9 typing tips every Android and iOS user should know

android typing tips shortcut frequently used keys

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Wish it were a little easier to type in ALL CAPS on your Android or iPhone, or ever get stumped while looking for the em dash? What about typing letters with accent marks, or dealing with cumbersome URLs? Or maybe you’re just hankering for an alternative to tapping on a slippery glass screen.

Read on for 9 ways to make typing on your iPhone, iPad, or Android device a little easier, from how to turn on “caps lock” to a simple shortcut to the exclamation mark.

1. “.com” made easy (iOS)

Want to type a URL directly into the address bar in Safari (on iOS) or Chrome (for Android)? Don’t bother with laboriously tapping in “.com” or “.net”.

ios typing tips dotcom

Never type dot-com or dot-org or dot-lots of things with this iOS trick.

Instead, just tap and hold the “.” key; when you do, a pop-up balloon will reveal a series of shortcuts, from “.com” to “.us”.

2. Accent marks (Android and iOS)

Don’t get caught skipping the accent grave in “voilà” while typing that email on your iPhone or Android phone.

android typing tips accent

Impress your international friends with your canny use of accents and other marks. 

You can access a generous portion of accent marks—acute, grave, circumflex, and otherwise—by tapping and holding a letter key (like “a”).

3. Swipe to type (Android and iOS)

Sick to death of painstakingly tapping out messages on your Android or iPhone touchscreen? Here’s a nifty trick: swiping to type. 

The concept is simple: Rather than tapping each individual key when typing a word, swipe-to-type keyboards let you slide your fingertip from one key to the next.

As your finger loops around the keys, your phone predicts the work you’re trying to type—er, swipe.

Sound weird? Indeed, swiping to type does take some getting used to, but it’ll become second nature with practice.

The “stock” Android keyboard has its own built-in “swipe to type” feature. Just tap Settings > Language & Input, tap the Settings icon next to Google Keyboard, then tap the checkbox next to Enable gesture typing.

There are also plenty of third-party, swipe to type-ready keyboards in the Google Play store, with Swype being the most notable.

Wondering why there’s no Caps Lock key on the keyboard of your Android or iOS device? Well, there is, actually—it’s just well hidden.

android typing tips caps lock

Caps Lock has always been there, just undercover.

The standard iOS keyboard lacked the swipe-to-type capabilities of Android until iOS 8 came along. That update finally brought third-party keypads—particularly Swype—to the iPhone and iPad.

4. Lock the Caps key (Android and iOS)

See the Shift key? Just double-tap it. When you do, a little horizontal line will

appear near the bottom of the Shift key, indicating that you’re in ALL CAPS mode.

5. You’re so money (Android and iOS)

Want to type the currency symbols for the yen (¥), the euro (€), or the pound (£)? Simple.

Just tap and hold the key for the dollar sign. When you do, a pop-up bubble will display a series of additional money-minded options.

6. Em dash & bullets (Android & iOS)

I’ve rarely met an em dash I haven’t liked—and come to think of it, I’m also a sucker for bulleted lists. How does someone like me survive typing on an Android phone or iPhone? Easy.

ios android typing tips bullet em dash

Tapping and holding symbol keys will yield buried typing treasure.

Tap and hold the dash key to reveal even more dashing buttons, including the em dash, a bullet key, and the indispensable underscore.

Bonus tip: Try tapping and holding other symbol keys. For example, you’ll find “curly” quotes by tapping and holding the quote key.

7. Emoticons galore (Android & iOS)

android typing tips emoticons

The world is not running out of emoticons anytime soon.

What’s a text message without a smiley? Good question. Luckily, both the Android and iOS keyboards come with more emoji (a.k.a. emoticons) than you can shake a stick at.

On the stock Android keyboard, tap and hold the “Done” or carriage-return key in the bottom-right corner of the keypad, then slide your finger over the pop-up emoticon button. You’ll see the first of hundreds of available emoticons—just keep swiping to see the dizzying number of variations and categories.

android typing tips dictation

Take a break from typing! Just press the Talk icon on your phone to dictate input.

For iOS, you’ll first need to enable the emoji keyboard. Tap Settings > General > Keyboard, tap Keyboard (again), then check to see if “Emoji” is in the list of installed keyboards. Not there? Then tap “Add New Keyboard” and find Emoji in the list. Now head to the keyboard, tap the key with the globe icon, and feast your eyes on all the emoticons.

8. Talk instead of type (Android & iOS)

It’s easy to forget that both iOS and Android phones will take dictation whenever you’re not in the mood to type.

Just tap the little microphone icon on the keyboard. For iOS, it’s to the left of the space bar, while on Android phones it’s sitting in the top-right corner (assuming you’re using the “stock” Android keyboard).

9. A shortcut for oft-used symbol keys (Android)

On the stock Android keyboard, there’s no need to flip to an alternate set of keys to get to the exclamation mark, the percent sign, or other everyday symbols. (See the lead image at the top of the article.)

Instead, just tap and hold the period key. When you do, a pop-up of more than a dozen common symbols will appear—everything from the ampersand key (&) to the question mark.

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