How To: Every Hidden Special Character on Your iPhone's Keyboard That You Can Unlock Right Now

Every Hidden Special Character on Your iPhone's Keyboard That You Can Unlock Right Now

Over 115 secret characters are hiding behind your iPhone's default keyboard, and I'm not talking about what you see after tapping the "123" or "#+=" keys. These special composite characters can include accents, dots, and other diacritics, and you'll even see some strange typographical characters like the section sign, inverted marks, and per mille symbol. Here's how you find them.

The characters uncovered here are found in the English (US) keyboard on iOS 15 and iOS 16, but you'll also find most of them in older iOS versions too, as well as on iPadOS. Keyboards in other languages will have their own sets of hidden characters.

In the default English keyboard, you'll find composite characters using accents such as acute (á, ó, Ú), circumflex (Â, ê, î), grave (Ò, ù, Í), and tilde (ã, Ñ, õ); dots such as umlaut (Ö, ü), and other diacritics such as macron (ā, Ā), overring (å, Å), and slash (ø, Ø). You use these to change how the pitch of a letter sounds, emphasize syllables, indicate stress, mark a letter as long or heavy, create independent letters distinct from their diacritic-less versions, and more.

Below, I've listed all of the hidden characters you'll find on your iPhone's English (US) keyboard. All of these characters are accessible via a long-press of the corresponding key. On your computer, you might be used to using the Shift key plus a corresponding key, the Option key plus a corresponding key, or a character keycode instead. We don't have those options on the iPhone, so these actions are delegated to the long-press instead.

Option 1: Diacritics

This first group of characters, which currently includes 93 special characters, use diacritics. These are letters with added accent marks or independent letters with accent marks. In most cases, if a lowercase letter has a certain diacritic, its uppercase version will too, but not always.

Some of these will come in handy when using iMessage effect triggers, but you'll most likely use these when spelling résumé, mêlée, exposé, pâté, rosé, øre, and other words you'll sometimes see with accents in English.

a  ---------------------
à  (grave)
á  (acute)
â  (circumflex)
ä  (umlaut or diaeresis)
æ  (ash / ligature)
ã  (tilde)
å  (overring)
ā  (macron)

A  ---------------------
À  (grave)
Á  (acute)
Ä  (umlaut or diaeresis)
Æ  (ash / ligature)
à (tilde)
Å  (overring)
Ā  (macron)

c  ---------
ç  (cedilla)
ć  (acute)
č  (caron)

C  ---------
Ç  (cedilla)
Ć  (acute)
Č  (caron)

e  ---------------------
è  (grave)
é  (acute)
ê  (circumflex)
ë  (umlaut or diaeresis)
ē  (macron)
ė  (overdot)
ę  (cedilla)

E  ---------------------
È  (grave)
É  (acute)
Ê  (circumflex)
Ë  (umlaut or diaeresis)
Ē  (macron)
Ė  (overdot)
Ę  (cedilla)

i  ---------------------
ì  (grave)
į  (cedilla)
ī  (macron)
í  (acute)
ï  (umlaut or diaeresis)
î  (circumflex)

I  ---------------------
Ì  (grave)
Į  (cedilla)
Ī  (macron)
Í  (acute)
Ï  (umlaut or diaeresis)
Î  (circumflex)

l  --------
ł  (stroke)

L  --------
Ł  (stroke)

n  -------
ń  (acute)
ñ  (tilde)

N  -------
Ń  (acute)
Ñ  (tilde)

o  ---------------------
õ  (tilde)
ō  (macron)
ø  (stroke or slash)
œ  (ligature)
ó  (acute)
ò  (grave)
ö  (umlaut or diaeresis)
ô  (circumflex)

O  ---------------------
Õ  (tilde)
Ō  (macron)
Ø  (stroke or slash)
Π (ligature)
Ó  (acute)
Ò  (grave)
Ö  (umlaut or diaeresis)
Ô  (circumflex)

s  -------------------
ß  (sharp s or eszett)
ś  (acute)
š  (caron)

S  -------
Ś  (acute)
Š  (caron)

u  ---------------------
ū  (macron)
ú  (acute)
ù  (grave)
ü  (umlaut or diaeresis)
û  (circumflex)

U  ---------------------
Ū  (macron)
Ú  (acute)
Ù  (grave)
Ü  (umlaut or diaeresis)
Û  (circumflex)

y  ---------------------
ÿ  (umlaut or diaeresis)

Y  ---------------------
Ÿ  (umlaut or diaeresis)

z  ---------
ž  (caron)
ź  (acute)
ż  (overdot)

Z  ---------
Ž  (caron)
Ź  (acute)
Ż  (overdot)

Option 2: Special Characters

This second group currently has 25 special characters, which can be found behind specific keys in the "123" and "#+=" keyboard options. This is where you find different dashes like the en dash (–) and em dash (—), the degree sign (º), currency symbols, and different types of quotation marks. You'll also see the inverted punctuation marks ¿ and ¡ used to add extra emphasis in Spanish. For example, ¡feliz cumpleanos! These symbols will also come in handy when composing iMessage effect triggers.

0  ---------------------------------------------
º  masculine ordinal indicator or degree symbol)

-  ---------
–  (en dash)
—  (em dash)
•  (bullet)

/  -----------
\  (backslash)

$  ------------------------------
₽  (Russian ruble)
¥  (Japanese yen or Chinese yuan)
€  (euro)
¢  (cent)
£  (UK pound sterling)
₩  (Korean won)

&  --------------
§  (section sign)

"  ----------------------------------
«  (quotation mark in some languages)
»  (quotation mark in some languages)
„  (low quotation mark)
“  (left quotation mark)
”  (right quotation mark)

.  ----------
…  (ellipsis)

?  ------------------------
¿  (inverted question mark)

!  -------------------------
¡  (invert exclamation mark)

'  -------------------------------------------
`  (grave accent or backtick or backquote)
‘  (left single quotation mark)
’  (right single quotation mark or apostrophe)

%  ---------------------------------
‰  (per mille or parts per thousand)

=  ---------------------
≈  (approximately equal)
≠  (not equal to)

Option 3: Hidden Characters in Other Keyboards

The two sections above cover the special characters in your standard English (US) iPhone keyboard, not your entire iPhone. Apple includes quite a few secrets throughout iOS keyboards, should you know where to look. Take, for example, the Kana or Romaji keyboards, which includes emoticon buttons that house collections of fun text-based faces to send to friends when you're tired of emoji.

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Cover photo and screenshot by Jake Peterson/Gadget Hacks

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