Not everyone is a fan of the keyboard on their iPad or iPhone, but it is probably more powerful than you think, and it’s packed full of useful features. So, here is a rundown of some of the best tips and tricks for using the iOS keyboard on your mobile device.

Keyboard Basics

There are three layers to the iPad or iPhone keyboard. The top layer is the one that you see most often and is the one with the QWERTY keyboard layout. However, if you press the .?123 button in either the bottom left or the bottom right-hand corner, you will see the number keyboard and a variety of punctuation marks.

iphone numeric keyboard

From here you can go deeper still. Press the #+= button, again in the bottom left or bottom right-hand corner, and you will see the third layer which has even more punctuation and symbols.

iphone symbol keyboard

To go back to another layer, tap 123 to return to the number keyboard, and ABC to return to the QWERTY keyboard.

The Split Keyboard (iPad Only)

To type on your iPad like you might type on your iPhone you can split your keyboard in two. Simply put a finger on any two keys and pull them apart to split the keyboard. Now you can thumb text like a champ! To return to the full-size keyboard, put a finger on any two keys and push the two halves back together.

split keyboard on ios

Secret Keys

Have you ever wished that there was an apostrophe on the QWERTY keyboard layer? Well there is, but it’s hiding! Press and hold the exclamation mark and it magically appears. Then slide your finger upwards to select it. If you press and hold the question mark, you will see the hidden quotation marks (or .com, .org, .net, .edu and .us keys if you are using the Safari app).

hidden keys ipad keyoard

Foreign language characters can be found in the same way. Try pressing and holding a vowel, or select consonants, to reveal a plethora of additional letters to use, then slide your finger to the one you want and let go to select it.

foreign characters ios keyboard

Caps Lock

There is no caps lock key on your iPhone or iPad, but you can enable caps lock by double tapping the shift button. Everything you type from that point onwards will be in capital letters. To revert to lower case, tap the shift key once.

caps lock key ipad


International Keyboards

If you, or someone you know, are bilingual, you may want to take advantage of international keyboards. This will allow you to type with a keyboard layout that is native to a number of foreign countries. Here’s how to add additional keyboards.

1. Go to the Settings app and be sure that General is selected.

2. Scroll until you see the Keyboard option, and tap to select it.

3. Now tap “Keyboards” (see image below).

4. Tap “Add new keyboard” and choose a keyboard from the list.

5. Now open an app that you would normally type with and tap on the screen to bring up the keyboard. You should now see an additional key on your keyboard. It is in the bottom left-hand corner and has a globe on it. Tap on it to alternate between English and the additional keyboard you added.

globe key on ios keyboard

Bonus tip: Try the Emoji keyboard to add a selection of smiley faces and other fun icons!

Siri Dictation

If you ever get tired of typing, or just want to go hands free, you can use the built-in Siri Dictation mode. This allows you to talk to your iOS device and have your spoken words translated into typed text in the blink of an eye. Simply tap the microphone key to left of the space bar and start talking. You can include words like “period” or “comma” to punctuate your sentences, and “new line” or “new paragraph” to make appropriate formatting choices. Once you are finished, tap Done and watch as your iPhone or iPad works its magic!

dictation key iphone keyboard

 ~ Jonathan Wylie