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How to Enable or Disable the Lowercase Keys on iOS 9

With iOS 9, Apple finally introduced a more dynamic way of displaying the keyboard. While the Shift Key is inactive, you’ll see lowercase characters on your iPhone keyboard. After pressing the Shift Key, the characters displayed on the keyboard will switch into uppercase mode. This helps with determining whether the next character will turn out as a capital letter.

Some people don’t like this change for reasons of legibility and ease of use. Smaller keys can be harder to read, or perhaps you are just used to the original default of static, uppercase keys on your keyboard. Here’s how to disable lowercase keys on the iPhone keyboard.

How to switch back to the traditional keyboard mode in iOS

Prerequisite: For this guide to make any sense, you of course have to be using the default iOS 9 keyboard. Third-Party keyboards such as SwiftKey or Swype do not react to any of the settings we are about to change. To switch back to the default iOS 9 keyboard, go to “Settings” > “Keyboard” > “Keyboards” and either add the default option back in or remove your customized keyboard selection if the default is already present.

Uppercase vs. lowercase

Here’s an example to demonstrate the current default in iOS 9 and above, which shows the dynamic nature of the iPhone keyboard. After a press of the Shift Key, all of the letters on the keyboard will change lowercase to uppercase.

How to disable lowercase keys on the iPhone keyboard

To keep the display mode of the keyboard set on uppercase keys, regardless of whether you are writing capital letters or not, we will change a default setting within the “Settings” application.

Settings > Accessibility > Keyboard > Show Lowercase Keys

Open up your “Settings” app and go to “Accessibility”, then tap “Keyboard” and finally disable the “Show Lowercase Keys” toggle to switch your keyboard back into traditional mode, which reflects the way things have been since iOS 8 and older. Your keyboard will now display capital letters all of the time.

Hint: The Shift Key still reflects the state it is in by changing into a more opaque, black icon when active. While inactive, you should only see the contour of the upwards facing arrow that makes up the icon.

Three states of the Shift Key in iOS

As a closing comment, here’s a short primer on the three state of the Shift Key in iOS. Please see the below image as a guide.

  • Left: Shift Key is disabled, which means that the next word will be spelled in lowercase – e.g. “apple”
  • Middle: Shift key is enabled, which means that the next word will start with a capital letter – e.g. “Apple”
  • Right: Shift key is in caps lock mode (double-tap to engage), which means that your next word will be written in caps e.g. “APPLE”