No Undo Button on the iPhone & iPod Touch? Instead, Use Shaking Motions

Aug 21, 2009 - 2 Comments

Undo button on the iPhone with motion

The iPhone doesn’t have an Undo button, which is something that many of us have wondered about and wished for for quite some time. But that doesn’t mean you can’t perform an undo or redo task on your iPhone, but what you do is perform a shaking motion with the iPhone or iPod touch in any place where you have inputted text or made an action you wish to undo or redo.

There doesn’t seem to be a favor for which direction you motion the phone, side to side or up and down works about the same, clearly a result of the devices built-in motion detection abilities.

So for entered text to ‘undo’, you motion the device around quickly to undo it. And for deleted text to ‘redo’ as if it was removed by accident, you motion the device around quickly to redo it. Similarly, if you accidentally deleted an Email, or sent a message to the archives, you can shake the phone around and it will ask if you wish to undo the action. Yes, without an official undo button, the iPhone uses shaking motions instead. Make sense?

Admittedly this is a funny action, almost like it was modeled after the frustration people experience and sometimes physically exude when something has gone wrong, but it works quite well on the iPhone, and you can think of the shake as the mobile equivalent to the desktops Undo and Redo commands that exist in Mac OS X and Windows.

black iPhone This was originally added with the release of iPhone 3.0 software along with the much desired copy/paste abilities, as far back as the iPhone 3G, but it has stuck around through iOS 9 and the latest iPhones, it’s really part of iOS. It’s quite unique, but the shake motion works well and is obviously memorable, and despite being introduced in an earlier version of iOS it remains more or less the same in the latest versions of iOS 7 (note: newer versions of iOS actually trigger a dialog window when motion has been detected, confirming the undo and redo actions and offering a Cancel option too if it was done by mistake. Older versions of iOS do not do that, and instead just perform the task as the motion has been detected). This tells us this method is here for the long haul, so get used to it, and have a little bit of fun the next time you need to have an action undone… now interestingly enough for tablets, iPad users do get actual buttons on the keyboard for undo and redo, so perhaps that will trickle over to the iPhone and iPod in time… we’ll see.

You can learn about even more neat features and tips out there for the iPhone, check out many more here.


Related articles:

Posted by: William Pearson in iPhone, Tips & Tricks


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  1. […] you’ve used an iPhone or iPad much, you’re undoubtedly familiar with the ‘shake-to-undo’ feature that lets you literally shake the device to undo an event or clear a text box. With a little help […]

  2. Mike Reys says:

    1st link not defined well…

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