The Most Useful iPhone and iPad Keyboard Shortcuts

Once you know these text shortcuts for your iPhone you'll be responding to text messages faster than ever!

It’s time to give your tired thumbs a break. With keyboard shortcuts on iPhones and iPads, you can save time when typing messages to your family, friends, and colleagues. Changing your keyboard’s settings is simple and quick, even for the least tech-savvy users. Here’s how to set up and customize text shortcuts on your iPhone and iPad keyboards—and the handiest shortcuts to try. Apple devotees will also want to know these Mac keyboard shortcuts.

What are keyboard shortcuts?

Keyboard shortcuts are text replacement tools for the busy iPhone or iPad owner. Similar to how autocorrect works for spelling, a shortcut automatically replaces any brief abbreviation with a longer word or phrase as you type. Just customize your shortcuts in the Settings app to start using them. Not only does this feature speed up your texting time, but it can also save you from accidental or embarrassing typos. For more iPhone shortcuts, try these keyboard shortcuts to type symbols on your phone.

iPhone screen showing menu of a user's saved keyboard, Getty Images

How to create keyboard shortcuts

To make a new shortcut, launch the Settings app —> General —> Keyboard —> Text Replacement and choose the “+” symbol in the top right corner. Enter the abbreviation you’d like to use in the “Shortcut” field, and then type in the entire phrase you want it to be replaced with in the “Phrase” field. Tap “Save” at the top right once you’re done. Now when you type that abbreviation and tap the space bar, it will be replaced with the phrase you saved in the settings. Pro tip: To stop your phone from autocorrecting certain words by mistake (“lick” instead of “luck,” for example), fill in the “Phrase” field with the word and leave the “Shortcut” field blank. These 40 iPhone tricks will make your life easier, too.

How to edit and customize keyboard shortcuts

If you find yourself typing a shortcut by accident or one of your shortcuts has a typo, there’s an easy fix. Edit and customize any shortcut by going to the Settings app —> General —> Keyboard —> Text Replacement. Select the shortcut you want to edit, type in the new phrase, and hit “Save.” Believe it or not, your iPhone’s keyboard also has a hidden mouse.

How to delete keyboard shortcuts

No longer using a keyboard shortcut? You can get rid of it with a swipe of your finger. In the Settings app, hit General —> Keyboard —> Text Replacement, and swipe left on the shortcut you want to delete. Then tap on the “Delete” button to make the shortcut disappear. This trick is also good to know if pranksters ever get a hold of your phone and secretly change your shortcuts. These hidden iPhone hacks could come in handy, too.

Two iPhones showing keyboard shortcut, Getty Images

Most useful iPad and iPhone keyboard shortcuts

Thanks to text shortcuts for iPhones, you can communicate fast while out and about. If you are constantly running late, try the shortcut “OMW” to say “On my way,” or “FMIN” to say “I’ll be there in five minutes.” Personal information that you often share, like your email address, phone number, and home address, can be programmed to appear when you type EML, PHN, or ADDR, respectively.

You can also create your own abbreviations for names or places that you frequently type or text, such as a favorite restaurant or your child’s school. Consider adding any words you often misspell or mistype, like “should” rather than “shoukd,” as well. That’s not all your iPhone can do.


  • Thomas Reed, director of Mac and Malware at Malwarebytes
  •“Save keystrokes with text replacements on iPhone”
  • “Do Yourself a Favor: Set Up These Custom Typing Shortcuts on Your iPhone Right Now”
Close up of young woman having coffee and reading news on mobile phone in the early morning before workd3sign/Getty Images

How to Hide Apps on an iPhone

Brooke Nelson Alexander
Brooke is a tech and consumer products writer covering the latest in digital trends, product reviews, security and privacy, and other news and features for Reader's Digest. She's a two-time Emmy-nominated reporter with nearly 10 years of publishing experience, and her work has been recognized by the Columbia Scholastic Press Association.