Adding Foreign Language Keyboards to iPhone

Because the iPhone has a software keyboard (not hardware keyboard like on Blackberry), it makes entering text in a foreign language very easy; thus, the limitations of a hardware keyboard. So, if you want to email that friend in another country in their native language (with all the different characters of that foreign language) it’s easy to do. This post describes how to install another keyboard and use it.

  1. First select “Settings” from your iPhone.
  2. In the “Settings” screen, select “General”.
  3. In the next screen, scroll down and select “International”.
  4. The “International” screen appears as displayed below.

International Screen

  1. From the International screen, select “Keyboards”.
  2. The “Keyboards” screen appears, as shown below.

List of Added Keyboards

  1. From the Keyboards screen, you will see a list of keyboards that are currently added to your iPhone (that is you have access to switching to before entering text). Note: In this screen, you can remove currently added keyboards by selecting the “Edit” button at the top-right corner and then selecting next to the keyboard you wish to remove.
  2. From the Keyboards screen, select “Add New Keyboard…”.
  3. The “Add New Keyboard” screen appears as shown below.

Selecting and Adding Keyboard

  1. From the Add New Keyboard screen, select the language you desire. Scroll down if you do not see it listed. If you still don’t see it, tell Apple to add it!
  2. Once a new keyboard is selected, the Keyboards screen will appear with the new keyboard listed. At this point, just back out of the screens because you are now ready to try out your new keyboard.
  3. Open up a new Note or launch a new email or whatever you want to enter text in. In my example, I open a new Note. From this note, I tap on the screen to display the keyboard. To switch to a new keyboard, you select the little globe icon that appears to the left of the space bar. See image below.

Selecting Keyboard

  1. By holding your finger down on the globe icon (as shown in the image above) you will see a list of all the keyboards you have added to your iPhone. At this point, drag your finger up to the keyboard you want to use and lift your finger. Your keyboard will now be configured for the language you selected. For example, If I wanted to enter “slovenčina” (note the soft č), I would just hold my finger down on the “c” key and the soft č would appear for me to select (by dragging my finger to it and lifting).

That’s it. Easy! No need to learn a new keyboard configuration, unless you’re using a Chinese keyboard. I can only image what that would look like! Then this may not be so easy. But I don’t need to learn this … yet!

About Todd Paholsky

Web consultant having worked as Project Manager, Technical Lead, Business Analyst, and Developer for Fortune 500 companies and others for the past 15 years. My focus is on designing with standards in mind and following an agile development process in order to complete projects on time and under budget. Visit www.WebBodhi.com.
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