It seems Apple added text expansion to iOS 5 and decided not to mention it. This is a great, highly-desired feature that can save you tons of time typing frequent phrases and long words. Here's how to set it up and the phrases you'll want to add right away.
Set Up Text Expansion (Shortcuts)
First things first, let's get text expansion (or Shortcuts, as Apple calls it) set up. To get it set up, either watch the video up top or follow these steps:
- Open up the Settings app on your iPhone's home screen.
- Tap the General section.
- Tap the Keyboard section.
- Swipe down to the bottom and tap the button labelled "Add New Shortcut..."
- Under "Phrase" type the phrase you want the shortcut to expand to, and under "Shortcut" type the shortcut you want to type instead. For example, if you wanted "brb" to expand to "be right back", you'd type "brb" for the shortcut and "be right back" for the phrase.
- Tap save when you're done.
You'll need to repeat this process for all the text expansion shortcuts you want to add. You can always delete them by swiping left over them on the keyboard settings page and tapping the delete button (much like anything else in iOS).
Phrases You Should Add Right Now
Here are some phrases you'll want to add to your iPhone right now. The nice thing about the feature is it works much like autocorrect, so you can set a text expansion shortcut to a portion of a word and it'll only expand if you type a space after the shortcut. For example, you could have a shortcut called "sig" and type the word signature without worrying about the shortcut expanding when you don't want it to expand. This opens up plenty of simple shortcut options. Here are the ones we think everyone will find useful right away.
Note: These shortcuts shouldn't be added in uppercase (unless you want to), but are just shown that way to make them easier to read in this post.
- EML -> [email protected], so you never need to type your email when sending a message to yourself or sharing it with someone else.
- PHN -> your phone number, so you can easily share your phone number without the need to type it or even remember it.
- ADDR -> your address, so you don't have to type out the entire thing.
- SIG -> your email signature, in case you only want to use it sometimes and not with every message.
- CTCL -> can't talk, I'll call you later, when you need to tell a friend you'll get back to them a bit later but aren't able to call (or answer their call).
- FMIN -> I'll be there in five minutes, for when you want to text someone that you're five minutes away but only have a few moments to type it.
- BRB -> be right back, for those of you who IM frequently on your iDevice.
- THX -> thanks!, is one example of many ways you can abbreviate common endings to messages.
Those are just a few handy ones you'll want to use right away. If you've got any of your own, share 'em in the comments!
Want to learn how to set up other neat features in iOS 5? Check out our other how-to guides.
iOS 5: Hidden gems and features [Extreme Tech]