8 iPad, iPhone typing tips for speed demons

c/o Bob/Flickr

Tip by tip, I’m trying to get better at using iOS. From time-to-time, that means I use these tips to type on iPhone or iPad.

Multiple languages

You can install keyboards for different languages. That’s useful if you usually write UK English and want to write in Greek; it’s also useful if you’re attempting to write in US English. Open Settings>General>Keyboard>Keyboards and choose Add New Keyboard. This has two advantages: 1/ Spelling will then be checked in the appropriate language and 2/ Auto-correct will help you spell correctly. Switch between keyboards by tapping the globe icon (where you can also summon Emoji’s).

Swipe is alternate type

Do you know what those smaller greyed out characters you can see on an iPad Pro keyboard do? I’m ashamed to say it took me way too long to figure out how to use them – and it’s a wonder once you suss it out: Tap the keypad to type the main character, swipe down to type the alternate character. Put it this way: Swipe is alternate type. (Hold down on keys to find more items — it’s worth a look!)

Numbers are a drag

Need to type a number? You can tap 123 and then choose the number when it appears and then tap ABC to get back to the normal keyboard if you like, but if you tap and hold 123 you can then slide your finger to the number that magically becomes visible when you do that you need (keep your finger holding the screen as you do) to type that number. When you let go the screen the keyboard will return to the alphabetical keyboard. This sounds way more complex than it is, but it gets more slick as you get intuitive with it…


Use the same trick for capitals – tap the Shift button, keep your finger down and slide it to the letter you want to type in capitals.

The currency is sliding

Tap and hold the $ button and keep holding to see a whole bunch of alternate currency symbols. Bitcoin not yet included…

Use a mouse 1

iOS doesn’t let you use a mouse, but when typing on an iPad, hold and press two fingers on the keyboard to navigate to wherever you want to place your insertion point, for example when editing a message. Move to where you want, raise your fingers, carry on. If you use a keyboard with your iPad, take a look at the keyboard shortcuts here.

Use a mouse 2

It’s different on a 3D Touch iPhone just press one finger for this – press a little harder to select a word, practise double press to select a sentence, and triple press to get a paragraph.

Never forget

On an iPad tap and drag the keyboard apart with you fingers, or tap the keyboard icon and choose Splitto get to the thumb-friendly split keyboard. Slide the halves together the same way or use the icon again to pull them together once again. On recent iPhones you can tap and hold the globe icon and slide it to the left or right of the screen to make the board easier to use one-handed.

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Jonny Evans

Watching Apple since 1999. I don't say what they should do. I say what they might do. They sometimes do.

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