Friday, June 10th, 2022

iPad vs Gutenberg: the WordPress editor that won’t format

Graphic of Ross Hori typing at a laptop

I had planned on taking my iPad Pro on an upcoming trip so I could do a bit of blogging. Sadly, it’s suffered a bit of a setback thanks to WordPress.

A couple of nights ago I was using my iPad to update this site when I realized I couldn’t add any headers to my text. Nor could I add lists, or change bits of styling. It didn’t matter which browser I tried it in (I have 4 on the iPad), or if I typed it into the editor, pasted it from Word or used Pages. The text would not format.

If I edited the same text on my MacBook or Lifebook, everything was fine. It was just the iPad that wouldn’t behave. Testing it on a different iPad with a different account and on vanilla development servers produced the same result.

A bit of digging later, and I found this isn’t a new problem. As far back as 2018 problems were being reported by iPad users about formatting in Gutenberg. The issue keeps bubbling up, gets reported and then closed in what looks like an outbreak of “Works fine on my machine”.

There is a workaround for iPad users. Click on the hamburger menu top-right, select “Code Editor” and manually change the code. Once you’ve changed a paragraph to a header it seems to start working again. Or at least that block does. I had to do it for each header in the post.

Obviously this isn’t ideal, so my plan to take the iPad with me has been put on hold. Instead, I’ll take my Fujitsu Lifebook, which is lighter and has the full fat versions of the Affinity Suite on it. OK, the screen isn’t as good to look at, but it does the job.

As for the problem with WordPress not liking iPads? I don’t have a lot of confidence in the problem being fixed any time soon. Until it is, I guess my iPad will be sidelined when it comes to anything more than basic site management.

My name is Ross Hori

I'm a freelance writer, designer and photographer. By day I create articles, features and reports. At night I take photos and write fiction. Find out more.