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How to Turn Off the Handwriting Interface in iMessage


If you use your iOS device in landscape mode a lot, you’ve likely noticed that it swaps your keyboard with the handwriting interface. Don’t worry! You don’t have to give up on widescreen texting, you just have to set a simple toggle.

Introduced with much fanfare upon the release of iOS 10, the iMessage handwriting feature is a messaging novelty that allows you to send “hand written” messages to people in place of regular texts or emoji.

It’s a pretty safe bet that most of your texts aren’t handwritten messages, though. If you frequently use iMessage while your device is in landscape orientation, you’ll quickly discover that rotating the device into landscape while using iMessage kicks you directly into handwriting interface. More than a few people we’ve talked to since the release of iOS 10 have simply resigned themselves to keeping their devices in portrait orientation to avoid the annoyance.

Fortunately, there’s a simple fix that doesn’t even require a trip into the settings menu. The next time you rotate your device into landscape orientation while using iMessage, simply look for the keyboard icon in the lower right corner, as seen below. Tap the keyboard icon to switch from the handwriting interface to the normal iOS keyboard.

iOS will remember this change, and your new default landscape orientation interface in iMessage will be the keyboard instead of the handwriting interface (and the selection will persist across device reboots). Should you wish to use the handwriting interface in the future, just tap the handwriting icon, seen in the screenshot below.

That’s all there is too it—a simple toggle and the days of your entire screen getting whited out by the enormous and irritating handwriting interface are gone.

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don’t have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he’s interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you’d like.


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