How to move the cursor in text on the iPhone 4

August 9, 2010

Although it may have been blindingly obvious to some iPhone 4 users, just how to move the cursor around in a text field was not intuitive to all of us. Here’s how to move the text cursor on an iPhone 4.

One of the things you notice about the virtual keyboard on the iPhone is that it has no arrow keys that would let you move the text cursor to a different position without backspacing and deleting characters on the way. It IS intuitive to use your finger as a mouse, but it is often difficult to get the cursor exactly where you want it, although this method is useful for moving to the end of a line of text, as an example. Just tapping at or beyond the end will move the cursor there.

However, being accurate enough with your finger to move the cursor between an “i” and an “l” can be a little difficult. Never fear, though; Apple has provided an easy way to move that pesky cursor anywhere you want to on the touch screen, at least in its own apps. If you simply place the tip of a finger on the screen and leave it there, a virtual magnifying glass will appear, as shown in the image at the upper left of this column.

The glass magnifies the text where your finger is, and places the cursor there. Moving your finger at that point moves through the text that is in the magnifying glass, following the text behind it, so that you can even move accurately through multiple pages of text. The text cursor is visible the whole time. When you have the cursor where you want it, just lift your finger and the magnifying effect will disappear, leaving the cursor just where you left it so that you can make changes exactly where you want them.

Happy, or at least happier, editing!

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