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Type less – and get more done – with these 3 input tricks for iPhone and iPad

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It’s 2022 and typing on a phone still isn’t that much fun, is it? Fortunately, we now have plenty of options to help us out a little bit from poking at a tiny on-screen keyboard. Here are three really cool tricks to save you valuable typing time on your iPhone or iPad.

dictation

If you haven’t used iOS’s built-in dictation feature, you’re missing out: it’s arguably the easiest way to “write” a lot of text without typing a single letter.

Dictation is enabled by tapping the little microphone icon on your keyboard, then you simply speak into your phone and your words are replicated in near real time.

Be sure to say punctuation marks out loud: commas, periods, exclamation points, and the like. And if you don’t see the microphone icon, make sure Dictation is turned on: go to the Settings menu, then select General > Keyboard and toggle the Enable Dictation switch on.

Text replacement

This is another dynamite feature, especially for phrases you type over and over.

Go to Settings > Keyboard > Text Replacement and tap the plus sign. From here you can add shortcuts so you can type “OMW” for example and tap Enter and your iPhone will automatically “On the go!” in place.

I find this especially useful for text messages: HAY (How are you?), SIM (Sorry: in a meeting), NA (Need something?).

You could get lost for hours playing around in this menu, but on the other hand it will save you an absolute boatload of time.

Sweeps galore

If you’ve been typing letter by letter on an iPhone all this time, try out the QuickPath feature.

Instead of typing individual letters, you can slide from one letter to another without taking your finger off the keyboard. This feature has the added bonus of being able to guess the word you are typing and present it as a selection above the keyboard. Once you see the word you want, tap on it and it will be inserted for you.

And if you’re using an iPad, your keyboard has letters, numbers, and punctuation — oh my!

Notice how every letter on the keyboard has a light gray character above it? You can activate these secondary characters by swiping down on the corresponding keys.

This trick makes short work of email addresses, numbers, exclamation marks, and more once you get the hang of it. You no longer need to tap the 123 key to access alternate keys. You can access just about any character you need right from the main keyboard.

Bonus tip: fancy copy-paste

This is technically not typing time-saving, but if you’re copying and pasting a lot, there’s a neat three-finger trick that makes short work of it.

Select the text you want to copy, pinch three fingers inward anywhere on the screen and lift your hand off the screen to copy it in one fell swoop. If done correctly, you should see the word “Copy” appear at the top of the screen.

This takes some getting used to, so practice a bit. For example, if you’re in a browser and the page gets smaller, it could mean your device only has two fingers registered.

When it’s time to paste, just place three fingers back on the screen, spread them out, and take your hand off the screen — basically the reverse motion you used to copy the text. If you’ve done it right, you’ll see the text pasted along with the word “Paste” appear at the top of the screen.

If that proves too cumbersome, just tap the screen with three fingers without squeezing to open a menu at the top with undo, redo, cut, copy, and paste actions.

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