How to use Shake to Undo on the iPhone Tech| Innovation
Mistakes happen. But on the iPhone, they can be undone very easily.
While the Mac has Command-Z, the iPhone has its own unique way of fixing mistakes: Shake to Undo. Shaking your device to go back or undo a mistake has been around since 2009 and iOS 3 (called iPhone OS back then). And it’s one of the most overlooked features on iOS.
Rather than a system-wide button or symbol for undo on iOS, you just shake your phone. For most iPhone users it’s a forgotten feature, but writer John Gruber recently gave it newfound attention with a thoughtful analysis and the revelation that it was actually originally conceived as a joke.
In any case, it’s a useful reminder that the feature exists: When you want to undo something on your iPhone, just shake the darn thing.
Shake to Undo is turned on by default. You can turn it off under Settings>General>Accessibility, but be warned: There is no other undo function for iOS. Select apps may have an undo button (usually with a counterclockwise-pointing arrow), but the line stops there.
In iOS 11 on the iPad, Apple introduced undo and redo arrows for the keyboard but didn’t take it farther or expand it to the iPhone. Last year’s software update also brought native drag and drop, and since then I’ve been using this feature even more.
With Shake to Undo turned on, iOS users can quickly fix mistakes. Amongst my friends, I have my own unique language that swaps out understandability for laugh-ability. One particularly horrific autocorrect was when iOS changed necklace to “neck ass” — luckily, Shake to Undo was there to fix it.
While I do use Shake to Undo quite a bit, there is always the question of whether I should, as it’s just to easy to slam on the backspace key. You might be someone who gets the undo pop-up by accident on a frequent basis, and that can be a nuisance.
I am a frequent user of Shake to Undo on my iPhone, whether it be for texts, accidentally deleting an email, or moving a photo to the wrong spot. It is a universal way to fix something, something that Windows Phone didn’t have, and Android still doesn’t have.
So if you forget, just give your iPhone or iPad a shake. It just might make you fall in love with this aging gesture.