Apple has introduced lots of cool effects in iMessage to make your messages pop, sparkle and bang but what I wanted to focus on in this post are the keyboard shortcuts available on iPhone that you can use to speed up typing.
So, in the interest of speeding things up, let’s get straight into it with my 10 favourite keyboard shortcuts!
Fix Up Typos Using The Trackpad
There are a plethora of unknown features available in iMessage that only become apparent when you long press on certain keyboard characters. By far the one I use most frequently is switching the keyboard to a trackpad to move the cursor.
If you are still one of those people who fix up typos by tapping on the text where you’d like the cursor to be then honestly stop driving yourself crazy. All you need to do is press and hold on the space bar to activate the trackpad. Keeping your thumb or finger on the screen you can now easily move the cursor to your typo and correct it.
Try it once and never go back!
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Three Dots and Other Useful Characters
If you tend to frequently use 3 dots in your messages to signify something is coming next, rather than hitting the period or full stop key three times, just long press on the key once to bring up the 3 dots as an alternative option.
Most of the keys on the keypad have these alternate character options. For instance, long pressing on the forward slash brings up the backslash option, or a long press on the dollar key brings up other currency symbols. And, if you are multilingual and often type in English and another language, many of the letters have alternative options that include accents and other diacritic symbols.
Quick Keyboard Switching
This character switching function also applies to the whole keyboard. Say you want to quickly add a number. Rather than tapping on 123 to switch keyboards, then on the number key and then on ABC switch back to the main keyboard.
Simply press 123 and slide your finger up to the number. Upon releasing your finger, the keypad will automatically switch back to the main keyboard, saving you two extra keyboard taps.You can do a similar thing when adding a question mark at the end of a sentence.
Double Tap For Full Stop/Period
You could do a similar tap and slide to add a period/full stop but an even quicker alternative is to just double tap on the space bar, which conveniently adds the period.
If you quickly switch over to Safari the period key has other hidden uses. Press and hold the key when typing a web address to quickly bring up a list of domain endings to choose from, such as .com and .org. This can be particularly useful if you access a lot of school pages that use the edu domain, or like me, if you live outside the US and use a different country code at the end of websites you frequently visit.
If you really want to make use of alternate characters, why not try creating a bulleted list. Long press on the dash character to bring up the option of a bullet. Rinse and repeat as often as you like to create your list. Of course you can use this shortcut in any app including Notes where I find the bullet list particularly useful.
Tapping to Select Text
Another shortcut that you can use in any app, which I always find useful, is the double and triple tap to select text. Double tap on a word to select the individual word, or alternatively triple tap to select the whole text. Easy peasy. You can take it further by pinching inwards with three fingers to copy text and pinching open with three fingers to paste text. Impressive!
In some instances you don’t even need to use the keyboard to quickly respond to a message. Long pressing on a message brings up a list of tap back emoji symbols you can use to quickly reply with a thumbs up, thumbs down or several other options
One Handed Keyboard
If, like me, you tend to type with one hand, and often find that some keys are just beyond your reach, then try shifting the keypad left or right. Long press on the emoji key to bring up your keyboard options and here you can choose to move your keyboard left or right depending on what hand you type with.
If you like using the one sided keyboard you can make it permanent by again long pressing on the emoji key, choosing Keyboard settings and clicking on One-Handed Keyboard. Setting it to left or right will make it the default option every time you use the keyboard.
Custom Text Shortcuts
Finally if you find yourself constantly typing the same phrases over and over again you can create your own text shortcuts. Again long press on the emoji icon to access your keyboard settings and choose Text Replacement.
Here you can add your frequently used phrases and associate them with a series of letters. Typing the letters in a message will replace them with your phrase. So, for example, I can add the phrase “No Worries” and use the letters N and W as the prompt. Now when I type N, W on the keyboard my phrase appears.