New to iOS and not liking its onscreen keyboard

iOS & iPadOS


I am new to this Forum.
First, I should mention that I am new to iOS also. I changed from a Nokia E71. Well, many blind People didn't think that the qwerty-Keyboard of this Nokia handset is comfortable, but I loved it.
And that is the Problem I have with the touch Keyboard. It is absolutely uncomfortable to write on it, so that I Need to use Siri. But when you are in the Train, you dont want to hear others what you SMS or mail. Another Thing is that I don't feel pleasant to talk to a machine.
My solution was to avoid typing on the Phone, so I don't write Messages or mails.

But maybe someone has found a trick? In fact, I'd like to be able to SMS, of course. A physical, small Keyboard would be the best.

Thanks for your Attention.



Submitted by Dave82 on Thursday, May 29, 2014

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Hi. Yes the on screen keyboard certainly takes some getting used to, but do keep practising. Firstly, you can connect a bluetooth keyboard to the iPhone. When you're at home that's fine, but of course that's not feasible when you're out and about. There are probably portable bluetooth keyboards, or even iPhone case with keyboards, but I can't point you towards any, sorry. Hopefully someone else can.
I would strongly recommend a free app called Fleksy. This is an alternative keyboard which many people find much easier to type on than the standard keyboard.
Hope that helps a little bit anyway :)

Submitted by Firebird on Friday, May 30, 2014


You are right. I should practice with the iOS Keyboard. Fleksi is good, I tested it. But if you Need to write in another language than English, ist useless.

Submitted by Roxann Pollard on Friday, May 30, 2014

Since you are new to the iOS platform, and might not be aware, I would suggest that you switch your typing selection from standard to touch typing. This allows us to simply touch the character and release the finger, which, in turn, activates that character; whereas, with the default standard typing method, you have to touch and then use a single finger double tap to activate the chosen character. Here is how to switch this:

You need to be in an active text field such as when creating an E-Mail or text message. Then, twist your two fingers to focus the rotor on the typing mode element. Then all you need to do is flick up or down once to toggle between standard and touch typing.

I know for me, personally, the touch typing mode is much faster. Just remember to drag your finger to the appropriate character before lifting it from the screen or else you will activate said character that you may not want. Of course, should this occur, you can then find the delete button and delete the unwanted character.

I hope this helps to alieviate some of your keyboard frustration.

Submitted by Siobhan on Friday, May 30, 2014

Hi. practice is what you need. Just open the notes app, and type and tap away, no one will see it. But seriously The person above said to change to touch typing, they are right. I dispise standard typing, it's the first thing I change when I get a new device. Plus, we look, like others, who touch things instead of double tapping keys ot get themto be put in. That's my view, though. The other thing I want to mention is when you use your fingers, spread then like you're holding a knob fo a volume control and you want to turn it to the right. When you do that, and hear typing mode, flick up or down. Either way, it will say touch typing. Now, flip the volume as it were once more, so it stays soemthing else, like characters. You do this because if you flick your finger down you can change the setting without meaning too. Hope that helped a little. If not, I didn't have coffee yet. :)

Submitted by David Goldfield on Friday, May 30, 2014

I have to agree with the comments I've been reading. As another relatively new iOs user, I also prefer touch typing mode and I think that, once you get used to it, you'll be surprised at how quickly you can locate keys. I also agree that practicing is the best way to get more comfortable with typing on the iOs keyboard. If you think about it, the concepts we take for granted in Windows might have taken us a long time to master but we often forget what we went through during the learning process. Just keep typing and practicing. Over time, you'll begin to be more comfortable with the process.

Submitted by Firebird on Friday, May 30, 2014


Thank you a lot for your help. I also thought that practising is the best solution, because unlike in Android, you kann not Change the iOS Keyboard globally. Using Tools like MBraille or Fleksi might be a good Help at the start.
You were right. I changed the Input mode. Now i don't have to type twice. But when I stay too Long on a button, I get symbols.

Submitted by Siobhan on Friday, May 30, 2014

Hi. I've had coffee, so my apologies if I spelled stuff awful last time. ;) The tap and hold is there for things like, the degrees symbol and other things like that. I find that part of the keyboard a pain to use sometimes. If you have the keyboard set to tell you what the character says in phonetical speak, so A Alpha B Brovo, etc that will help. some don't like this, but i find that especially if you're not quite sure if samantha says a V or a B, it will make you understand. If you need anything else, just ask. Just take your time.

Submitted by Isaac Hebert (not verified) on Friday, May 30, 2014

The touch typing mode I will say is great but when you have to type long messages then a bluetoothkeyboard is another option.

Submitted by burak on Friday, May 30, 2014

Hi, you can type long texts with the on-screen keyboard, but your fingers will ache a little. At first I didn't think I could type long texts, but now I even write bug reports to apple accessibility with touch typing!

Submitted by Dave82 on Friday, May 30, 2014

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Another great tip is to use keyboard shortcuts. Go to Settings>General>Keyboard and scroll to the bottom where you'll find Shortcuts. This allows you to set up text expansion shortcuts for words and even phrases. For example, if I type "btw", this expands to the phrase "by the way" when I press the space bar. These can be a great time saver for long words and phrases that you might use regularly. I think another good way to use this feature is to use contractions from Braille if you are a Braille user and know them, so for example I use "tn" for "tonight" and "tm" for "tomorrow", as well as making up my own ones.
Shortcuts automatically sync across all of your iOS and Mac devices, and are an under-rated feature in my opinion!
Yes I should have mentioned touch typing in my original reply, it's a life saver.
Best of luck.

Submitted by Ken Downey on Friday, May 30, 2014

If you know braille, then I can't recommend MBraille highly enough. It's not just a text input app, but a full blown wordprocessor. You can edit your text, insert new text, and so on. The $30 was well worth it, and I'd still use it very often. The only thing it doesn't have that I wish it did was a spellchecker.

Submitted by Tree on Saturday, May 31, 2014

I hate the native iOS onscreen keyboard and have tried literally dozens of alternatives. I have tried keyboard cases, tactile screen protectors, and probably ten different varieties of soft where keyboards and as far as I am concerned mbraille is the best. Plus I believe it offers many different languages.

Submitted by Jesse Tregarthen on Saturday, May 31, 2014

Hello, Fleksy does offer other languages in the settings.

Submitted by Kara Louise on Saturday, May 31, 2014

Maybe when you're more familiar with typing, I would also suggest you either turn off typing feedback from the on-screen keyboard altogether, or set it to words. This will stop VoiceOver speaking each character twice when you're typing which may slow you down.
If you set it to off, VoiceOver will announce the key you've touched as usual, but the phone will just click when you let go of it so you know that the character has been entered.
When set to words, VoiceOver says the word you've justtyped when you press space.
You can find this setting in settings, general, Accessibility, voiceOver, Typing feedback.
You can have typing feedback set differently for both the on-screen and a bluetooth keyboard which is pretty handy.

Hope this helps,


Submitted by Firebird on Saturday, May 31, 2014

Hello all,

Thank you again for your help. Really great Community here.
The best practise for me is to work with the On Screen Keyboard and MBraille. Yes, I know Braille. I found the foreign languages of Fleksi. The mistake rate was too high, I had to remove every second or third word. Maybe ist just a Matter of Training. But if there are People who say that they are able to write Bug Reports on the ios Keyboard, I am sure that it will work with no extra Tools in the end.
My Settings are now, that I turned of Keyboard Feedback and Voiceover sounds.

Have a nice Weekend!

Submitted by Graham Page on Wednesday, June 25, 2014

I also like the speed dots screen protectors. They go over the iPhone and they have dots for keys on the keyboard and other useful keys. Some people find they get in the way though I find they speed me up.

Submitted by Luis Perez on Friday, February 2, 2018

There is an alternative. This option is built into VoiceOver settings. To get braille screen input, go to settings, general, accessibility, voiceover, roter then select braille screen input. No app needed