May 7, 2013

Shortcuts on the iPhone and iPad

Shortcuts on the iPhone is one of those features that you may not know about but are extremely handy  when typing on small iPhone keyboard. Shortcuts, however, aren't very visible because they are tucked away in the Settings app. This little feature can change a quick "omw" to "On my way." or "ctn" to "Can't talk now, in a meeting."

From Settings, choose General, then choose Keyboard. Scroll to the bottom and you'll see Shortcuts and an option called Add New Shortcut...  If you click Add New Shortcut..., you can enter a phrase and a shortcut for it.

The shortcut field is optional, which sounds odd at first. However, it allows you to enter a phrase that you don't want autocorrect to change to something else. One time I texted my wife "Woohoo" and autocorrect changed it to "Elohim", a Hebrew word for God. In the context, it didn't quite make sense. If I had "woohoo" as a phrase, even without a shortcut, my "Woohoo" would have come across the same way I entered it.

Here are some uses for shortcuts.
  1. Replace those text message abbreviations with real words. You'll be able to type "brt" quickly, while sounding more intelligent, and won't confuse those who are new to texting shortcuts. These are useful in emails also.
  2. Enter a shortcut for your email address. You'll use it a lot when signing into web sites.
  3. Use if for frequently typed words you use in response to emails. For example, "ism" could be "I'll schedule a meeting to discuss it." and "igbwy" could be "I'll take a look at it and get back with you."
  4. Use it for less sensitive information you use in forms. For example, if you live in a city with a long name like "Birmingham", "bhm" is a useful shortcut.
Shortcuts are useful for many things. Just don't use them for anything sensitive like passwords, social security numbers, or credit card numbers. Keep those only in a secure password keeper.

Do you use shortcuts? What are some things you use them for?

1 comment:

  1. Don't know why this never occurred to me before. Keeping your email address as a shortcut is a great idea!


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