How to customize AutoText shortcuts on iOS 5

iOS 5 developer builds have been released by Apple, and with that come sneak peeks at the upcoming iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch OS. One of the new features in iOS 5 is called Shortcuts. Shortcuts allows you to set AutoText shortcuts for common words and phrases. Follow along as we show you exactly what it is, how to add your own shortcuts, and how to use it!

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani

Please keep in mind that this post is based off of a beta version of iOS 5. Apple can (and often does) change the behavior of features before the latest OS hits consumers hands. If anything drastically changes in regards to this feature in iOS 5, we will be sure to update the post.

When Apple announced a new Notification Center with iOS 5, it also revealed that iOS 5 would come with a couple of widgets: weather and stocks. The widgets are active in the Notification Center, the same place you will find the rest of your app alerts on iOS 5.

iOS 5 has been released to developers, packed with 200 features new to the popular mobile platform. One of the features not discussed during the keynote was Shortcuts. Shortcuts allows you to make your own AutoText corrections for common phrases. We will show you how easy it is to use Shortcuts. Follow along!

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani

The first thing we will need to navigate to the Keyboard settings on your iOS device. Open up Settings, and tap on General.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani

Then find and tap on Keyboard.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani

Scroll to the bottom of the screen, there you will see a section titled Shortcuts. There should be one example already listed for you. In this example, if you were to type the letters "omw," AutoText will convert it to "On My Way!"

Tap on Add New Shortcut to add your own shortcut.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani

On the line labeled Phrase, type out the entire phrase that you want your shortcut to turn into. On the line labeled Shortcut, type in the short letter combination that you want to use to activate your phrase (Note: you can't have any spaces in the shortcut field. It has to be one consecutive line of text, special characters and numbers are allowed). Tap on save when you are done.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani

Go to any text input field, whether it's in an e-mail, text or iMessage, and try out your new shortcut. When you get to the last character of your shortcut, you should see your phrase display above. Press Space, and it will automatically fill in your full phrase. Pretty neat, huh?

iOS 5 is packed full of all kinds of neat features, we will continue to bring you some great how-to's for iOS 5 as we dive deeper into the update.

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About the author

Jason Cipriani has been covering mobile technology news for over five years. His work spans from CNET How To and software review sections to WIRED’s Gadget Lab and Fortune.com.

 

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