How to Type Hidden Special Characters on iPhone and Mac
Whether it’s a physical or numeric keyboard, you’re limited to a number of character options. There are actually a lot more characters that you might want to be able to type. These can include accented letters, special characters like degree symbol, etc. You might think that if you have chosen a particular language for your keyboard, you cannot easily access those special characters. The truth is that they are just hidden. Here’s how to type special characters on your iPhone or Mac.
Access Hidden Special Characters on iPhone
You may have found this by accident and may not have realized how you did it. Hidden special characters, or extended characters, are fairly easy to access on your iPhone or iPad. Although some third-party keyboard apps make it a little easier to find them, you can also access them on the default keyboard. Here’s what you need to do.
- Open the keyboard in Messages, Notes, or another app.
- Long press a specific key.
- If there are extended characters, you will see a popup window with a list of options.
- To select one of these special characters, hold your finger down and swipe over it.
- Lift your finger when you find the extended character you want to type.
Not all keys will have extended characters and different keys will have different options. The letters will usually have the diacritical or accent marks above certain letters, such as the umlaut in German or the tilde in Spanish.
The most common ones you might want to know even if you don’t speak a foreign language include:
- For the degree sign describing the temperature, long press 0 (zero).
- Writers can type a hyphen or bullet by pressing and holding the hyphen key.
- Spanish punctuation is also available by long pressing the exclamation point or question mark.
Your Mac can also access these extended characters
On your Mac, it all comes down to your physical keyboard. Your MacBook will have a built-in keyboard, but you can also pair it with a different keyboard of any language. The same goes for your desktop Mac. These keyboards might have the special characters already included, but what if you need to access one that isn’t there?
This is a very similar process to how you access extended characters on your iPhone or iPad. Here’s how to get there.
- In the app you’re typing, long press a key.
- You will see a context menu with all the special characters available for that key. Each will have a number underneath, which will make selection easier.
- Hold down the key and press the number under the character you want to insert.
- You can also use the arrow keys to cycle through each option, then press the spacebar to select one.
Here are some of the most common extended characters you may need to use.
- Shift+Option+8 you will get the degree symbol.
- Variant + 3 will insert the British pound symbol.
- For the euro symbol, press Option+Shift+2.
- If you need the cent symbol, it’s at Variant + 4.
- You can quickly type a copyright symbol with Options + G.
- Options + R will type the restricted symbol.
- You can enter the trademark symbol using Variant + 2.
- If you want to type a tick, just press Options + V.
Quickly access the Emoji Viewer on your Mac
You may have noticed that your iPhone and iPad have a separate emoji keyboard. The Mac doesn’t make it easy to input emoji characters into web browsers or non-Apple apps, but it’s still possible. Fortunately, macOS includes a shortcut to display the emoji window.
All you have to do is press Control + Command + Spacebar, and you will see the emoji characters available for you.
As a bonus, you can still type the Apple logo on your Mac by holding down Shift + Alt + K.