Creating Punctuation Groups in iOS 13

Last modified
Wednesday, October 9, 2019


iOS 13 adds the ability to customize punctuation even further than before. Perhaps you're tired of VoiceOver saying elepsis all the time, or you just hate when it reads punctuation you don't want it to read, but the default system groups don't help; Well, that all ends now!

What is a Punctuation Group

A punctuation group (or a list) is simply a group of punctuation, with each punctuation having different options. The group stores this punctuation and tells VoiceOver whether it should speak it or not. For example, if you want VoiceOver to ignore an asterisk sign (star), you simply set the punctuation option in the group to ignore, and VoiceOver will just skim over it.

Creating and Managing a Group

This guide is going to assume you have no custom groups yet, and that the only groups you have are the system defaults.

  1. Launch Settings from the homescreen.
  2. Select Accessibility.
  3. Select VoiceOver.
  4. Find Verbosity and select it. It's a ways down.
  5. Select Punctuation.
  6. Finally, select Add. You can also import groups from iCloud Drive if say, you had one on another device.

Now, let's create our first group! Before you can start customizing, you must select which group you'd like to base the new group on. This is so that you don't have to customize every single thing.

For this guide I'll be using All to demonstrate, but you can certainly use another one, as the same steps apply.

Once you choose a group, the group editor will appear. A Share button is also here so you can save a group to your iCloud Drive or in other cloud storage services.

When you create a group, it is automatically named "Group x", where x represents the number. You can rename it if you wish to have something more suitable.

Once you name the group, scroll down, and you'll see an Add Replacement button. If you know a punctuation announcement is wrong or you'd like it to announce something different, you can do this here, or choose from the big list to the right of this button.

An example is period. You probably want it to say full stop, or dot. You would simply input . as the punctuation, then in the Replacement text field you'd write full stop or dot.

Now, the big list of punctuation is here. First the symbol will be spoken and given in braille, then the word form will be after that.

If you'd like to change the punctuation, simply open it; let's use period as an example since it seems more clear.

When you select period, you'll be given three options.

  • Replace (default): Changes how the punctuation is spoken (default is Period but you can replace with words like Full stop, dot, etc).
  • Ignore: This will ignore the punctuation when VoiceOver is reading aloud the text, but will not stop you from viewing it with your Rotor.
  • Remove: Like ignore, but is not spoken at all, even if you do use your Rotor.

Wrapping up your Group Creation

Once you finish customizing your punctuation in the group, you can name it if you haven't already, then hit the Back button. Otherwise you can also save it in a good place so you don't have to re-create the group if your device ever needs to be factory reset.

Here's how.

  1. Find the Share button in the Group editor.
  2. The Apple Share Sheet will open, select Save to Files.
  3. Browse your folder list and find where you want to put your file. NOTE: For third-party cloud storage you may need to hit Select / Edit, then toggle the cloud folders on.

When you save your file, it'll be saved as group-name.accessibilityPunctuationGroup, which is a pretty long file extension, probably the longest I've seen. smile

Using Groups in Activities

You can also use your punctuation groups in Activities to broaden your customization.

Simply find an Activity and locate Punctuation, then find your custom group and select it.


I hope this helped you figure out how to create groups. If you have any questions, concerns, suggestions, or comments, you can comment down below or use my contact form. Regards, Tunmi


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Submitted by Becca on Wednesday, October 9, 2019

I saved the group I made on the iPad to iCloud and cannot import it to my iPhone. The replacements I made aren't showing up on the iPhone.

Submitted by J.P. on Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Have you checked if iCloud Drive is enabled on phone? If so, logging out and back in of iCloud can resolve most syncing issues.

Submitted by gailisaiah on Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Hi Tunmi, I will use this. Thanks for the guide!