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Gboard’s split keyboard beta makes it easier to type on foldable phones

Gboard’s split keyboard beta makes it easier to type on foldable phones


Give those thumbs a break

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Flex mode on the Galaxy Z Flip 3
Photo by Dieter Bohn / The Verge

Google’s Gboard keyboard app for Android is throwing a bone to people who use foldable phones (or at least, for now, to beta users of the app) with a split keyboard mode. Its aim is to make it less awkward and a little more ergonomic to type on the large, expanded screens of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 or a Microsoft Surface Duo 2.

The split keyboard mode cuts the keyboard in half, putting all of the keys near the two sides of the foldable phone, much closer to where your thumbs may be naturally resting while you hold the device. And while Samsung’s keyboard app already offers this feature to Z Fold phones, some Android users prefer Gboard’s typing experience and auto-correct implementation.

Android Central was first to pick up on the r/GalaxyFold subreddit discovering the feature’s quiet inclusion. If you want to try this out yourself, enroll in the beta by visiting the app’s page within the Google Play Store on your device. 9to5Google notes that this feature will arrive with the beta version 11.9.04. Though, if you aren’t seeing it in your app, you may have to wait for Google to flip a server-side switch before you can access it.

You’ll know you have it when the toolbar above your foldable’s on-screen keyboard shows a split keyboard icon (I’ve highlighted it in the photos below in light orange). Pressing it will split the keyboard, and that icon will be replaced by an icon that can pull the two halves of the keyboard back together.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 Gboard
Microsoft Surface Duo 2 Gboard

You can see two photos of the split keyboard in action on foldable phones above. One from a Galaxy Z Fold 3 (left) and one from the Surface Duo 2 (right), a device that, despite arriving with a thud in late 2021, has gotten enough improvements to be much more compelling in 2022. And now, it’s easier than ever to type on.