How To Use iOS 17 Keyboard: A Complete Guide

Apple’s iOS 17 update introduces several new features and improvements to the system ios 17 keyboard on iPhone and iPad. With support for new gestures, expanded dictation, and enhanced predictive text, use iOS 17 keyboard aims to make typing on your mobile device faster, easier and more efficient.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk through everything you need to know to master the iOS 17 keyboard.

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Accessing and Typing with the Onscreen Keyboard

To access the onscreen keyboard on your iPhone or iPad running iOS 17, simply open any app that requires text input such as Messages, Notes, Mail, etc. When you tap inside a text field, the keyboard will automatically appear at the bottom of the screen.

To type with the onscreen keyboard, simply tap on the letter, number or symbol keys displayed on the screen. By default, the keys produce a subtle “tapping” sound when pressed. You can adjust the keyboard feedback sounds in Settings > Sounds & Haptics.

In addition to tapping, iOS 17 supports new “swipe-typing” gestures. To swipe-type, simply drag your finger smoothly over the letters you want to input. The keyboard will enter the words as you continuously swipe over the letters. This allows you to type quickly without lifting your finger between each letter.

Using the Keyboard as a Trackpad

One of the most useful new features in iOS 17 is the ability to quickly turn the keyboard into a trackpad temporarily. Here’s how to use it:

  1. When the onscreen keyboard is visible, touch and hold down on the Space bar with one finger.
  2. After about one second, the keyboard will turn into a trackpad surface.
  3. With one finger still touching the former Space bar, you can now move the text insertion point by dragging your finger around the surface of the keyboard.
  4. To select text, continue holding down the Space bar with one finger and then tap and drag with a second finger on the keyboard surface.

This quickly turns the keyboard into a trackpad to move the cursor or select text as needed. Once finished, simply lift your fingers off and the onscreen keyboard will reappear.

Adjusting Keyboard Settings

There are a few settings you can adjust to customize the iOS keyboard to suit your preferences. Here are some of the settings to check out:

  • Key Repeat – Determines how long you need to hold down a key before it starts repeating. Faster settings can be better for typing long words or phrases.
  • Keypress Vibration – Lets you turn on haptic feedback as you type each letter. Can help avoid typos.
  • Auto-Correction – Controls how aggressively iOS tries to correct typos and spelling mistakes.
  • Auto-Capitalization – Automatically capitalizes new sentences, names, acronyms, etc. Turn off for code or passwords.
  • ** “.” Shortcut** – Double tapping the space bar enters a period followed by a space. Saves time typing sentences.

All of these settings and more can be found in Settings > General > Keyboard on your iOS 17 device.

Using Sentence Autofill

iOS 17 introduces a powerful new predictive text feature called Sentence Autofill. Here’s how it works:

As you type words in a sentence, iOS tries to predict the most likely follow-on word you’ll type next based on grammar and common phrases. The predicted word appears just above the keyboard as an autocorrect suggestion.

To insert the suggested word, simply tap on it instead of typing the full word. If the predicted word is incorrect, just keep typing normally.

This allows you to quickly insert suggested words and phrases mid-sentence by tapping. Sentence Autofill improves typing accuracy, speed and convenience.

Over time, iOS learns from your typing history to improve predictions. You can turn Sentence Autofill on or off in Settings > General > Keyboard.

Connecting an External Use iOS 17  Keyboard

You can also connect an external Bluetooth keyboard to your iPhone or iPad running iOS 17. This allows you to type using a physical keyboard for an experience similar to a laptop or desktop computer.

Here’s how to connect and use an external keyboard:

  1. Put your Bluetooth keyboard into pairing mode. Refer to the keyboard’s manual for specific instructions.
  2. Go to Settings > Bluetooth and select your keyboard when it appears in the “Other Devices” list.
  3. Your iOS device and keyboard will pair and connect automatically. You may need to enter a passcode displayed on your iOS screen.
  4. Once connected, you can simply start typing on the external keyboard and text will appear on your iOS screen. The onscreen keyboard will not appear.
  5. Use keyboard shortcuts like Command + C (copy), Command + V (paste) and Command + Z (undo) for easy text editing.
  6. To disconnect, tap the Eject icon next to your keyboard’s name in Settings > Bluetooth and tap Disconnect.

This allows you to take advantage of the speed and convenience of a physical keyboard with your iPhone or iPad when needed. The external keyboard seamlessly integrates to provide a laptop-like typing experience.

Using Dictation

Another way to input text on iOS 17 is using your voice via Dictation. To use Dictation:

  1. Tap the microphone icon on the onscreen keyboard.
  2. Speak your text clearly and naturally into the microphone.
  3. Tap Done when you’ve finished speaking to insert the transcribed text.

iOS 17 expands support for offline dictation so you can use this feature even without an internet connection. Dictation also now supports punctuation commands. You can say commas, periods, question marks etc. and iOS will automatically insert them.

Dictation is a handy way to talk instead of typing when convenient. It’s great for longer text entries. Enable Enhanced Dictation under Settings > Siri & Search for even better voice recognition performance.

Using iOS 17 Keyboard Shortcuts

Here are some handy keyboard shortcuts to try on your iOS 17 device:

  • Command + A: Select all text
  • Command + C: Copy selected text
  • Command + X: Cut selected text
  • Command + V: Paste text from clipboard
  • Command + Z: Undo last edit
  • Command + Shift + Z: Redo edit
  • Fn + Left/Right arrow: Jump between words in text
  • Fn + Up/Down arrow: Move cursor to beginning/end of paragraph
  • Fn + Command + Left/Right arrow: Jump between paragraphs

Take advantage of these and many other shortcuts to improve efficiency when editing text on your iPhone or iPad.

Customizing the Emoji Use iOS 17 Keyboard

iOS 17 makes it easier to access emojis you use frequently. To customize the Emoji keyboard:

  1. Open the Emoji keyboard and tap Edit at the bottom.
  2. Rearrange emoji icons by dragging them around the keyboard.
  3. Remove unused emoji icons by tapping the minus icon in the top right corner of the emoji icon.
  4. Add new emoji icons by tapping the plus icon at the bottom and selecting from various categories.

With this improved customization, you can organize the Emoji keyboard specifically for your frequent emoji usage. The edited layout will be available across all your iOS 17 devices automatically thanks to iCloud sync.

Troubleshooting Tips

Here are some troubleshooting tips if you encounter issues with the iOS 17 keyboard:

  • Ensure the device software is updated to the latest iOS 17 version.
  • Try force quitting and reopening any app with keyboard difficulties. Double tap Home and swipe up to close the app.
  • Toggle Settings like auto-correction, spell check and predictive text off and back on.
  • For connectivity issues with a Bluetooth keyboard, unpair then repair the keyboard in Bluetooth Settings.
  • A hardware issue may require contacting Apple Support for further troubleshooting or potential service options.
  • As a last resort, a factory reset can clear any software bugs, but will erase all data.

With some tweaking and practice, you’ll be typing faster and more efficiently using the powerful and versatile iOS 17 keyboard. Refer to this guide anytime you need a refresher on customizing and mastering the latest keyboard features.


The iOS 17 keyboard introduces helpful new features like swipe-typing, trackpad mode, enhanced dictation and customizable emoji layouts. Take time to explore all of the settings and shortcuts available to optimize the keyboard for your personal usage preferences. With the tips in this guide, you’ll be navigating text and typing on your iPhone or iPad more seamlessly than ever before.


How do I turn off the keypress sounds on the iOS keyboard?

Go to Settings > Sounds & Haptics and switch Keypress Sound to off.

Can I use third party keyboards on iOS 17?

Yes, iOS supports installing third party keyboards from the App Store like Google’s Gboard, SwiftKey and others.

How do I change the iOS keyboard layout to Dvorak or AZERTY?

Go to Settings > General > Keyboard > Keyboards and tap Add New Keyboard. You can add alternative keyboard layouts.

Can I use emoji keyboard shortcuts on iOS?

Yes, go to Settings > General > Keyboard and turn on Text Replacement. You can create text shortcuts that input emoji icons.

How do I type accented letters like é on the iOS keyboard?

Touch and hold the base letter e.g ‘e’ and slide to choose the accent variation you want. Or tap and hold a letter to open the accented character picker.

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