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 aren't apparent on the keyboard but are easy to find.

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

If You Use a Third-Party Keyboard

Third-party iOS keyboards may have processes to create accents and special characters that differ from the ones on 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. If so, tap Next Keyboard.

An iPhone with the keyboard open with the Globe key and menu highlighted

View Accents and Symbols

To see the available accents and diacritical symbols, tap and hold the letter or punctuation mark to which you want to add the accent. A row of accented versions of the letter display. If nothing appears, that letter or punctuation 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. 

3D Touch iPhone Consideration

On an iPhone with a 3D touchscreen, such as the iPhone X or iPhones 8, 7, or 6S series, adding accents is trickier because a hard press on the keyboard activates a cursor that you can move around the screen. On those devices, don't push too hard on the screen 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

The letters with accent options 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 on the following characters. 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 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 a number of 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 is a free app with in-app purchases available.
  • Uni Keyboard provides 2,950 currency symbols, mathematical operators, checkmarks, arrows, and more.