Keyboard shortcut tricks to use every day on your iPhone or Android device.

Keyboard shortcuts? How can there be keyboard shortcuts on a touchscreen device? It’s called Long Press. These tips are excerpted from the show notes to Episode 75 of What does this button do?

LongPress is like a Right-Click
LongPress means the same thing as Touch and Hold. It’s not pushing on the screen, just touch the screen then leave your finger touching the screen and see if something happens.
There are variations on longpress:

  1. If you have a Samsung Note device with an S-Pen. It can do something just by hovering, it also has a button that brings up “Air Command” on the screen, and it can write on the screen.
  2. Apple iPhones from 6S and later has something called 3D touch which does require pushing harder. The screen is pressure sensitive and pushing hard can be programmed to do something, like show you calendar. Then pushing even harder can do something else, like add an appointment.

iPad and iPhone (demo at 15:21 in the show video)

  1. Long press somewhere in text will bring up a magnifying bubble so you can easily position your cursor.
  2. Long press the 123 key and it displays the numeric keys, hold down as you drag to a number and it will be typed. When you let go the text keys come back.
  3. Copy and Paste: Long press on the text you want to copy, then drag the handles that appear to highlight the beginning and end of the desired text block. You should see the word “copy” appear above the selection. Tap Copy. Now move to where you want the text copied TO. Long press (this can be touchy, have patience) and you should see the word “Paste” appear. Tap Paste.

Android (Demo at 24:21 in the show video)

Androids have a variety of different keyboards. Go to Settings, Language and Input to see what keyboards you have on your device. When the keyboard is present, you should find a keyboard icon in your notification bar/quick settings, tap on that to select a different keyboard.

  1. If you see letter keys with a symbol on top of the letter, LongPress will get the symbol. So, longpress on the M gets a ?. LongPress on the S get a $ etc.
  2. If you see numbers above the top row of letter keys, you can long press on T to get a 5, long press on Q to get 1 etc.
  3. Long press on the period can give you punctuation choices
  4. Emojis: Longpress on the microphone (Samsung keyboard) gives you more keyboard choices including Emojis. Get back to the text keyboard by tapping on the ABC.
  5. Copy and Paste: Long press anywhere in the text you want to copy. Drag the beginning and ending markers to highlight the desired block of text. At the top of the screen you should see options for copy (the overlapping squares icon) – tap that. Next go to where you want the copied text to appear, Long press and Paste

Try it! Just long press in a variety of places and see what happens. Don’t just ask “What does this button do?” Ask “What does it do when I long press it?”

One reply

  1. Steve Johnson says:

    I consider myself pretty savy (thanks to Geeks on Tour membership for years) but I never knew about accessing symbols from long press. Thanks! See you at FMCA Perry.

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