How to shake-to-undo typing, deleting, cutting, pasting, and more on iPhone

Daily Tip: How to undo typing, deleting, cutting, pasting, etc. on iPhone

New to iPhone, made a mistake typing, deleting, cutting, or pasting and wondering how to undo it? While you might have already figured this out through unbridled frustration and rage, if you're far more controlled than me us, follow on after the break for the easy, if sometimes silly tip!

If you've been editing some text and you either typed the wrong thing, deleted more than you intended to, or cut, copy, or pasted yourself into error-land, here's what you do:

  1. Hold you iPhone firmly in one hand
  2. Shake it
  3. No, I'm not even joking
  4. Tap the Undo button to confimDaily Tip: How to undo typing, deleting, cutting, pasting, etc. on iPhone
  5. You're done!

Apple has built "shake to undo" into the iPhone since iOS 3 and it works really well... provided you don't mind looking a little silly while you do it. (Though ironically, the rage helps hide that -- people are used to seeing others shake their phones in anger!)

Have any other text editing tips for iPhone? Let us know in comments!

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!


Senior Editor at iMore and a practicing therapist specializing in stress and anxiety. She speaks everywhere from conferences to corporations, co-host of Vector, Review, and Isometric podcasts, and should be followed on Twitter @Georgia_Dow.

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Reader comments

How to shake-to-undo typing, deleting, cutting, pasting, and more on iPhone


So I would like to know if their is a way to edit a number before calling or texting? Example: Someone texts you a number with out the area code. I can't figure out how to call it unless I remember and input it myself. Thanks

hi Brandan,
For edit number before call you can use Kuaidial but its JB app however it does fill some great features missing from the standard phone app. The feature i love the most is edit before calling and vibration on phone connect.

@mark yes there is but it requires jailbreak. It's a tweak in Cydia called ShakeToUndo Killer. Goes to SBsettings. I hate the shake to undo feature.

I too cannot stand this feature, and hope it can be toggled off on an unjailbroken iphone in future iOS releases...

Unfortunately I'm not jail-broken. Always worried about all the reliability issues, blobs, ssh, different methods and steps involved... just seems like there's so much research that goes into getting jb.

;) Well since you asked... Use three squeaky tennis balls made by Kong company. Throw one, when Fido goes after it, squeak another and toss that one. Pick up the last ball. When he picks up the new one, squeak another and toss that one. You should have 2 and he should only have one at all times. Dont chase your dog during the process. To keep him engaged, you can run away from him while squeaking the ball. Some breeds are more difficult than others to train to retrieve. Shepherds would rather train YOU to fetch.

What a coincidence! When my chihuahua fetches the wrong thing I just pick him up and shake* to undo.

*No animals were injured writing this reply.

THANK YOU!!! I was going to shake my phone in rage but decided that wouldn't solve the problem... haha till i read this!

Well, who would have guessed?! I knew that this feature existed because I was offered the option to 'undo' at odd times, but I never knew why… a really useful tip!

OMG - great tip for the newbies!!! Was number 2 on my list of "What I need to know is..." Only 34 more to go (yeah wish I was kidding!)

Ok so I tried the shake method on my iPhone 5 to undo a cropped photo I saved, to undo it and it didn't work. What next?

Absolutely horrible way to implement the Undo feature and a total disgrace to Apple. This "feature" is still there in iOS6 - inhuman, user-unfriendly and impossible to substitute with something else.

Hey Zevrix, the gesture may be hokey, but at least it's there. I just switched to Android and discovered there is NO UNDO for text cutting, deleting, etc. on that platform!

hey ebow,

thanks for sharing that - i guess the grass is greener on the other side!

however, as iOS 7 made me seriously think about Android, the grass actually IS greener there: Android allows to install 3rd party keyboards which have all kind of cool features including Undo. just google it.

Apple doesn't allow it as they think they know better what we need. like i said iOS 7 is maybe the last drop in my disappointment with iPhone.

Had to do a quick Google to make sure my eyes didn't deceive me that one time I saw an option for UNDO. Now if only I could have known this a year ago, I wouldn't have a gotten a lot of "LATE MUCH?" reply from my friends.

How do you delete simething in notes that you copied and posted so that you can post something different. Everytime I try to paste something new the old one pops up instead.