How to Access the Hidden Symbols on Your Android Phone’s Keyboard

How to Access the Hidden Symbols on Your Android Phone’s Keyboard
Screenshot: Joel Cunningham

Just like the hidden symbols on an iPhone’s keyboard, there are plenty of useful keys buried under one long-press on your Android. Before we share these tips, it’s good to clarify that these hidden symbols can be accessed using Google’s own Gboard keyboard app, the default keyboard for the Google Pixel lineup and phones with stock Android. If you’re using any other flavour of Android, you can certainly go ahead and install Gboard, as not all keyboard apps offer the same functionality.

The most useful shortcuts are hiding under the period key. Press and hold the . (period key) to access a bunch of useful symbols, such as &, %, +, #, !, and @. This shortcut makes typing a lot faster because you don’t have to keep switching to the symbols page of the keyboard over and over.

Another nifty Gboard trick is to press and hold , (comma key) and slide your finger over to the hand icon on the right. This will switch Gboard over to a one-handed mode that will allow you to type much faster if you’re, uh, typing with one hand.

If you are looking to type an accented character, long-press the key closest to the character you’re looking for. For example, to type ë, press and hold e to reveal all the associated accented characters, and slide your finger over to the one you need.

Here’s the list of other keys you can long press to reveal their underlying hidden symbols:

  • S reveals the beta symbol (ß).
  • 1 shows you a host of fractions, such as ½, ⅛, and ⅑. This also works if you long-press any number from 1 to 9, and the same tip can be used to add an exponent to any number from 0 to 9; type in the first number, then press and hold the number you want to use as an exponent and slide your finger to the relevant selection. This lets you easily type numbers such as 2⁵, 7⁸, and 9³.
  • # can be long-pressed to reveal the numero sign (№).
  • $ shows other currency symbols, such as ₹, ¥, ₱, £, ¢, and €. This list may vary depending on your region.
  • (hyphen) reveals a couple of long dashes (– and — ), underscore (_), and the bullet point symbol (·).
  • + will allow you to type the plus-minus sign (±).
  • ( (open brackets) lets you type the less-than symbol (
  • ) (close brackets) similarly lets you type the greater-than symbol (>), and you can use it to close square (]) and curly brackets (}) as well.
  • * (asterisk) shows the star symbol (★), the dagger symbol (†), and the double-dagger symbol (‡). In case you’re wondering, these dagger symbols are commonly used to mark footnotes.
  • (double quotes) reveals smart double quotes, an alternative quotation mark („), and the symbols for forward («) and rewind (»).
  • (single quotes) shows smart single quotes, an alternative single quote (‚), and the couple more variants of the quotation mark (‹ and ›).
  • ! (exclamation mark) lets you type the inverted exclamation (¡).
  • ? (question mark) allows you to key in the inverted question mark (¿) and the interrobang (‽), which is like a very excited question mark.
  • % (percentage symbol) reveals the per mille symbol (‰) and the abbreviation for care of (℅).
  • ^ (caret or exponent symbol) can be held to type the four arrow key symbols (↑↓←→).
  • = (equals) will allow you to type the symbol for unequal to (≠), roughly equals (≈), and infinity (∞).
  • (bullet point symbol) shows the musical note symbol (♪), alongside spade (♠), club (♣), heart (♥), and diamond (♦). This one’s for all you Solitaire fans.
  • π (pi) reveals omega (Ω), Mu (μ), and a mathematical symbol that means product over terms (Π).
  • (paragraph mark) can be long-pressed to type the section sign (§).

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