How to quickly enter caps, numbers, punctuation, and more with the iPhone and iPad keyboard

At first glance using the iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad keyboard can look like a chore. You have to hit keys to switch from lowercase to uppercase, from letters to numbers to symbols and back, and where the heck are the all the special characters? Luckily, Apple built in a lot of gesture shortcuts that make the typing experience on iOS significantly better. They're not always easy to discover or to remember, but once you have them down, you'll be typing faster than ever.

  • For fast access to accented characters, for example [é], just tap and hold the base character you want and the accented variations will pop up for easy entry. This also works on specialized keyboards, for example you can press and hold [.com] to get [.net] [.org] etc.
  • To get quicker caps, instead of tapping shift and then the letter, just touch shift and then drag you finger to the letter and release. The closer the letter is to the shift key, the faster it is.
  • Rapid numbers work the same way. Just touch the number key [.?123], slide up to the number or punctuation/symbol character you want, and let go. It's great if you just want a single number or character in between typing a lot of letters. (If you want to type a series of numbers you're still better off tapping the number key, then typing your numbers, then tapping the letters key [ABC] to go back to the alphabet.
  • At first glance it looks like Apple forgot the apostrophe/single quote ['] on the first level of the iPad keyboard. You don't have to hit the number key to get it, however. Just touch the [!,] key and hold for a second, and the ['] magically appears above it. Tap for your apostrophe, or to combine these tips, just touch [!,] and swipe up and boom, instant apostrophe.

Try them out and let us know how the work for you, and if you have any iPad typing tips of your own to share, leave them in the comments and we'll update!

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.