Type Accents on the iPhone Keyboard

use accents on iPhone

 Sam Costello

The iPhone's built-in keyboard lets you insert accent marks and other diacritical symbols into your text. This feature is helpful when you're writing in French, Spanish, or other non-English languages. Every iPhone offers a set of accents and alternate characters built in. They're not immediately apparent on the keyboard, but they're easy to find.

The information in this article was tested using iOS 12. Functionality is similar for previous versions of Apple's mobile operating system. We assume you're using the stock iOS keyboard. If you've installed an alternative keyboard, options and features may differ.

How to Insert Accents and Symbols

To see the available accents and diacritical symbols, tap and hold the letter or punctuation mark that governs your intended character. A row of accented versions of the letter will pop up. If nothing pops up, that letter or punctuation does not have an accent.

To insert the accent you want, keep holding your finger down and slide it across the screen to the accented letter you want and then remove your finger from the screen. 

3D Touch iPhone Consideration

If you've got an iPhone with a 3D touchscreen, such as the iPhone 6, 6S series, 7 series, 8 series, or iPhone X, you still must use the tap-and-hold method to reveal the alternative characters. Using a Force Touch activates the on-screen cursor.

Letters with Accents

Each extended character is governed by a standard keypress:

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's keyboard that have alternate versions. All sorts of hidden symbols and punctuation marks available in the stock iOS keyboard:

- ·
$ ¢ £ ¥
& §
" « »
? ¿
! ¡
' `
/ \

Keyboard Apps for Accents and Special Characters

The accents and special characters that come built into the iPhone are good for many uses, but they don't cover every option. If you need advanced mathematical symbols, arrows, fractions, or other specialized characters, you'll need to look elsewhere — starting with an alternative keyboard app.

Check out our instructions about how to install non-native keyboards on your iPhone. Popular alternatives include:

  • Symbols offers more than 3,000 symbols for music, fractions, math, technical documentation, emojis, and more.
  • Symbol Keyboard isn't a separate keyboard, but instead is a standalone app packed with over 60,000 special characters. Copy and paste a symbol from it to use elsewhere. It is a free product supported by in-app purchases.
  • Uni Keyboard provides 2,950 currency symbols, mathematical operators, checkmarks, arrows, and more.