iPhone Basics: Using the Keyboard

Lesson 5: Using the Keyboard


Using the keyboard

The iPhone has a built-in virtual keyboard you can use to input text on your device. While it's much smaller than a physical keyboard, the virtual keyboard includes several convenient shortcuts to make typing easier.

To access the keyboard:

The iPhone's virtual keyboard will appear whenever you tap a text field. For example, the keyboard will appear when composing an email, writing a note, or entering a website address.

Click the buttons in the interactive below to learn more about using the iPhone's virtual keyboard.

edit hotspots

Keyboard features

The iPhone's virtual keyboard includes several features that make typing on your device faster and easier.


The iPhone will offer suggestions for certain words as you type. When typing, simply tap the spacebar to use a suggestion. In the example below, we used the suggestion to change agreem to agreement. To dismiss a suggestion, just ignore the suggestion and continue typing.


The iPhone will correct commonly misspelled words automatically using the Auto-Correction feature. For example, teh will be corrected to the.

While it's a powerful feature, it isn't perfect. And because it happens automatically, you may not always notice when something is changed. You should always review your text to make sure it's correct before sending it out.

Spell check

The iPhone will also note spelling errors as you type. Any misspelled words will be underlined in red. To view possible suggestions for a spelling error, tap the word. A list of possible spellings will appear. Simply tap a suggestion to replace the existing word.

Moving the cursor

Sometimes you may find that you want to edit something at the beginning of a sentence or paragraph. Instead of deleting the existing text and starting over, you can move the cursor to the desired location. To move the cursor, simply tap the desired location. If you need more control, press and hold the screen, then (without removing your finger) drag the magnifying glass to choose a location for the cursor.

To copy and paste text:

If you want to move text from one location to another, you can copy and paste it. This is especially helpful if you want to move text between different apps. For example, you might find some useful information in Safari and then copy and paste it into the Notes app.

  1. First, you'll need to select the text you want to copy. Double-tap the screen next to the text you want to select, then drag the selection handles to select the text.
  2. Menu options will appear above the selected text. Tap Copy.
  3. Double-tap the desired location for the text, then tap Paste.
  4. The copied text will appear.

More keyboard tips

The iPhone keyboard has several other features that aren't immediately obvious. We've listed some of the most helpful ones below:

  • Screen orientation: You can rotate the iPhone to change the size of the keyboard. Some users prefer to type with a larger keyboard in landscape mode, while others find portrait mode to be faster and easier.
  • Alternate characters: You can press and hold certain letters and symbols to add accents or alternate characters.
  • Undo button: Instead of deleting text manually, you can use the Undo button. To access the Undo button, shake the iPhone back and forth, then select Undo.
  • Slide and type: If you only need to insert one number or special character, press and hold the Number button, then—without releasing your finger—slide your finger to the desired character. When you release your finger, the keyboard will switch back to the Letter keys.

Keyboard settings

If you want even more control over the keyboard, you can customize its settings.

To customize keyboard settings:

  1. Open the Settings from the Home screen, then scroll down and tap General.
  2. Scroll down and tap Keyboard.
  3. The keyboard settings will appear. From here, you can turn certain keyboard features (like Auto-Correction) on and off, add another keyboard language, and create custom text shortcuts.