Typing tips

iOS & iPadOS

If I hold my ipad 2cm away from my nose and invert the colours I can see enough to figure out where the keys are and type. But this, along with any other attempts to read anything, worsens the already very irritating nystagmus and causes headaches. Which is the whole reason i am getting voiceover training. Currently im busy getting mac training, but soon will be starting ios training. You dont need to be a genius to use voiceover on ios, i can already navigate quite well. My teacher gave me the following advice when typing with the on screen keyboard: use the index finger to find the correct letter and tap with middle finger to confirm selection. Ok, it works. But is slow, and I have memory and concentration issues which often makes me forget which word i am typing and which letter i need to look for next. So im switching voiceover off and going back to my old method. Which defeats the purpose of trying to become a good voiceover user. Does anyone have tips on how I can improve my typing skills?

Greetings from the Netherlands.



Submitted by Roxann Pollard on Thursday, February 11, 2016

There is a dictate button on the bottom row of your keyboard. If you do a one-finger double tap then the dictate feature begins. You may need to use the rotor sometimes to correct something that SIRI didn't understand. Usually words and characters are the two that I use to jump back and forth within a sentence to fix a problem.

In order to get to the beginning or end of the entire text, locate and highlight the text by just touching it. Then, a one-finger double tap will take you to the beginning or end of the text. This helps in navigating to find something that needs to be fixed.

Finally, remember when dictating something, you must also say the word comma, period, etc., to add the appropriate punctuation. Otherwise, it will read as one long run-on sentence.

All of this probably sounds a bit complicated, but, as with anything else on your iDevice, practice will make it come naturally to you. I am very successful in using the dictation feature, whether in an E-Mail, a text message or anywhere else where dictation can be used, such as in the BARD app for reading books as I search for an author or book title.


Submitted by Maanling on Thursday, February 11, 2016

My ios device and I seem to have language barriers when it comes to dictation. My language is Dutch. I have Siri set to English and the keyboard is switchable between both languages. This seems to confuse it when I talk to it. When I activate siri with the home button, I can talk in English and he understands me fine. If I hit the dictate button on the keyboard he seems to want to write Dutch when I talk English. Switching keyboard language doesn't seem to help. I could ofcourse just talk in Dutch but then you guys wouldn't understand what I post. Don't think my facebook and twitter friends would be very pleased either. But I can activate siri with the home button and ask it to send tweets in English. He only gets confused when I use dictation. Besides, talking to my phone when I am out and about, feels weird. Lol

Submitted by Scott Davert on Thursday, February 11, 2016

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

I don't mean this to be counterproductive, but have you considered a Bluetooth keyboard? Yes, it's something to carry other than your phone, but if you really want to write more quickly and accurately, that may be worth the inconvenience. Touch typing on the screen has always been something I've hated doing. You may also wish to give touch typing a try, where you can find the letter you want with your index finger, and then just lift it off the screen to confirm your entry.

Submitted by david s on Thursday, February 11, 2016


I can understand why you would want to learn touch typing on your IOS device. Personally, I don’t like talking to my phone in public and using a Bluetooth keyboard to text family and friends while on the go isn’t easy. So this is what I taught myself. I bend my middle finger flat against the lower part of my iphone. The first joint just above the fingernail is against the corner. The edge of my thumb is against the bottom of the phone Then using my pointer finger, I start to type. I remember how far or high I need to move my finger to get to a particular letter. It took me some time to figure out the letter spacing and position but now it’s second nature.

This may not work for everyone but it works great for me.

HTH and good luck.

Submitted by Maanling on Friday, February 12, 2016

Hi guys, thanks for the tips.

I was wondering if a bluetooth keyboard would be good or not. Would have to be small enough to bring with me but as David said, its something else you need to carry with you and I think that would frustrate me.

I tried the touch typing method of finding s letter and lifting my finger to confirm selection. This is a little faster and somewhat less uncomfortable than the method i had been using. I also found a handwriting option which i wanna try out. I guess its just that practice makes perfect.

Greetings from the Netherlands.

Submitted by Scott Davert on Friday, February 12, 2016

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

It's true that it's another item you would have to take with you, if you have decent handwriting, that would be a great alternative. I'm not sure you could have it set up to recognize some of the other Dutch characters that are not present in English, but it would seem to be quicker than typing if you are comfortable writing print. As for keyboards and portability, they make keyboards that both fold up and also smaller keyboards like the RII 66. I'm looking at some options for a client now in terms of a smaller keyboard, I will let you know what I discover. I hoep the handwriting mode is successful for you!

Tot Ziens,

Submitted by Mani on Friday, February 12, 2016

Hello Scott:
I don't mind carrying a full size bluetooth keyboard like the Apple wired keyboard I use for my Mac. I tried one of the smaller ones, a Logitech one, and it did not work well for me. Scott, if in your research you come across a good full sized one please do let us know in this forum. I am sure many will appreciate it.

Submitted by Oliver Kennett on Friday, February 12, 2016


With the dictation it might be worth looking at the settings, general, language and region. You might be able to tell your phone what language you prefer to speak in.

Secondly, I thumb type which requires both hands but can be pretty quick. Touch typing or direct touch are good for this.

Finally, I did have this great keyboard called the think outside foldable keyboard about ten years ago. It folded to abou the size of of a iphone 6+, but had a flaw in the design. It was small enough to slip in a jacket pocket though and folded out to pretty much a full sized keyboard minus number and function keys which you could access with function buttons.

It's worth tyring a few ideas. I tend to type long stuff on computer and keep it breif on my phone... or use that secret feature, calling someone. :) Good luck.

Submitted by Maanling on Friday, February 12, 2016

Hi Scott.

It looks like a lot of users here prefer the bluetooth keyboard option. Foldables sound fun and useful. Not sure i will get one, but it doesnt cost anything to look around at them. The handwriting function is interesting, it lets you use your finger to draw letters on the screen. But either i need to practice more, or the technology was maybe created for right handed people. Its not good at recognising the way i write. But i am left handed. I used to have enough sight to write on pen and paper, so being confortable doing it isnt a big issue. The special characters in Dutch are only used for certain words which dont come up a lot in general conversation. As far as i know, there is no option to be able to write them using handwriting. But if i replace the letter with a non accented equivilant, the words can still be understood. I will be interested to know what keyboards you find on your search. Oh and i see you want to exercise your (or maybe your translator's) Dutch skills.

Fijne avond.

Submitted by Maanling on Friday, February 12, 2016

In reply to by Oliver Kennett

Hi Oliver.

I have already looked multiple times at the language settings. I have it set up so I should be able to speak to it in both languages, but I believe there's an issue either with me or the IOS software, that doesnt let it work like i expect it to. And for me its not a matter of which language i prefer to speak. I speak both languages fluently. Its more a matter of who i am typing to and where i am typing. I like to speak in Dutch, but that doesnt help a lot when using this forum.

Thumb typing sounds like a great idea to try. I have an iphone and ipad mini, so that could work with both.

Like i said to Scott, a bluetooth keyboard might be an option. I have one laying in the house which is meant to use with a 10.1 inch samsung tab we have. But i have had it working with my ipad before. Thats a bit big though, it wont work for travelling.

I have a great MacBook pro which I could use for longer typing. But I dont keep it on all day. My ipad does stay on all day and is more convenient to pick up when i want to type here, send email or update twitter.

Having a small ammount of hearing loss makes actual phone calls quite annoying. Facetime and skype have better quality sound and i use them a lot. But as you can probably tell, i have my second home online. So being sble to type and do it comfortably, is important.

Greetings from the Netherlands.

Submitted by tunmi13 on Friday, February 12, 2016

I have usually three options of typing.
The first one is my Refreshabraille, which is currently in use typing this comment.
If I don't have my Refreshabraille, I use my mini sized Bluetooth Keyboard, which has a battery that lasts about 2 or 4 months long. Very fast charging capability too!
If my Bluetooth Keyboard and my Refreshabraille are not with me, I use Touch Typing with VoiceOver.

The thing is, I wish our devices had like little sensors so that it can sense what letter your finger is above before pressing it and bringing your finger down on the screen. I would just put my finger close to the screen in a certain spot and it would say "A" and then I could just put my finger on the letter.

Submitted by Kelsey Nicolay on Thursday, August 13, 2020

I’ve been using iOS devices since 2015 and to this day, I still hate the onscreen keyboard. I use my Focus 40 5th gen most of the time, but if that is not available, braille screen input is my next go to. If you know braille, you might give this a try. It doesn’t work on passwords and I don’t think you can dial a phone number with it, but for long text and email messages, braille screen infut works well.

Submitted by Curtis Chong on Thursday, August 13, 2020

Greetings: I am using a Logitech K380 keyboard. The keyboard itself is small, but the keys used for typing and backspacing are large and concave so the fingers naturally want to gravitate to the center. This keyboard supports a Bluetooth connection on up to three different devices. The feel is also quite nice. I spent about $39.95 to acquire this, and I have not yet regreted my decision to purchase.

Submitted by WellF on Thursday, August 13, 2020

I have 3 alternatives:
1: Direct touch typing, I have good muscle memory and the Latin keyboards are all QWERTY so it's like a PC keyboard but really small. I have set a lot of shortcuts to make it faster.
2: Braille screen input, this is quite handy because you don't need to tap the symbols thingy to access punctuation, just remember their braille code.
3: Bluetooth keyboard, just pair it, learn how iOS commands works and you can navigate quite well without even touching the screen. The shortcuts you create also work with and external keyboard, something I really miss on windows.

Submitted by peter on Thursday, August 13, 2020

Besides the several suggestions others have made including a small blue tooth keyboard (one of which I used for years when traveling and it fit into my pocket), braille screen input, etc. you might also want to give Flicktype a try. This keyboard has been designed specifically for the blind and doesn't require that you hit each key accurately.

I find it very easy to use these days in most circumstances (although dictation is still the easiest for non-professional work).