Entering a Newline Character in Messages App Using a Bluetooth Keyboard

iOS and iPadOS


Over the past few weeks, I have been making a concerted effort to master the operation of my iPhone using a Bluetooth keyboard, my goal being to have to memorize as few VoiceOver keyboard shortcuts as possible<smile> while improving the speed and efficiency with which I write longer messages on the iPhone. Working with the keyboard using a variety of apps (such as Messages and Mail), I discovered an interesting peculiarity with the Messages app. If I wanted my texts to be divided up into paragraphs, I could not simply press the Enter key, for doing so would cause the message to be sent instead of inserting a Newline character. This behavior does not happen when writing email messages or taking notes in something like the Notes or Drafts app. I attempted to gain a better understanding of this problem by contacting Apple's Accessibility Support. Alas, greater understanding was not forthcoming from the person on the other end of the line.

As it turns out, when typing in the Messages app with a Bluetooth keyboard, you can generate a Newline character by pressing CTRL+ENTER. In fact, CTRL+ENTER works equally well in the other apps I have tried—including Mail. It causes me more than a little frustration to find that Apple Technical Support was not able to enlighten me about this even though this particular issue is not one related to VoiceOver or accessibility. Nevertheless, I pass this along for anyone else who cares to gain a better understanding of how to use a keyboard with iOS.


Curtis Chong



Submitted by LaBoheme on Friday, August 14, 2020

maybe you meant option-enter?

ctrl-return generates a line separate character, but unless you're viewing it in a word processor, it doesn't make any difference.

as for tech support people, i never got anything useful from them. they're not really engineers, generally, companies won't staff tech support with real knowledgable people, cause they could cost $40 an hour and up. i don't call these people for real answer anymore. sometimes i still call, and that's because i got so fed up and want to have some person at the other and to scold at.

the only time i got really helpful support was from calling redhat. they staffed their tech support with people who really knew the trade, they don't just tell you to reboot your computer...i can do it on my own, thanks.

Submitted by Curtis Chong on Saturday, August 15, 2020

Is there a significant difference between CTRL+ENTER versus OPTION+ENTER? I used both combinations, and they both seemed to generate an identical result. However, since I don't have the ability to examine hexidecimal values in iOS, I can't really say. Thanks.

Submitted by LaBoheme on Saturday, August 15, 2020

just did a little test, ctrl-return does generate a blank line, because ios strips off the control character and properly translate it to linefeed. however, if you do this on a mac, the control character actually get entered, and if the other person reads it on a mac, the person would see two control characters rather than a blank line.

so it doesn't really matter if you only type on ios devices, still, it's better to do it the right way which is option-return.