Is there an undo on my iPad or iPhone?

September 5, 2011 / Updated: September 5, 2011 / Lena Shore


Is there something on my iPad keyboard that works as an “undo” like Control-Z?


Yes. But it isn’t on your keyboard. Standard iPad and iPhone apps (like Mail and Notes) has a way to undo your last action (like typing or deleting a chunk of text. How do you achieve this wonder? It’s not obvious, but it is easy. The answer is to grab it firmly and just shake it. You’ll get a pop up that asks if you want to undo whatever action you just did.

My dad clued me in on this little jewel, cause he’s so smart and probably read the manual.

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Lena Shore

Lena is a full-time freelancer and nerd that specializes in web development, graphic design, and illustration. She enjoys building things, learning new things, pursuing creative endeavors, and giving free advice.


  1. Lisa W on April 4, 2013 at 12:59 am

    All that my iPad and I can say to you and google is, “THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!”

  2. markymark on April 1, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    Interestingly it never worked on my ipad 4 – IOS 6.0.1 – now my ipad dont work !!!

    • Lena Shore on April 2, 2013 at 7:19 am

      I just tried it on my iPhone with the new OS and it worked. However, you do have to shake it hard. I guess so you wouldn’t do it by accident. (:

  3. Shelly on March 27, 2013 at 6:00 am

    wow, thank you so much for that info, saved me a half hour of frustration too! everyone needs to know about this!!

  4. Erica on March 26, 2013 at 2:17 pm


  5. Dylan on February 16, 2013 at 9:23 am

    If you ever find yourself in Cape Town South Africa I owe you a drink. thank you!

  6. Sandra on February 11, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    I just shook it, told it to undo whatever, and then shook it again and told it to undo the next action. Try it. It seems to work on my iPhone5 with no problem.

  7. Seaton on February 11, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    To Sandra: can u please let us know how you were able to “undo” more than one action? Thans!

  8. AmyG. on February 11, 2013 at 9:44 am

    Holy crap! I love you for posting this, and I love your dad for figuring it out!

    • Lena Shore on February 11, 2013 at 10:02 am

      LOL. Glad it helped. I was pretty happy with my dad for figuring it out too!

  9. Sandra on January 15, 2013 at 8:37 am

    Actually, it can redo more than just the last action. Last night I messed up big time and deleted a huge email (I’m in Guatemala right now and didn’t bring my laptop). I undid one action, and then undid the one before that. I don’t know how many steps back it goes, but I got two last night. I’m on my old iPhone, which is a 4. (Left the 5 at home.)

    • Lena Shore on January 15, 2013 at 8:44 am

      That’s excellent! I’m glad to know that and be mistaken.

  10. Rebecca on January 15, 2013 at 7:31 am

    It didn’t work on my iPad. Unfortunately this is the second time I lost so much information on my notes.

    • Lena Shore on January 15, 2013 at 7:57 am

      I’m sorry. It’s important to note two things. First, it only undoes the LAST thing you did. So, if you typed a space or hit backspace, etc. that is all it will undo. Second, you have the shake the hell out of it. You wouldn’t accidentally shake it that hard – which I guess is a good thing.

  11. Lori Z. on January 5, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    Thank you thank you thank you thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. Kristen on December 20, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    This didn’t work for me, any ideas? I am on an iphone 4, working on my note pad. I had a huge list written, tried to select a word but instead hit select all which highlighted all the text on the note, and then my finger bumped the “paste” option which took text that i had previously copied, and pasted that text over the entire original note (since i had the “select all” option highlighting the entire original text). Please help.

    • Lena Shore on December 20, 2012 at 6:41 pm

      Two possible reasons:
      1. You didn’t shake it hard enough. I always have to shake it harder than I thought.
      2. It only undoes the very last action you made. If you say deleted something and then tapped an “F”, it would only undo the last thing you did, which was hit an “F”. It doesn’t have multiple undos. ):

  13. Esther at A,B,C,Vegan on December 13, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    Wow you just totally saved me!! Lost thoughts I’d been jotting down and immediately searched for “oh god is there a way to undo this.” (Ok, maybe those weren’t my exact search terms. 🙂 ) Thank you!!!

    • Lena Shore on December 13, 2012 at 3:04 pm

      I was thanking myself just two days ago as I was shaking my iPad like a mad man. LOL. Glad it helped you too. (:

  14. Eliana on November 30, 2012 at 3:10 am

    Thanks a lot!!!

  15. TinaFey on November 28, 2012 at 11:59 pm

    This is definitely a tribute to the Dilbert strip where the boss uses an etch-a-sketch. Check out

    • Lena Shore on November 29, 2012 at 6:31 am

      That’s great! LOL.

  16. Luciana on November 18, 2012 at 8:05 am

    Saved another 30 min here, thx!!!

  17. Treefarts on October 28, 2012 at 2:41 am

    I did all my biology notes on one 1 page on my iPhone and accidentally hit select all then paste! Everything went away.. About 13 hours of notes you saved me . Thought I was gonna die

    • Lena Shore on October 29, 2012 at 5:33 am

      Whew! Glad it helped!

  18. Treefarts on October 28, 2012 at 2:32 am


  19. Lilly on October 22, 2012 at 1:33 am

    Wow thanks! 😀 this helped and I would have never found our on my own. I need this feature often

  20. Beth Dawson on November 17, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    Thanks a million. I would never have “discovered” this trick.

  21. Lena Shore on September 21, 2011 at 9:47 pm

    You are very welcome! Glad you could use the tip! (:

  22. David Ryan on September 21, 2011 at 8:41 pm

    You’re awesome…this just saved me about 30 minutes of typing (which I should never do on an iPhone)!!!

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