iOS 7.1: Deciphering the New Caps Lock

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Apple made several interface changes in iOS 7 that left us scratching our collective heads, and one that really stood out was the caps lock button on the on-screen keyboard. The company addressed that with iOS 7.1, but that doesn't mean it's any easier to figure out. Since we can't get inside your iPhone or iPad to do something better, we've made a handy graphic showing what each button state really means.

Here's what each caps button state means:

  • Grey button with a white arrow: Caps off
  • White button with a black arrow: Caps shift for a single character
  • White button with a black arrow and black underline: Caps lock on

Caps off (left), Shift on (center), Caps lock on (right)Caps off (left), Shift on (center), Caps lock on (right)

Apple may be a leader in interface designs, but that doesn't mean they always get it right. Luckily, they can keep making changes to items like on-screen keyboard elements since they're software-based. That's a lot easier than physically replacing the shift key on our keyboards.

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Mark Sheppard

I’m sure this is just ‘growing pains’ and we will get adjusted to it. But it seems to me that this would have been a very simple thing to make brain-dead intuitive from the very start, without having to second guess oneself. 

That being said, if this is the worst thing we have to deal with in iOS 7.1, our mobile computing life is pretty carefree.


I still wish they’d make the letter son the keyboard follow the caps status.

i.e. lower case letters when shift or capslock is not active and CAPITOL LETTERS WHEN IT IS ACTIVE

Lee Dronick

Good point iVoid, that would a very good indicator and perhaps helpful with other language keyboards.

John Martellaro

I agree with iVoid.  I’ve always wanted that lower/upper case shift. Android does it that way.


A voice of one… I found that it took about one second to incorporate the new Shift/Caps lock key into my memory. IOS 5 (and 6?) were not particularly intuitive (white arrow on glowing gray background for shift and white arrow on glowing blue background for Caps lock) but I got used to it. IOS 7.0 on the other hand changed to a white arrow on a black ground for shift and a black arrow on a gray background for Caps lock, and this I never was able to remember.
In IOS 7.1 the Shift/Caps lock key now changes (from a white arrow on a dark background) to a black arrow on white for shift and places a bar beneath the black arrow to indicate Caps lock. I much prefer this to IOSs prior to IOS 7 and to IOS 7.0 itself. It also seems to me, a voice of one, much more elegant.


Me too with the WYSIWYG upper/lowercase keyboard.

Also, how is it that the return key is bigger than the space bar/button?

Apple, are you listening?


I agree on the WYSIWYG upper/lower case keyboard.

On the shift key, the underline bar is the standard character for Caps Lock, so it makes absolute and immediate intuitive sense to me - that’s what I would have expected it to be!

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