How to Type Accents on the iPhone Keyboard

Access special characters without downloading a new keyboard

The iPhone's built-in keyboard inserts accent marks and other diacritical symbols in any iPhone app that uses it. This is useful when writing in French, Spanish, or other non-English languages. Every iPhone has a set of accents and alternate characters built-in. These accents and characters are easy to find. Here's what to do.

Instructions in this article apply to devices running iOS 9 or later.

How to View Accents and Symbols on the iPhone Keyboard

screenshot: accents in iPhone keyboard
The iPhone keyboard has dozens of accents. You just need to know where to look.

To see the available accents and diacritical symbols, tap and hold the letter or punctuation mark that you want to accent. A row of accented versions of the letter appears. If nothing appears, that letter or punctuation mark does not have an accent.

To insert the accent, drag across the screen to the letter you want, then remove your finger from the screen. 

On an iPhone with a 3D Touch screen, such as the iPhone X or iPhones 8, 7, or 6S series, adding accents is trickier. On those models, a hard press on the keyboard activates a cursor that you can move around the screen. Don't push too hard when you tap and hold a letter. Doing that will make the phone think you're trying to use 3D Touch and it won't show the accents. On those models, a light tap and hold is best.

Letters With Accents on the iPhone Keyboard

The letters with accent options on the iPhone keyboard and the accents available for each letter are listed here:

Letter Acute Grave Circumflex Tilde Umlaut Other
a á à â ã ä å, æ, ā
e é è ê   ë ē, ė, ę
i í ì î   ï į, ī
o ó ò ô õ ö ø, ō, œ
u ú ù û   ü ū
y         ÿ  
c ć         ç, č
l           ł
n ń     ñ    
s ś         ß, š
z ź         ž, ż

Punctuation Marks with Alternate Characters

Letters aren't the only keys on the iPhone keyboard that have alternate versions. You can also find symbols and punctuation marks. Access them the same way you do accents: tap and hold to display the alternate symbols.

Key Characters
- – — ·
$ ¢ € £ ¥ ₱ ₩
& §
" « » „ “ ”
? ¿
! ¡
' ‘ ’ `
/ \

iPhone Keyboard Apps for Accents and Special Characters

The accents and special characters that are built into the iPhone keyboard are good for many uses, but they don't cover every option. If you need advanced mathematical symbols, arrows, fractions, or other specialized characters, there are third-party keyboards that offer these characters.

If you've never installed a keyboard before, learn how to install third-party keyboards on your iPhone.

Here are a few apps that offer additional keyboard styles and character options:

  • Symbols offers over 3,000 symbols for music, fractions, math, technical documentation, emojis, and more.
  • Symbol Keyboard isn't a third-party keyboard. It's a standalone app that's packed with over 60,000 special characters. Copy and paste a symbol from the app to use in other apps. It's free, with in-app purchases available.
  • Uni Keyboard provides 2,950 currency symbols, mathematical operators, checkmarks, arrows, and more.

Third-party iOS keyboards may have insert accents and special characters in different ways from the standard keyboard. To switch to the stock iOS setup, tap the globe icon in the lower-left corner of the keyboard to cycle to the next keyboard until you reach the default. You may have to tap and hold to open a menu with more options.

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