Vim/iOS frequently asked questions
Vim on iOS behaves much like other unix versions, but some restrictions apply:
- Vim is running in a sandbox. You can only edit files within the $HOME directory. Other files are accessible read-only.
- Unfortunately, Vim cannot start (nor ship with) any external binary. This is a limitation of the iOS SDK, and cannot be worked around.
The iOS virtual keyboard lacks many keys (Esc, Control, Meta, Alt to name a few). Some people make the decision to add an extra row of keys, but we decided that Vim was flexible enough to work with only the system keyboard. This leaves more screen real-estate for the actual text.
Unfortunately, without an escape key it’s not possible to leave insert mode. That’s why by default the backslash key (‘\’) is mapped to the ‘Esc’ key. You’re free to overwrite this setting by unmapping the backslash key.
Mouse events are also fully supported. Clicking and panning with a single finger will generate click and drag events. Panning with two fingers will generate scrollwheel events (horizontal and vertical).
iTunes file sharing
Getting files in or out of Vim is currently possible thanks to iTunes. Using a simple drag’n’drop gesture, you can add (or remove) files from your $HOME directory straight from iTunes. Just navigate to your iOS device, go in the ‘Apps’ tab, and select ‘Vim’ at the bottom of the window.