Look at those text claws go. (Thinkstock).
You’ve probably already spent a significant amount of your daily life navigating your iPhone’s keyboard. Though that’s probably a necessary evil of your busy life, it’s not ideal.
Luckily, Apple’s engineers anticipated your phone addiction and built in a few great shortcuts to make communicating as fast and painless as possible. Below, a roundup of some of the best time-saving features:
1. Double-tap your space bar to add a period at the end of your sentence.
When you’ve finished a sentence and want to add a period, you usually have to switch to the numbers keyboard.
But if you simply tap the space bar twice, your keyboard will automatically add a period and a space at the end of whatever you were typing. As a bonus, it also activates the arrow-shaped Shift key so that the first letter of your next sentence will be capitalized.
2. Switch between the numbers and letters keyboards faster.
It’s similarly annoying to have to switch between the alphabetic and numeric keyboards when you’re entering a complex password. You can make that process go a bit smoother by holding down the 123 keyboard key …
… and then sliding your finger to the digit you’d like to select.
As soon as you release your finger, the keyboard will type the number you chose and automatically switch back to QWERTY form.
3. Add abbreviations.
You can program basic abbreviations into your phone. They’re helpful for a range of things, from the words you often misspell to your login info for different accounts.
To add your own, go to Settings → General → Keyboard → Add New Shortcut.
Enter in the phrase in question and the shortcut you’ve come up with for it. (If you need ideas, check out our list of suggestions here.) When you’re done, tap Save.
4. Add emoji or other languages to your keyboard.
The other day my aunt asked me to add emoji to her keyboard. She knows and loves emoji but just assumed her phone didn’t have them. “I feel like I’ve been denied an emotional part of myself,” she said of her predicament. Here’s how you can access emoji or other languages anywhere on your phone, so you’re never so deprived.
Go to Settings → General → Keyboard and tap Keyboards.
Select Add New Keyboard, and an extensive list of international options will pop up. Scroll down and select Emoji or whatever other language you use frequently.
Next time you’re using your keyboard, look to the bottom-left side and select the globe or smiley-face icon (the symbol depends what version of iOS you’re using).
The keyboard will automatically appear.
5. Add Web suffixes in one quick tap.
When you’re entering the last part of a Web address in your browser, hold down the period key instead of tapping it.
A list of endings will pop up, and you can tap whichever one you need.
6. Toggle Caps Lock.
If you’re in the mood to yell at someone, double-tap the arrow Shift key on the keyboard. It’ll change colors and lock you into using capital letters.
7. Quickly add accented letters.
If you need to add an accent to a word, simply hold down whatever letter key you need, and all the options for that character will show up.
8. Hook up your iPhone to any Bluetooth keyboard.
It can be annoying to type long emails on your iPhone’s touchscreen keyboard. But if you’re around a Bluetooth keyboard, you can connect it and type out a message much faster.
Just go to Settings → Bluetooth. Turn on your signal, and look for the keyboard under My Devices.
9. On your iPad, you can split your keyboard in half for easier typing.
Place two fingers at the center of the keyboard and pull them away from each other.
The result is a less-cramped keyboard.
You can reverse the action at any time to put the board back together.
That’s the long and the short of it. These tips should save you a few seconds (and maybe some hand cramps, too!).