Will iOS 9 Finally Fix iPhone Keyboard Shortcuts?

At first I thought it was just me. Then again, as someone who uses the iOS keyboard shortcut feature a great deal, I thought I had a pretty good grasp of how it works. And as an early adopter of iOS keyboard shortcuts I also know that it's had a history of glitches. I've been dealing with one of the most persistent and troublesome of the text shortcut glitches  for over a year now: the inability to simply delete old, unwanted text shortcuts from iOS, which is more problematic than it sounds.

If you are a frequent user of iOS shortcuts then you likely already know that not only can manually entering all of your custom shortcuts be time consuming, it can also take some thought and consideration. There are so many things that we type often; our email address (shortcut: email), short phrases like "be right back" (brb), long words like "appointment" (appt), to name a few. Shortcuts can really come in handy. But take care with the characters you pick to use for shortcuts, if you make a shortcut out of a commonly used series of characters, it can definitely come back and bite you in the butt!

Please Apple, Fix Our Shortcut Bug!

Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of proofreading, but literally every time I type the word "in," which for a minute there was my shortcut for Internet, what autofills from my iOS shortcuts is still always "Internet", despite the fact that I've deleted that shortcut approximately 25 times over the past year! Likewise, I had the bright idea to make a shortcut of "w/e" (for "whatever") and now, every time I type the word "we" guess what pops up? Yep, "whatever". I've got hundreds of shortcut phrases, and some of them, like the first four digits in my street address or iphlm (for iPhone Life Magazine) are a sequence of characters that I'd rarely type otherwise. So I don't have to worry about randomly typing them. However I've learned the hard way that creating a shortcut for my name; "S.O" would cause Siva Om to pop up each time I typed the word "so"! So of course I tried to delete that shortcut, but to no avail. I've inadvertently made a lot more work for myself as I now have to proofread everything I write extra meticulously. So much for trying to leverage the iOS shortcuts for speed and efficiency.

If you don't use the iOS shortcut feature very often, then this is of little relevance; but if you do, then chances are you already know what I'm talking about, and you may have even found yourself on Apple's website following the frustratingly futile conversation thread. There is no simple solution and even those brave enough to play around in Terminal and those industrious enough to restore their iPhone to factory settings are still experiencing auto-repopulation of old shortcuts. They are referred to on Apple's discussion thread as "Zombie shortcuts" because of how they keep rising from the shortcut graveyard. As of now, my best advice for any dedicated shortcut user is to be absolutely certain that any shortcut is one that you really want, and more importantly, to make sure that whatever characters you use aren't a commonly used sequence of characters so that you don't have the problem of the system's predictive type inserting words you never had any intention of using. That said, if you like to explore the deeper levels of your computer and how it operates (or doesn't, as the case may be), there are plenty of suggestions on Apple's discussion thread to point you in various directions for possible solutions.

Apple, if you're listening, can whatever (ugh, I mean "we"!) please do something about this inability to actually delete unwanted shortcuts from the cloud. It seems like it would be an easy enough issue to fix. Hopefully we will see this fixed in the iOS 9 update.

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Dig Om's picture

Author Details

Dig Om

As Senior Gear Editor at iPhone Life, Dig reports on the latest and greatest accessories built for the iOS ecosystem. From rugged gear and Bluetooth speakers, to headphones, unique iDevice cases, and iOS remote controlled vehicles, Dig's articles cover a wide range of great gear for the iPhone and iPad. A core gamer for over three decades, Dig also writes iPhone Life's Game Centered column, which focuses on the best iOS games and game related news. Additionally, Dig's company, iDoc Tech Support, offers web design and administration services as well as iPhone and iPad repairs. When not at his work desk, Dig loves spending time with family and enjoying the wonders of nature. You can follow him on Twitter @idoctech