iPhone Life magazine

How do I speed up text entry with the built-in keyboard?

iPhone, iPod touch, iPad

The iPad's version of the built-in software keyboard is relatively large and easy to use, but the iPhone/iPod touch version can be a bit challenging. Here are some things you can do to make text entry less demanding on all iOS devices.

  • Keyboard FeaturesThe keyboard customization features are turned on by default. You can check these at Settings >General >Keyboard. If they are not activated, turn on all of them. They include Auto-Capitalization, Auto-Correction, Check Spelling, Enable Caps Lock, and the "." Shortcut. Auto-Correction is particularly useful. When it’s activated, your iOS device will suggest an alternate word if the one you are entering is misspelled or if it’s not in the built-in dictionary. In most cases, the word it suggests is the one you meant to enter. Just keep typing and it will replace the misspelled word. In addition, Auto-Correction will "guess" the word you are entering based on the first few letters you enter. If it guesses correctly, hit the space bar, the return key or any punctuation mark, and it will enter the complete word automatically.

  • Turn your device sideways. When the screen switches to horizontal viewing mode it displays a slightly larger keypad.

Customize keyboard features in the Settings >General >Keyboard screen.

Forget mistakes (and apostrophes)—just keep typing!

With Auto-Correction turned on, your iOS device will offer suggestions for misspelled words. Instead of stopping to look at the suggestions and accepting them individually, just keep typing. The corrections will be entered automatically and you can review the sentence or paragraph after you're finished to check them. This can speed up text entry quite a bit (or give you a good laugh if the words don't make sense).

Normally, when you want to enter an apostrophe in a contraction (words like don't, can't, etc.) you have to tap the ".?123" key to switch to the symbol/number keyboard and tap the apostrophe key. With Auto-Correction on you can forget that. Just type the word without the apostrophe. The vast majority of the time, your device will recognize it as a mistake and suggest the correct word with the apostrophe. Just keep typing!