16 essential iOS typing tips for iPad and iPhone

You will be so much more productive when typing in iOS with these essential skills

Apple, iOS, iPhone, iPad, iPad Pro, Tips, Hints, iOS tips, typing, QuickType

How much time do you spend typing on your iPad or iPhone? I imagine you spend quite a lot of your time doing just that—so here are 16 tips I’ve picked up along the way that show you how to type in iOS.

Quick currency

When you want to type another currency symbol, just press and hold the dollar key and you’ll see a bunch of alternatives you can select.

Secret keys

That press and hold tip works on any character on your keyboard. Try it. In many cases, you’ll see that when you do this, you’ll yield a host of useful characters that don’t appear on screen.


Everyone should know that when you double-tap the Shift key you automatically enable Caps Lock.

Full stop

Double-tap the Space bar to add a period. The next character you type will be capitalized, and a space will be placed between that and the period you just wrote. In order for that to work, you must have Auto-Capitalization enabled in Settings>General>Keyboard.


Don’t forget that if you tap and hold the period button a range of domain endings will be made available to you.

Easy switch

The easiest way to switch between numerical and alphabetical character palettes: Tap and hold the 123 button, and you’ll see the keyboard swap across to its opposite set—slide your finger to the character you want to use, and let go—it will be typed, and the keyboard automatically returns to the default layout. This way you don’t need to manually switch between keyboard types.

Write right

When you hard press the keyboard area when you are writing, you’ll see it become a touch-sensitive cursor. Use it like a mouse. There is also another little function—press the cursor hard on a word once to select it, hard on a sentence twice to select that, or hard on a paragraph three times if you want to select that instead. On an iPad, you just need to touch and hold with two fingers.

Text Replacement shortcuts

It’s a shame more iOS users aren’t exploiting Text Replacement shortcuts. I imagine it is because you need to spend time setting these up, and must also remember them once you have, but they can be so useful for complex technical words, email addresses, phone numbers and the like.

  • To create a Text Replacement, open: Settings>General>Keyboards>Text Replacement
  • You’ll see a list of any shortcuts you may already use. Tap + (Plus)
  • You’ll be asked to enter the phrase/word and to enter the shortcut you want to use.
  • In the future, whenever you use that shortcut you’ll see the full phrase appear.

One-handed keyboard

iOS 11 Tip: You’ll be able to use a one-handed keyboard in iOS 11—just press and hold the Emoji key and then select it.


You see that little microphone button to the left of the Space bar? Tap this and you can dictate your message using Siri.

iPad Pro tips

If you use an iPad Pro with a Smart Keyboard, you can use keyboard shortcuts such as Command-N (new document), Command-F (find text), or Command-B, -I, and –U (bold, italic, underline). You also get an Undo and Redo key, which you’ll find in the Predictive Type bar. Command-H will take you back to the Home screen.

Shake to Undo

iPhone user—want to delete something you wrote? Just shake your device until the Undo dialog appears. Simple.

Attach a photo or video

In apps that support them (such as Mail) you can manually attach items to your message. Just double tap where you want the item to be placed, and then choose Insert Photo or Video in the grey menu you’ll find. Now you can choose the item to attach in your images browser.


Do you type in multiple languages?

You can make life a little easier by adding dictionaries for each of the languages you use.

Open Settings>General>Keyboard>Keyboards and tap Add New Keyboard. Now you can add local language keyboards for each language—and will see QuickType suggest words and spelling in the language you want to use.

Stop Predictive text

If the word suggestions are getting in your way, the fastest way to switch them off is to tap and hold the Keyboard icon (the globe) to get to Keyboard Settings, where you can toggle Predictive to off. Just switch it on again next time you need to use them.

Plus tip

If you use a Plus-series iPhone, you can access more keyboard options when you turn the device to landscape mode.

Want more iOS tips? Take a look at 50+ essential iOS 10 tips you’ll use every day.

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Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.

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