iPad Basics: What to Do When the Space Bar is Missing in Safari

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iPad Safari Address Bar

iPad Safari Search Bar

This is another iPad Basics tip that seems to come up often in forum and support discussion threads: what to do when the space bar key is missing from the iPad’s keyboard in the Safari browser app.

In this case, it’s just as much about what to know as what to do. What you need to know is that at the top of the Safari screen there are both an Address Bar and a Search Bar. In the Address Bar you can only type website addresses, which do not ever have spaces in them – so the iPad removes the space bar key when you place your cursor in the Address Bar.

In the Search Bar – which is farther right at the top of the Safari screen – you type search terms, which can have spaces. So the iPad keyboard includes the space bar when you place your cursor in the Search Bar.

So if you find that the space bar is missing in Safari, it just means that you’re in the Address Bar, not the Search Bar – and you need to move your cursor over to the Search Bar if you need to type in search keywords and use spaces.

In iOS 7, Safari gets a new ‘unified smart search field’ which is just one bar that lets you enter a website address or a search term – as the Chrome web browser does in its omnibox. This is a much easier way to do things and will be a welcome improvement to Safari.

Patrick Jordan

Founder and Editor in Chief of iPad Insight. Husband, father to a lovely daughter, Commander of the Armies of the North, dog lover (especially Labs), Austinite, former Londoner, IT consultant, huge sports nut, iPad and mobile tech blogger, mobile apps junkie.

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4 thoughts on “iPad Basics: What to Do When the Space Bar is Missing in Safari

    • >>Are there really people who are unable to grasp this?<<

      Yes: it's counter-intuitive, actually.
      What on earth is the *point* of being "clever" and removing the space bar from a standard keyboard because you will not need it in a particular circumstance?
      My wife's new ipad caused her grief until I found this answer.
      Sometimes designers are too clever by half.

  1. Yes there are. I only do these sort of Basics posts when I see a question asked often.

  2. Thank you for this. I have been given an iPod Touch by a friend who no longer needed it and had no instruction book. I assumed I had changed something in the settings menu as I’d added a French keyboard. Without this ‘basic’ information I would have been unable to search.