Every so often and when typing notes on the iPad, I would run into a problem where it became impossible to position the cursor in between two letters, because the cursor kept trying to select entire words.

It puzzled me, because usually it behaved just the way I expected it to. Tap-and-hold within the text would bring up the magnifier, and dragging it without letting up on it would move the cursor across the letters one by one. Yet sometimes it didn’t work! Pushing harder also didn’t work, although my ipad has some nice dents in it now, from the frustration.

I did finally find the answer: if the cursor is not visible on the page yet, as, say, when you are switching to another page in Notes, it will select words, instead of act like a cursor. If the cursor is visible, tap and hold will move the cursor around.

Resources

iPhone magnifying glass mode