How to Type Accents on the iPhone Keyboard

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Did you know that the iPhone's built-in keyboard lets you insert accent marks and other diacritical symbols in any iPhone app that uses it? This is especially important when you're writing in French, Spanish, or other non-English languages.

How to Add Accents Using the iPhone Keyboard

Every iPhone has a big set of accents and alternate characters, but they're sort of hidden. Luckily, they're really easy to find.

First, make sure you're using the iPhone's default keyboard. If you haven't installed any third-party keyboards, you're ready to go. If you have, just use whatever option that keyboard gives you to access the built-in iPhone keyboard.

To see the available accents and diacritical symbols, simply tap and hold on the letter or punctuation mark you want to add the accent to. 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 select the accent you want, keep holding your finger down and slide it across the screen. Highlight the accented letter you want and remove your finger from the screen. 

If you've got an iPhone with a 3D Touch screen, such as the iPhone 6, 6S series or 7 series, this is a little trickier. That's because a hard press on the keyboard activates a cursor that you can move around the screen, not the accents.

On those devices, be careful not to 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 That Have Accents on iPhone

​The letters with accent options, and the accents available for each letter, are listed here:

 acutegravecircumflextildeumlautother
aáàâãäå, æ, ā
eéèê ëē, ė, ę
iíìî ïį, ī
oóòôõöø, ō, œ
uúùû üū
y    ÿ 
cć    ç, č
l     ł
nń  ñ  
sś    ß, š
zź    ž, ż

 

Punctuation Marks With Alternate Characters on iPhone

Letters aren't the only keys on the iPhone's keyboard that have alternate versions. There are all sorts of hidden symbols and punctuation marks on the following characters (access them the same way you do accents):

-·   
$¢£¥
&§     
"«» 
.     
?¿     
!¡     
'`   
%     
/\     

 

iPhone 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. There are a number of third-party keyboards that offer these characters.

First, check out this article to learn about installing and using third-party keyboards. Once you've done that, here are three keyboard apps, and one standalone app, that may have what you need:

  • Character & Symbols Keyboard—Offers over 500 special characters from sets dedicated to math, weather, bullets, arrows, and more. US$1.99 Download from the App Store
  • Symbols—Get over 3,000 symbols for music, fractions, math, technical documentation, emojis, and more. $1.99 Download from the App Store
  • Symbol Keyboard—Not a third-party keyboard, but rather a standalone app packed with over 60,000 special characters. Select them here and then copy and paste to use in other apps. Free, with in-app purchases Download from the App Store
  • Uni Keyboard—You'll find 2,950 currency symbols, mathematical operators, checkmarks, arrows, and more in this set. Free Download from the App Store