problems editing text

iOS & iPadOS

I'm totally new to iPhone and IOS. I'm having difficulty editing my typing errirs in the IOS message app.

I can't always predict which character will be deleted when I'm going back to correct errors - sometimes the delete key seems to act like a backspace key, other times it seems to act like a typical delete key.

I love this site and everything I know about this phone comes from the site resources. Can anyone point me to info which will help me learn how to edit my text competently?

Thanks very much - Dave



Submitted by Dawn 👩🏻‍🦯 on Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Hello there!

That is a challenge at least it was for me when I first started on my ipad! Did anyone tell you about the rotor? Well, no one did me either for a while! It's like the old-school rotorary phone. You can configure the rotor by going to setting, general, accessibility, & voiceover & then rotor. Or ask siri to take you to the voiceover settings! You use the rotor by placing 2 fingers on the i-device, & spin them!

But, on the rotor you can turn so the cursor will move by words lines, or caricters! Or alternatively, turn it until you hear edit & flick down with 1 finger until you hear select all & then press delete & it will delete your whole entire text! But, if you'd like to fix errors, you choose 1 of the options above )word, line, carichter or select all if you want the whole text gone), & then flick up/down with 1 finger until you get to the place where the error is! For example, spin the rotor with 2 fingers til you hear words, then flick up with 1 finger, until you get to the word before the error, then spin til you get to caricters, then flick up til you hear the caricter after the error, push delete twice & then re-type!

I'll also give you a resource that you can turn to besides this site if you need tech support or have other questions, or if you have any other questions about anything else, or regarding what I've just explained to you. It's Apple's accessibility line. They call themselves apple ccessibility services. They're open 24/7, & the number is: 1877 204 3930. It's free of charge to use it also.

I called them with a list of questions when I was first starting out quite a bit! They were patient, & took the time to explain things to me, sometimes multiple times until I got it! They even stayed on the phone with me 1 time while I was having an issue & walked me through the daunting at first steps on how to complete my task!

I hope you have found this helpful! Good luck! You will enjoy your iphone because you will have access to so much more than you ever thought possible!

Submitted by David A on Thursday, February 16, 2017

In reply to by Dawn 👩🏻‍🦯

Hi Dawn, Thanks a million for your reply!

I do know some things about the rotor but your reply describing how it is used to edit text was totally helpful to me! Going to try some of your suggestions soon as my phone is charged-up. Thanks also for the info and phone number you provided for tech support as i did not have that info available to me - going to put it in my contacts list!

Thanks very much again - Dave

Submitted by DPinWI on Thursday, February 16, 2017

The toughest part for me when I was starting with iOS was figuring out the delete key. As you mentioned, initially, it seems to be counterintuitive.

Here's what i came to understand. If I am flicking through a word, by character, I want to be after the letter. But if I am backing up through a text message to get to a mistake, this isn't as easy at first.

So, for example. If I wanted to send a text that says, "This is David", but I type "Davod" instead.

I double tap on the message field, if it's not already active. VO will say, something like, "Text field, editing, cursor at end."

If I wanted to start from the beginning, I would single finger double tap, and VO would say, "Cursor at beginning" but I digress.

With the cursor at the end, set the rotor to characters.

Flick up, and hear, "D" and then "o".

Okay, there is our mistake, but a delete key press now would delete the v. Instead, flick down, and VO will say"O" again, but this time we are after the o. Now we can press delete, then type the i.

I hope this makes sense.

When flicking up to go backwards, the cursor is placed before the last letter you hear, but, that's not where you want to be to delete it. You need to move forward through the word to be after the character.

Submitted by David A on Thursday, February 16, 2017

In reply to by DPinWI

Hey, this is also very helpful information and can't thank you enough!

I'm looking fwd to trying your suggestions and the other suggestions I have received. Also, thanks for your digression as i did not know how to move the cursor to the start of an edit field!

I've been listening to BGI podcasts and reading guides and blogs on this site and am surprised this confusing matter has not been covered. Or, at least I have not found anything on this topic as yet.

Again thanks much for taking the time to pass along your own experience and findings - most appreciated.


Submitted by peter on Thursday, February 16, 2017

One of the problems with deleting text reliably is to know what the cursor position is.

Here is the algorithm:

If you are moving forward by a character or a word at a time, then the cursor will be placed after the word or character. In this case, the delete key will erase the last character or word spoken.

On the other hand, if you are moving backward a character or word at a time then the cursor will be placed prior to the last character or word spoken. Now if you hit the delete key, you will not erase the last character or word spoken, but rather the character prior to what was last spoken - i.e., still the previous character to where you are, but that character has not been spoken.

I hope that helps and makes sense. I don't think this is how cursor location and erasing works on a PC, so this concept may be counterintuitive if you are used to using a PC.


Hi Pete,

This info is so very helpful to me.

I am indeed accustomed to working on a PC; this phone is the first Apple product I've owned.

Thanks a bunch for describing the algorithm; this will be most helpful to me in being able to get good editing results.

Thanks for your time and info - Dave

Submitted by Chris on Thursday, February 16, 2017

This behaviori s also present on the Mac. From what I've been told, this method is trying to accurately represent how the cursor actually works for a sighted person. I think Windows does the exact same thing, but the Windows screen readers interpret it differently. Please correct me if I'm wrong on all this.

Submitted by Jeff on Thursday, February 16, 2017

Apple's concept places the cursor between characters and Voiceover speaks the character which the cursor moves over. You can think of the cursor as a vertical line between the characters. Windows treats the cursor as an underscore or highlighted block on the selected character. Sometimes these cursors blink or maybe they're just a different color. But the concept is that the character under the cursor is selected. Hope this helps.

Submitted by David A on Friday, February 17, 2017

In reply to by Chris

Hi Chris - I guess all I'm getting to know is that PCs and Apple products handle cursor position differently. Planning to buy an Apple Mini at some point so eventually I'll be done with PC products and will have to be concerned with one system only.


Submitted by Caroline on Wednesday, February 22, 2017

I just want to say a huge thank you for all of your above advise your suggestions work and youvve all made my life so much easier. smilie

Submitted by Roxann Pollard on Thursday, February 23, 2017

Hello Dave. There is a dictate feature, which is available whenever you have the keyboard visible. The dictate button is located to the right of the numbers/letters toggle button located in the lower lefthand corner of the keyboard. You can either do a one-finger double tap to activate or use the two-finger double tap (also known as the magic tap) to start and stop the dictate mode. The magic tap also is used to start music, BARD or Audible Books, to activate a incoming phone call or hang up the call, etc.

The dictate feature does have a bit of a time limit on it. If you talk until it stops on it's own, then simply activate the dictate feature and begin where you left off.

Also, when using the dictate feature, be certain that you speak the words for the appropriate punctuation marks to be added into your sentences; otherwise, you will have one very long sentence. for example, "This is a test.". In order to get SIRI to insert the period at the end of the sentence say, "This is a test period" and SIRI will insert the period punctuation mark but will not actually write the word on the screen.

Finally, make sure you proof read your text before sending it off. Sometimes SIRI doesn't understand what I have said. This where the aforementioned text editing skills come in handy. When I got my first iPhone, we didn't have the dictate feature and every word had to be hand written. Now that we have it, I primarily use the dictate feature and then correct text as needed.

Be patient with yourself. No matter how intimidating it may seem to you right now, I can tell you that using a iPhone will change your life. It is so worth investing the time and going through the learning curve. This site will help you tremendously. I hope you enjoy your new toy as much as I do.


Submitted by David A on Thursday, February 23, 2017

In reply to by Roxann Pollard

Hi Roxann - I have known about - and used - the dictation feature on the iPhone. However, seemingly having a long-standing preference for doing things the hard way, I wanted to be able to keystroke my msgs if I chose to do so.
Actually, all is going pretty well. My typing skills are good and with the help of this site and replies received to my original request for help with editing, I am making progress. I'm not as capable at editing as I hope to be just yet, but moving in the desired direction.

I'm enjoying my phone immensely. Just got done reading some of the morning's news, checked my weather app for favorite locations, and practiced my typing and editing a bit. I'm doing pretty well at being patient with myself in this learning curve, and when I notice myself becoming frustrated, I set the phone aside and shift my focus to something else.

Thanks much for your info and your encouragement - Dave

Submitted by David A on Thursday, March 23, 2017

Just wanted to thank those who responded to my original post re: text editing. your suggestions were most helpful and I'm now editing text with confidence. Couldn't have made this progress w/o the help of AppleVis and this this forum!