The Globe Key and iPadOS 15

• 7 min read

Keyboard Shortcuts on the iPad get all new shortcuts, and they might make the iPad even better than it was.

The Globe Key and iPadOS 15

Jason Snell from Six Colors recently wrote about the new universal keyboard shortcuts on iPadOS 15.

Down in the bottom left corner of Apple’s keyboards is a new key labeled with the picture of a globe. Initially intended for supporting multiple languages, in iPadOS 15 the Globe key has become something much bigger: it’s a symbol for global keyboard shortcuts.

If you hold down the Globe key on iPadOS 15 you will see the following pop up.

iPadOS 15 Globe Key Shortcut Legend
iPadOS 15 Globe Key Shortcut Legend

As you can see, there are a number of keyboard shortcuts on iPadOS 15 using this Globe key. Some of the more notable ones are things like Show App Library, Quick Note, Siri, Notification Center, and Control Center. These weren’t available via keyboard shortcut on iPadOS until now.

There are also some new multitasking keyboard shortcuts as well. Now, you can use the keyboard to initiate, select, and organize your multitasking. On top of that, you can also switch between apps as well with the Globe key and the arrow keys. So, instead of the 4 finger swipe to get to the previous or next app on your iPad you can leave your hands on the keyboard and use that to get to where you want to.

These additional universal keyboard shortcuts don’t interfere with the previous version of shortcuts on iPadOS either. In fact, all of the keyboard shortcuts that were previously in iPadOS 14 seem to still be baked in on iPadOS 15.

What if I don't have a Globe Key?

If you use a keyboard that doesn’t have the Globe Key Shortcut you can change that in Settings > General > Keyboard > Hardware Keyboard > Modifier Keys.

From there, is you can map something like the Caps Lock key and use that as the Globe key instead. Alternatively, you could make the Caps Lock key a dedicated escape key if you did have a Globe Key.

Future Additions

I am also hopeful, like Snell, that more functions will be added to the Globe key in due time.

It feels like it’s inevitable that Apple will add hardware and media controls to the Globe key. I’m writing this on Apple’s Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro, which is a great keyboard—but frustratingly lacks a function row. So when I want to adjust the device’s volume or brightness, pause music, or skip to the next track, I have to use Control Center [or physically use the volume button]. It would make sense for all of those controls to have key equivalents, and assigning them to the Globe means they won’t collide with keyboard shortcuts available in individual apps.

This is still a beta 1, meaning things can change before public releasez That said, I really want Apple to make this change for good. The added abilities to use the keyboard makes the iPad go from a touch-device that has decent keyboard support to a full-fledged computer that can be used with a keyboard or touch.

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Workflow of the Week: New Note with Date as Title

Because of iOS/iPadOS 15 I have been diving deep into the Apple Notes app. One thing that I have found useful is having a daily note to use as a scratchpad and catchall for links, ideas, notes, tasks, and more.

The problem with Notes is that daily notes isn't a feature like it is in Craft or Obsidian. So I did some quick searching and found a Shortcut that seems to be made for this, and that is New Note with Date. You can find it in the Starter Shortcuts collection in the Shortcuts Gallery.

New Note with Date Shortcut
New Note with Date Shortcut

The shortcut might be simple, but it makes creating daily notes a breeze. It has comments breaking down everything it does step by step, but in a quick summary it will get today's date and format it. Next, it will ask you to write out what you want to say in the daily note. From there it will create a new note with the title being the formatted date and the content being what ever you wrote down.

Don't let this simple shortcut fall to the wayside, because this is just a building block to other shortcuts and Share Sheet options you have with Notes. Think of this as a small cog in the machine that gets things moving around.

Once you create the daily note, which you could do automatically via Shortcuts automation, you then have a resting place for all the links, thoughts, ideas, and more.

If you want to give it a shot you can either download the shortcut here, or find it in the Shortcuts Gallery with the name "New Note with Date as Title".

Weekly Roundup

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Tim Nahumck wrote a marvelous piece about the iPad and goes into his analogy that will forever replace the car v.s. truck analogy for me.

When people start to complain about computing devices, they often turn to their favorite car analogy. But most of them get the wrong vehicle type when it comes to the iPad Pro. It’s not a V8 sports car. It’s not a motorcycle. It’s not a bike. It’s a modular computer which can do a lot of things well, makes trade-offs in certain areas to maintain flexibility and portability anywhere you want to go. So if you are going to target the iPad in this way, use an apt vehicle analogy:

The iPad is a Wrangler.

It’s not just you—the Apple podcast app is a disaster
Apple’s latest update completely ruined the app’s UX and destroyed my painstakingly curated podcast library.

A fantastic read from Joe Berkowitz about the stock Apple Podcast app. After iOS 14.5 came out there were a lot of things that were bothersome and frustrating to the people who use the app. There are a number of isses Berkowitz goes into, but this part particularly hit me:

This new update makes it always seem as though you have borrowed someone else’s phone to listen to a podcast on it. I truly cannot remember any other instance when an update made an app’s user experience this incomprehensibly terrible. Who could have ever thought these changes would be embraced?

With this update, Apple is practically daring users to jump ship and make a new podcasting go of it at Overcast or Spotify. If only the same digital laziness that kept me from updating my iOS for six weeks didn’t also make switching podcast apps seem so laborious, that’s exactly what I would do, too.

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Apple News

Interesting things are happening with Files on the iPad/iPhone betas, and MacRumors has it all written up with a pretty bow on top.

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Matt Birchler is fantastic both as a writer and YouTuber sharing the things that excite him, and if there is anyone that should give advice on this kind of stuff it is him.

iPadOS 15: Don’t have an Apple Pencil? Here’s how to activate Quick Notes on iPad anyway - 9to5Mac
iPadOS 15 introduces a new Quick Note feature that lets you instantly create and compose a note in a floating window from anywhere. Apple markets Quick Note as an Apple Pencil trick, but all iPad users can take advantage of Quick Note after setting up the feature. Quick Note is perhaps more fascinat…

Even though Apple showcased Quick Notes on iPadOS 15 with an Apple Pencil, you can use this handy feature without one. Also, as a side note on this story, Mark Gurman shared on Twitter you can do this with Globe-Q on the keyboard.

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Pixelmator Pro will be getting support for the upcoming Shortcuts app in macOS Monterey.

Pixelmator Pro shares their plans and aspirations with their next big update for macOS Monterey and the newly announced Shortcuts for Mac.

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