Tom Hanks’ typewriter app hits the iPhone with a huge clickety-clack

tom hanks typewriter app ipad hank writer
If you’ve ever been to Brooklyn — or Portland, for that matter — you’ve probably seen typewriters for sale and twenty-somethings hovering around them reverently. Some of these typerwriter lovers probably just want to set a beautiful old Royal on or Smith Corona on their salvaged flea market desk and stare at it all day, but others actually want to use one or turn it into something more high-tech.

Updated on 11-20-2014 by Malarie Gokey: Added news of the Hanx Writer app’s arrival on iPhones.

At least one Kickstarter project and several Etsy listings have tried to make keyboard docks for the iPad in the old typewriter style. Back in August, Tom Hanks, Academy Award winner and the biggest typewriter fanatic known to man, created an iPad app called the Hanx Writer that goes clickety-clack as you bang away at the virtual keys on your screen. Then, just in time for the holidays, Hanks brought the magic of the virtual typewriter to the iPhone, too. The app looks great on the new iPhone 6 Plus’ gigantic screen and should fit gracefully on the iPhone 6’s screen, as well. Those with earlier iPhones might find things a bit cramped, but typing with the phone horizontal should free up some space.

hanx writer app

Just like a real keyboard, the Hanx Writer makes lots of noise. As you type, you hear the keys click, the metal hammer make the ink impression upon the virtual paper, and when you reach the end of the line, it dings and zips back to start on the next line with all the fanfare of a real typewriter. Hanx Writer is free to download in the iOS App Store, but it also offers in-app purchases of $3 for different fonts, keyboard themes, and sounds. As Hanks and other keyboard aficianados well know, all typewriters are unique and each different brand has a sound of its own.

Related: 9 best keyboards for every iPad from the Air to the Mini

“What’s pleasing to my sensibilities is when you have the report of the key being struck, it allows for clear thinking,” Hanks told USA Today. “I suppose some people who get the app may just be looking for a different sound, but really it’s for people searching for a more personalized experience when writing on an iPad. There’s also the opportunity here to take your iPad to a coffee house and be really obnoxious with all the clickety-clacking.”

When asked about who he made the app for (other than himself, of course), Hanks replied that it could be for the Germans who are using typewriters to avoid NSA surveillance, “but really, Hanx Writer is just my little gift to the future Luddite hipsters of the world.”

Mobile

Apple’s new iPads are hardly new at all. Don’t waste your money

It has taken Apple four years to get around to updating the iPad Mini line, but the new iPad Mini is virtually identical to its predecessor. It’s joined by a confusing iPad Air with no obvious target audience. Is Apple just trying to sell…
Mobile

These voice-changing apps will have you punking friends and family like a pro

Have you ever wanted to call your friends as Darth Vader or Alvin from the Chipmunks? If you want to play a prank on your friends, we have the best voice-changer apps for iOS and Android, whether you want to record audio or make a call.
Mobile

Saving for a vacation? Here are the best apps to help you manage your wealth

Looking to start managing your money, but don't care for intricate software or spreadsheets? Lucky for you, we made a list of the best budgeting apps designed to help you rein in your expenditures.
Mobile

How to find a lost phone, whether it's Android, iPhone, or any other kind

Need to know how to find a lost phone? We have a simple guide right here that will help you to locate your lost or stolen phone using both native and third-party apps and services, whether it’s a smartphone or an older model.
Gaming

Need a bot to watch your Discord chat while you're away? Here's how to make one

Gaming-centric online chat app Discord has a lot of uses, but to get the most out of your server, you might want to think about automation. Discord bots can help, taking care of minor functions like listing the rules of your server.
Mobile

How to choose an iPad in 2019: A practical guide to Apple’s tablets

Selecting an iPad from Apple's lineup can be intimidating, but it doesn't have to be. Our comprehensive guide should put the numbers and specs in practical, easy-to-understand terms. Find your ideal iPad with the help of our guide.
Mobile

Even older Apple Watches could be effective at spotting heart conditions

The Apple Watch Series 4 is known for detecting heart conditions like atrial fibrillation thanks to having an electrocardiograph feature. It turns out that older Apple Watches could be effective at tracking AFib, too.
Mobile

iPad Air vs. iPad Mini: Which new tablet from Apple is best for you?

Apple has unveiled two new iPad models, including a new iPad Air and a new iPad Mini. Both devices have a lot to offer. But which iPad is right for your needs? We put the iPad Air and iPad Mini to the test to find out.
Deals

The best Apple AirPods alternatives for Android, Windows, and iOS devices

Apple AirPods, nice as they are, aren't the only game in town. Other makers are offering their own truly wireless earbuds, and if you're looking to buy a pair of high-end in-ear headphones, we've got the best AirPod alternatives on the…
Mobile

The Black Shark 2’s Ludicrous Mode promises the smoothest mobile gaming

Xiaomi-backed Black Shark has a follow-up to last year's Black Shark gaming phone, complete with high specs and a low price. Here's everything we know about the Black Shark 2 gaming phone.
Deals

Need a new tablet? Here are the best iPad deals for March 2019

In the wide world of tablets, Apple is still the king. If you're on team Apple and just can't live without iOS, we've curated an up-to-date list of all of the best iPad deals currently available for March 2018.
Deals

Amazon drops price on Apple Watch Series 4 with a rare deal

Since Apple first unveiled the Series 4, the price for one has pretty much held fast. This has finally started to change with a nice little $15 discount on Amazon. If you've been wanting the newest Apple Watch, now is a great time.
Computing

Sending SMS messages from your PC is easier than you might think

Texting is a fact of life, but what to do when you're in the middle of something on your laptop or just don't have your phone handy? Here's how to send a text message from a computer, whether you prefer to use an email client or Windows 10.
Mobile

Google's midrange Pixels might be called the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL

The Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are considered to be two of the best Android smartphones, but it looks like Google could be prepping a midrange line. Say hello to the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL.