Figuring out the iPhone keyboard (from a new convert)

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It took many years to convert from a Blackberry to an iPhone. (My first Blackberry dates back to something like 2004, and although I can’t remember the Blackberry model number it was something like this 6230 model. I do remember the blue color, LCD screen, and T-mobile ‘data-only’ service.)

Fast forward some 4 years later, there was a short time where I had to use a T-mobile ‘Dash’, with all of its Windows Mobile quirkiness. But it was my first smartphone, it was something of a revelation to be able to actually have something resembling a web experience while out and about. Several Blackberries, including the Bold and the Torch, and then the Torch’s screen broke.

Now, some 7 years after my first BB, I moved finally to an iPhone 4. (The 4S was a bit too spendy for my employer, but in the big picture it doesn’t matter to me that much, no matter how much my daughter’s piano teacher raved about Siri.) After six months with it, I have already gone through one wireless keyboard (the NUU Minikey) and have been giving the virtual keyboard a shot.

Not comfortable banging out emails with the flat screen, it’s a real irritation not to have the tactile feedback of a real keyboard (it has been 7 years now!) hampering productivity. Not a good thing, and not too much to do about it other than working on my typing speed on glass. I’ve observed only one coworker who I’d deem relatively fast typing on the screen, and have a few tips for using the iPhone’s keyboard.

To save one keypress when adding a punctuation mark or number, press and slide to select the number or punctuation mark, and then release. You will add the number or punctuation and then return to the letter keyboard. It can help all that back and forth, finding the ‘ABC’ or ‘123’ buttons.

To quickly add special characters, such as the £ or ñ, press and hold the $ or n key respectively, and alternatives appear on the screen. Finding the bullet symbol • under the dash symbol – can make those short and concise emails that much more shorter and concise-er.

If you are typing a web address in the address bar, if it ends in .com you don’t even need to press the ‘.com’ key, just enter and go. And holding down the .com key will bring up .net, .edu, .org, and .us to save a few keystrokes there.

Lastly, take a look at the Settings -> General -> Keyboard options. You can set the following options on or off, per your preference:

  • Auto-Correction
  • Auto-Capitalization
  • Enable Caps Lock
  • “.” Shortcut (double tapping the space bar – handy)

Typing in landscape mode, I didn’t realize that even my own modestly-sized thumbs are still too large to hit the letter ‘m’ accurately. Many sentences that end pre Aturely due to the proximity of the backspace and autocapitalization. Oh well.

About Dale Yuzuki

A sales and marketing professional in the life sciences research-tools area, Dale currently is employed by SeqOnce Biosciences as their Director of Business Development. For additional biographical information, please see my LinkedIn profile here: and also find me on Twitter @DaleYuzuki.

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