Category Archives: Tips and Tricks

Tips and tricks for writing on the iPhone.

Autocorrect gets it wrong

Turning Off Auto-correction

Have you ever been happily writing away and watched in horror while your iPhone’s auto-correction feature changed the word you’d just written into something you’d never intended?

You’re not alone. Indeed, there’s a whole website devoted to the embarrassing changes made by auto-correction. Warning: many of auto-correction’s changes are not safe for work!

Damn you, Autocorrect!

If you want to end your auto-correction frustration and embarrassment, here’s how:

Tap on Settings.


Then tap on General.



Then tap on Keyboard.



Then turn auto-correction off.


iPhone Tripod and Apple Wireless Keyboard

iPhone Writing Ergonomics

iPhone Tripod and Apple Wireless KeyboardHow can you stay productive for longer and avoid repetitive strain injury while writing on your iPhone?

The answer is ergonomics: the process of designing or arranging workspaces so that they fit the people who use them (Ergonomics in Australia 2011).

Ergonomics is usually applied to full-sized computer work stations but can be just as easily applied to writing on your iPhone. When you’re sitting down to write, make sure you do the following things:

1. Sit upright in your chair. Make sure your hips are as far back as they can go and your back is against the back rest.

2. Adjust your chair until your feet are flat on the floor, and your knees are the same height as your hips.

3. Adjust or get rid of your armrests, if they’re in the way.

4. Position your keyboard close and directly in front of you. Your shoulders should be relaxed and your wrists and hands straight.

5. When you’re writing on your iPhone, it’s tempting to use a folding Bluetooth keyboard for maximum portability. But folding keyboards usually lack an ergonomic tilt, and have small, cramped keys in awkward positions. For long-term productivity and comfort, use a full-sized Bluetooth keyboard.

6. Your iPhone needs to be centred in front of you and at eye-level. If you rest it flat on the table, your neck and eyes will start to ache. Buy an inexpensive tripod stand ($5 from eBay) and you will be amazed at the difference it makes to your comfort and productivity.

7. Minimise glare by positioning your iPhone at right angles to windows. The tripod stand makes it easy to adjust your iPhone’s position.

8. Take frequent breaks. Stretch and look away from the screen every twenty to thirty minutes. Once every hour, stash your iPhone, tripod stand and keyboard in your bag and go for a five minute walk.


Ergonomics in Australia 2011, Victoria, Australia, viewed 11 February 2011,

Gorilla iPhone Stand

iPod Touch Writing

This post is a response to an email sent by a reader.

Chronically ill, she spends a lot of time on a recliner writing and surfing the web, but her 17 inch laptop is too heavy to keep on her lap.

She’s thinking about getting an iPad to write on, but she also wants to know if she’d be just as happy writing on her iPod Touch instead.

I replied:

Sorry to hear that you’re sick. Writing is such a good way to be productive when you’re too unwell to do anything else.

I think you could be just as happy with a Bluetooth Keyboard and your iPod Touch. But first, I need to check a few things with you.

How old is your iPod Touch? If it can run iOS4 you’re good to go. It means you can use all the latest word processing apps and connect to a Bluetooth keyboard too.

Do you already own a Bluetooth keyboard? (You mention “the Bluetooth keyboard” in your email, so it sounds like you’ve already got one.)

If you don’t have a Bluetooth keyboard, I recommend the Apple Wireless Keyboard. It’s cheap (only $100 or so new) and extremely comfortable and light. It works beautifully with Mac devices running iOS4 and with laptops as well. This means even if you decide not to write on your iPod Touch, the keyboard isn’t wasted. You can put your heavy laptop onto a nearby table and write on it using the feather-light Apple Wireless Keyboard on your lap.

If you want to write on your iPod Touch, I recommend starting out with a free app. The Mail app is built into the iPod Touch. Just do your writing in an email and email it to your laptop when you’re finished.

If you enjoy that, get yourself a tripod for your iPod Touch so you can write more ergonomically. This extendable tripod only costs about $6 from eBay:

iPhone Tripod Stand

Tripod stand - try searching eBay for "iPhone tripod"

It will be useful if you want to put your iPod Touch on a nearby table at eye level. You can balance it on your recliner too (I use it on my bed) but you’ll have to hold it steady each time you move.

If you want to attach your iPod Touch to your recliner, you might want to try a Gorilla-style tripod such as this one:

Gorilla iPhone Stand

Gorilla iPhone stand - try searching eBay for "Gorilla iPhone stand"

The flexible legs can wrap around the arms of your recliner and hold your iPod Touch steady.

The next step in iPod Touch writing would be purchasing the TextExpander app for autocorrection as you type. You could also buy a word processing app. There are hundreds available. I recommend My Writing Spot or Notebooks if you don’t use formatting such as italics or bolding in your writing. If you use formatting, Doc2 is an inexpensive, but fully featured app.

So there you are. I hope that answered your questions. If you have any more, please don’t hesitate to ask.



Twitter: iPhoneWriting

Apple Wireless Keyboard Close Up

iPhone Keyboard Shortcuts

Apple Wireless Keyboard Close UpThese work on a Bluetooth keyboard with an iPhone.

If you’re not using an Apple Wireless Keyboard, you’ll need to experiment to see which keys you should be using.

Most probably, Cmd or Ctrl will replace Apple/Cmd, and the Alt key will replace Alt/Option.

If you know any other iPhone keyboard shortcuts, please comment!

Please also note, if you hold down the Shift key for any of the commands below, you’ll select the text in between the current position of your cursor and the position the cursor will go.

Apple/Cmd + Right Arrow – Go to the end of the line of text

Apple/Cmd + Left Arrow – Go to the beginning of the line of text

Apple/Cmd + Up Arrow – Go to the beginning of the document

Apple/Cmd + Down Arrow – Go to the end of the document

Alt/Option + Right Arrow – Go to the next word on the right

Alt/Option + Left Arrow – Go to the next word on the left

Alt/Option + Delete – Delete the word on the left

Bluetooth Connection Screen

Connecting your iPhone to a Bluetooth Keyboard

Bluetooth Connection ScreenFree your iPhone or iPad from the limitations of the on-screen keyboard by connecting to a Bluetooth keyboard.

To connect to the Apple Wireless Keyboard:

(Note: This works for the iPad and the iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS running iOS4.)

Turn your Apple Wireless Keyboard on. It comes with the batteries already inside, so you can use it right out of the box.

Tap on Settings on your iPhone.



Tap on General.



Tap on Bluetooth.

Bluetooth in Settings

Bluetooth in Settings

Turn Bluetooth on, if it’s not on already. Keyboard Not Paired should appear. Tap on it. A dialogue box will appear telling you to enter a passkey on the keyboard.

Keyboard Not Paired

Keyboard Not Paired

Enter the passkey and press enter.

Passkey Dialogue Box

Passkey Dialogue Box

Wait until the  keyboard is connected.

Keyboard Connected

Keyboard Connected

Your iPhone is now paired with your Apple Wireless Keyboard.

To reconnect your iPhone with your Apple Wireless Keyboard:

Turn Bluetooth on, if it isn’t on already, by tapping on Settings > General > Bluetooth and then turning Bluetooth on.

Turn on your Apple Wireless Keyboard. In a few seconds, it will connect.

Connecting a Non-Apple Bluetooth Keyboard:

If you want to pair your iPhone or iPad with another brand of Bluetooth keyboard, the procedure is similar. But there are a few differences.

When you pair with the keyboard the first time, you will probably need to find and press a tiny connection button. Check the instructions that came with your keyboard to find this button. It is usually inside the battery box.

Once you have pressed the connection button, you’ll see the passkey dialogue box, as above. Enter the numbers on the keyboard and press enter.

Reconnecting an iPhone with a Non-Apple Bluetooth Keyboard:

When you want to reconnect to your non-Apple Bluetooth keyboard, you will probably find that turning the keyboard on isn’t enough to make it reconnect.

Check the instructions that came with your keyboard. You may need to press a combination of keys to force it to reconnect. For instance, to make the MP-0118+ keyboard reconnect, you have to press the CMD and Find keys together.

You may also need to force your keyboard to reconnect by going into Settings > General > Bluetooth and tapping on the keyboard’s name in the list after you’ve pressed the key combination.

If your keyboard has not connected in a few seconds, press the combination of keys and the keyboard listing again.

If the keyboard refuses to connect, change the batteries and try again.

Caps Lock On

Enabling Caps Lock on Your iPhone and iPad

To enable Caps Lock on your iPhone or iPad, tap on Settings.



Tap on General.



Tap on Keyboard.

Keyboard Settings

Keyboard Settings

Turn Enable Caps Lock on.

Enable Caps Lock in Settings

Enable Caps Lock in Settings

Now you can turn on Caps Lock, when you’re using the on-screen keyboard, by tapping twice on the Shift key. When Caps Lock is enabled, the Shift key will turn blue.

Caps Lock On

Caps Lock On

Tap the Shift key again to turn Caps Lock off. When Caps Lock is off, the Shift key will be grey.

Caps Lock Off

Caps Lock Off

It's 8:14 on the status bar

How to Jump to the Top of a Document

It's 8:14 on the status bar

So you’re writing on your iPhone, you’re at the bottom of a long document and you want to get to the top as quickly as possible. You could scroll up by swiping your finger at the screen, but a long document takes time to scroll through.

You can jump to the top of a document instantly by tapping the status bar. That’s the grey bar with the time and battery status at the very top of your screen.

This tip also works for long webpages in Safari.

There’s no official way to jump to the bottom of a document. Keep checking this blog, and I’ll let you know if Apple add that feature.