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This chapter is from the book

Working with Text

You can do lots of things with an iPhone that require you to provide text input. There are a couple of ways you can do this, the most obvious of which is by typing. The iPhone’s keyboard is quite amazing. Whenever you need it, whether it’s for emailing, messaging, entering a website URL, performing a search, or any other typing function, it pops up automatically.

To type, just tap the keys. As you tap each key, you hear audio feedback (you can disable this sound if you want to) and the key you tapped pops up in a magnified view on the screen. The keyboard includes all the standard keys, plus a few for special uses. To change from letters to numbers and special characters, just tap the 123 key. Tap the #+= key to see more special characters. Tap the 123 key to move back to the numbers and special characters or the ABC key to return to letters. The keyboard also has contextual keys that appear when you need them. For example, when you enter a website address, the .com key appears so you can enter these four characters with a single tap.

Working with Predictive Text

You can also use Predictive Text, which is the feature that tries to predict text you want to enter based on the context of what you are currently typing and what you have typed before. Predictive Text appears in the bar between the text and the keyboard and presents you with three options. If one of those is what you want to enter, tap it and it is added to the text at the current location of the cursor. If you don’t see an option you want to enter, keep typing and the options change as the text changes. You can tap an option at any time to enter it. The nice thing about Predictive Text is that it gets better at predicting your text needs over time. In other words, the more you use it, the better it gets at predicting what you want to type. You can also enable or disable Predictive Text, as you see shortly.

Working with Keyboards

The great thing about a virtual keyboard like the iPhone has is that it can change to reflect the language or symbols you want to type. As you learn in Chapter 5, “Customizing How Your iPhone Works,” you can install multiple keyboards, such as one for your primary language and more for your secondary languages. You can also install third-party keyboards to take advantage of their features (this is also covered in Chapter 5).

By default, two keyboards are available for you to use. One is for the primary language configured for your iPhone (for example, mine is U.S. English). The other is the Emoji keyboard (more on this shortly). How you change the keyboard you are using depends on whether you have installed additional keyboards and the orientation of the iPhone.

If you haven’t installed additional keyboards, you can change keyboards by tapping the Emoji key, which has a smiley face on it.

If you have installed other keyboards, you change keyboards by tapping the Globe key.

Each time you tap this key (Globe if available, Emoji if there isn’t a Globe), the keyboard changes to be the next keyboard installed; along with the available keys changing, you briefly see the name of the current keyboard in the Space bar. When you have cycled through all the keyboards, you return to the one where you started.

You can also select the specific keyboard you want to use and enable/disable Predictive Text by tapping and holding on the Globe key (or the Emoji key, if you don’t see the Globe key). The Keyboard menu appears. Tap a keyboard to switch to it. Tap the Predictive Text switch to enable or disable it. When the switch is green, Predictive Text is enabled; when the switch is white, it is disabled.

Using Emojis

Emojis are icons you insert into your text to liven things up, communicate your feelings, or just to have some fun (if you don’t have this keyboard installed, see Chapter 5). You can open this keyboard by tapping its key (the smiley face) or by tapping it on the Keyboard menu. You see a palette containing many icons, organized into groups. You can change the groups of icons you are browsing by tapping the buttons at the bottom of the screen. Swipe to the left or right on the icons to browse the icons in the current group. Tap an emoji to enter it at the cursor’s location in your message, email, or other type of document. To use an emoji you’ve used before, tap the Clock button to see emojis you’ve use recently; you’ll probably find that you use this recent set of emojis regularly so this can save a lot of time. To return to the mundane world of letters and symbols, tap the ABC key.

The Predictive text feature also suggests emojis when you type certain words; just tap the emoji to replace the word with it.

Correcting Spelling as You Type

If you type a word that the iPhone doesn’t recognize, that word is flagged as a possible mistake and suggestions are made to help you correct it. How this happens depends on whether or not Predictive Text is enabled.

If Predictive Text is enabled, potential replacements for suspicious words appear in the Predictive Text bar. When you tap the space key, the suspicious word is replaced with the word in the center of the Predictive Text bar. Tap the word on the far left to keep what you’ve typed (because it isn’t a mistake) or tap the word on the right end of the bar to enter it instead of what you’ve typed.

If Predictive Text isn’t enabled, a suspicious word is highlighted and a suggestion about what it thinks is the correct word appears in a pop-up box. To accept the suggestion, tap the space key. To reject the suggestion, tap the pop-up box to close it and keep what you typed. You can also use this feature for shorthand typing. For example, to type “I’ve” you can simply type “Ive” and iPhone suggests “I’ve,” which you can accept by tapping the space key.

By default, the iPhone attempts to correct the capitalization of what you type. It also automatically selects the Shift key when you start a new sentence, start a new paragraph, or in other places where its best guess is that you need a capital letter. If you don’t want to enter a capital character, simply tap the Shift key before you type. You can enable the Caps Lock key by tapping the Shift key twice. When the key is highlighted (the upward-facing arrow is black), everything you type is in uppercase letters.

Editing Text

To edit text you’ve typed, touch and hold on the area containing the text you want to edit. A magnifying glass icon appears on the screen, and within it you see a magnified view of the location of the cursor. Drag the magnifying glass to where you want to make changes (to position the cursor where you want to start making changes), and then lift your finger from the screen. The cursor remains in that location, and you can use the keyboard to make changes to the text or to add text at that location.

Selecting, Copying, Cutting, or Pasting Text

You can also select text or images to copy and paste the selected content into a new location or to replace that content. Touch and hold down briefly where you want to start the selection until the magnifying glass icon appears; then lift your finger off the screen. The Select menu appears. Tap Select to select part of the content on the screen, or tap Select All to select everything in the current window.

You see markers indicating where the selection starts and stops. (The iPhone attempts to select something logical, such as the word or sentence.) New commands appear on the menu; these provide actions for the text currently selected.

Drag the two markers so that the content you want to select is between them; the selected portion is highlighted in blue. As you drag, you see a magnified view of where the selection marker is, which helps you place it more accurately. When the selection markers are located correctly, lift your finger from the screen. (If you tapped the Select All command, you don’t need to do this because the content you want is already selected.)

Tap Cut to remove the content from the current window, or tap Copy to just copy it.

Move to where you want to paste the content you selected; for example, use the App Switcher to change to a different app. Tap where you want the content to be pasted. For a more precise location, tap and hold and then use the magnifying glass icon to move to a specific location. Lift your finger off the screen and the menu appears. Then tap Paste.

The content you copied or cut appears where you placed the cursor.

Correcting Spelling After You’ve Typed

The iPhone also has a spell-checking feature that comes into play after you have entered text (as opposed to the Predictive Text and autocorrect/suggests features that change text as you type it). When you’ve entered text the iPhone doesn’t recognize, it is underlined in red.

Tap the underlined word. It is shaded in red to show you what is being checked, and a menu appears with one or more replacements that might be the correct spelling. If one of the options is the one you want, tap it. The incorrect word is replaced with the one you tapped.

Dictating Text

You can also enter text by dictating it. This is a fast and easy way to type, and you’ll be amazed at how accurate the iPhone is at translating your speech into typed words. Dictation is available almost anywhere you need to enter text. (Exceptions are passcodes and passwords, such as for your Apple ID.)

To start dictating, tap the Microphone key. The iPhone goes into Dictation mode. A gray bar appears at the bottom of the window. As the iPhone “hears” you, the line oscillates.

Start speaking the text you want the iPhone to type. As you speak, the text is entered starting from the location of the cursor. Speak punctuation when you want to enter it. For example, when you reach the end of a sentence, say “period” or to enter a colon, say “colon.” To start a new paragraph, say “new paragraph.”

When you’ve finished dictating, tap Done. The keyboard reappears and you see the text you spoke. This feature is amazingly accurate and can be a much faster and more convenient way to enter text than typing it.

You can edit the text you dictated just like text you typed using the keyboard.

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