right with three fingers to redo
  • You can also use a three-finger double-tap to undo, which feels a little bit awkward initially but soon becomes second nature.

How I upgraded my USB-C power banks and chargers to make them easier and more convenient to use (in pictures)

Copy, cut, and paste

Now we're getting advanced. I recommend practicing these on some scrap text before using them for real, as they can take some getting used to.

  • Pinch in with three fingers to copy
  • Pinch in with three fingers twice (moderately quickly) to cut
  • Pinch out (or un-pinch!) with three fingers to paste

Must read: Eight things I love about iOS

Moving the cursor about

Want to move the cursor about the page? Just place your finger on the cursor and move it. 

Think of it as picking it up and dropping it down somewhere else. So simple, yet it took me a while to figure it out (I was jabbing at the screen too hard).

20-pin USB-C magnetic breakaway connector

See also:

Editorial standards