Friday, September 10, 2010

iPhone Undo/Redo

I've was getting ready to write a blog post asking why the iPhone doesn't have undo/redo. Selecting text is tricky and it's easy to delete more than you wanted and then have no way to get it back. But when I did a quick search before writing the post, I found it does have it!

If you shake your iPhone you get an undo/redo popup. It appears you can even undo multiple steps, at least in the Notes app.

I'm surprised I didn't run across some mention of this before now. I'm not surprised I didn't discover it on my own. I don't tend to stop and shake my phone in the middle of typing! Maybe the idea is that you get so frustrated you shake your phone?

Honestly, I think this is poor design. First, it's not discoverable. And when people, even experienced ones, don't discover a feature they're probably going to assume it doesn't exist. Second, when I'm typing I generally hold the phone steady in my left hand and type with my right. Shaking is not a natural action, it's like having to take your hands off the keyboard.

Wouldn't it make sense to put an undo key on the keyboard? It could be on the secondary punctuation layout. At least then it would be discoverable. You could still keep the shake interface - presumably someone at Apple thinks it's great.


Larry Reid said...

Along the same lines: How do you get a scientific calculator on the iPhone? Why, turn the phone sideways (i.e. landscape mode).

Derek said...

thats is very funny you mention that, I found that feature by getting mad at my phone trying to flip the keyboard orientation from Potrait to Landscape (to send an email) so I kinda shook it a bit trying to make it "flip" (dont ask me why shaking it would have helped), but it kinda did because it lead me to know how to undo things :-)

Anonymous said...

But I don't like shaking my iPhone violently :( I feel like I'm shaking a baby. It's delicate...and it has my whole life stored on it.