How to Change the Keyboard Language on iPhone & iPad Quickly

Aug 19, 2015 - 12 Comments

How to change the keyboard language on iOS

Whether you’re a multilingual iPhone or iPad user or just learning a foreign language, you almost certainly wish to change the language of the onscreen virtual keyboard from time to time. Switching the keyboard language in iOS is really quite simple once you have an alternate keyboard enabled, so let’s walk through the entire process.

How to Enable Alternate Language Keyboards in iOS

Before anything else, you’ll probably want to enable an alternate language keyboard if you haven’t done so yet. This allows you to type in another language using that languages keyboard without changing the language entirely in iOS.

You can add, adjust, or remove new language keyboards at any time in iOS by doing the following:

  1. Open the Settings app then go to “General” and “Keyboard”
  2. Choose “Keyboards” and select “Add New Keyboard” – tap on any alternate language keyboard to add that to the list of available keyboards in iOS which you’ll then be able to gain quick access to

We’ll assume you’ve already added at least one alternate language keyboard this way, but for the sake of trying out the keyboard switching you can even just enable and use the glyph and symbol keyboard or the Emoji keyboard.

Note that in modern versions of iOS, when you have more than one alternate keyboard language enabled, the familiar smiley face Emoji icon on the keyboard gets switched out with a Globe icon, which is actually the same with what the Emoji and language access looked like in prior versions of iOS.

How to Change the Keyboard Language on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch

Once you’ve enabled at least on other alternate language keyboard in iOS Settings, you can access and switch between keyboard languages quickly and easily by doing the following:

  1. Go anywhere in iOS where you can access the virtual keyboard on screen
  2. Switching the Keyboard Language on iPhone

  3. Tap and hold on the globe icon to reveal the keyboard language menu
  4. Select the desired language keyboard to use in iOS

  5. Select the alternate language keyboard to switch to

How to change the keyboard language on iOS

The chosen keyboard language immediately becomes active.

Note that you must tap and hold on the globe icon to reveal the alternate language keyboards. Simply tapping the smiley-face icon once typically just switches to the Emoji keys.

You can switch back or change the iOS onscreen keyboard at any time quickly by performing the same tap-and-hold trick on the globe icon at the keyboard, and you can do this anytime the keyboard is visible on the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.

Mac users have a similar way to switch the keyboard language in OS X with a quick shortcut, so if you’re a polyglot with a variety of different Apple hardware, you should be covered with whatever OS you’re using.


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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPad, iPhone, Tips & Tricks


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  1. Amy says:

    Is there a way to add the suggested words at the top of your keyboard for the desired language you want? I added Serbian to my keyboard and it completely takes away the suggestion bar :(

  2. Tapani says:

    I have iPhone 6S. Why Estonian keyboard template does not work properly. It does not show all letters.

  3. Mdeva.Evans says:

    Doesn’t work. Added French. Only options offered: English & emoji.


    • LOL says:

      Actually changing keyboards is a feature of the iOS Keyboard, it is built into iOS. It can’t not work, it doesn’t break down or fail. It’s a *feature*, are you aware of what that is?

      In other words, it works for everyone but you Mdeva, that suggests you aren’t following the instructions and the problem is with you.

  4. Mary says:

    After back up my iPhone 7+, I had lost the Persian keyboard on my phone, I couldn’t able to find the Persian alphabet on the lis. Where I can find the Persian alphabet on my phone.


  5. Willem van der Scheun says:

    I recently got an iPad next to my iPhone. On the iPhone I can see which language is currently being used because the space bar has “space” written on it (or “spatie for Dutch, “espaço” for Portuguese, etc. On the iPad no such identification is shown, despite there being ample space to do so. Is this intentionally? Is there a setting I can use, because I find it really annoying?

  6. Lourdes says:

    Please help. I was able to switch keyboards but somehow I can’t access letters of the alphabet with accents as needed in Spanish and other languages. I see them when I hold down the key with the letter I need but somehow I can’t select a vowel with the accent. When I press it it simply types the vowel without an accent. What am I doing wrong?


    • Paul says:

      on iOS keyboard, you have to press and hold on the accent letter, say it’s an “A” then you tap and hold on “A” then continue pressing and slide over to the “A” accented version you are looking for, like “Ô for example.

  7. Eva Boyum says:

    I changed the keyboard to Hungarian, but how do I get the speling right?

  8. Tamara says:

    Thank you!

  9. Hyman Urrutia says:

    The keyboard layout you added will be included in the list. To set the new layout as your default, select it from the list.

  10. Mary S. says:

    In reference to today’s email about using the Glyphboard – you stated that it only works in iOS, but if you click on the link on a Mac, you can also copy and paste from Safari to a Pages document.

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