If you’ve had an iPhone for a while, you probably think you’ve got things all figured out. But as with any piece of tech, there are plenty of hidden hacks you probably don’t know about. Take your iPhone’s keyboard, for example. You may know you can long-press on the space bar to turn the keyboard into a mini trackpad. You probably also know you can double-tap space bar to add a period to the end of a sentence. But there’s a trick that’s much more subtle that could change the way you type on your iPhone.
Typing anything other than letters on iPhone sucks
Table of Contents
First, let’s start with the problem: Accessing certain secondary characters on iOS is annoying. On many Android keyboards, your main keyboard features a number row, as well as common characters like a comma or period. Not the case on iPhone: When using apps like iMessage, the main keyboard is made up of almost exclusively letters, save for the space bar, delete, shift, and return keys. Sure, you don’t need a period key when you double-tap the space bar, but to access other secondary characters, you need to tap the 123 key first.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing: There are a lot of keys tucked away here, including the question mark, exclamation point, comma, and numbers. However, it is a bit frustrating. You tap 123, choose your character, then need to tap 123 again to return to typing letters. That’s not so bad when this character ends the sentence: You can choose a question mark, then hit send on your message, which automatically switches you back to the main keyboard anyway. But when you’re in the middle of typing something, you constantly need to flip between these different menus in order to properly type. If you want to add a comma to a sentence, you tap 123, tap your comma, tap 123 again, then continue on. But there’s a better way.
The faster way to type secondary characters on iPhone
Instead of tapping 123 and letting go, hold it down. When you keep your finger held on the 123 key, you have one of two options: Using the same finger, you can swipe over to the character you want to add, let go, and you’ll add the character to the text field while automatically switching back to the main keyboard. Or, you can use your other finger to tap the secondary characters you need, then let go of 123, which, again, will switch back to the main keyboard automatically.
Once you get used to this trick, you realize how much faster it is to type longer messages without having to manually bounce between keyboards. To type out an amount of money, for example, you can hold down 123, hit $ followed by whatever numbers you need, let go of 123, and be back to your letters to continue your message. While swiping is fun, I personally recommend holding 123 with one finger while typing secondary characters with the other: It’s more reliable for accessing additional characters you need to long-press for, such as accessing different currency symbols or different types of punctuation marks.