iPhones Have Been Affected by This Ghost Keyboard Bug Since iOS 11

iPhone Ghost Keyboard Credit: Reddit / kliff916
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Apple’s latest iPhones seem to have a weird keyboard bug that was curiously been left unpatched since iOS 12 or iOS 11.

The bug, seen below, occurs just after a Face ID device has been unlocked. Immediately after unlocking, users seem to be able to type on a nonexistent “ghost” keyboard.

While the bug is still around as of iOS 13.3, it seems that it’ll only occur under very specific circumstances. That could explain how it seemingly managed to escape Apple’s notice for the last few years.

  1. For one, the bug seems to occur only (or at least most often) on iPhones equipped with Face ID.
  2. Secondly, the bug only appears on devices that are locked with an alphanumeric password instead of a 4- or 6-digit passcode.
  3. Once those two criteria are met, the bug seems to occur about two-thirds of the time. At least one user suggests that it only happens after an “instant” Face ID unlock and won’t occur when the device takes a couple of seconds to authenticate.

While it isn’t clear whether the bug impacts every device with the above criteria, it does appear widespread enough for that to be the case.

Interestingly, at least one user reports that they’ve run into this issue on an iPhone 7 Plus, which doesn’t have Face ID. That suggests that the alphanumeric password may be the primary culprit.

In any case, some users indicate that they’ve seen instances of the problem since at least iOS 11 or iOS 12. But, again, only users who lock their devices with an alphanumeric passcode appear to be impacted.

You could make the argument that’s it’s more of an aesthetic or annoying issue than a device-breaking one, but the bug’s longevity over the last few major iOS releases makes it somewhat significant.

As far as fixes, there don’t appear to be any at this point. You could not use an alphanumeric password. But we recommend going with an alphanumeric whenever possible for security reasons.

That means, at this point, it’s largely up to Apple to patch the issue on their side. Whether or not they will this far along remains to be seen. If you’d like, you can submit feedback to Apple about the issue at this link.

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