TextExpander on iOS

Has anyone been able to get TextExpander to work in their iPad Pro (10.5” in my case) and their Apple Keyboard? I am spending more time running down how to use this app on iOS than any benefit that I might receive. I love the concept and really want it to work - just can’t seem to see it.

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It works different on iOS compared to macos. It is NOT a universal solution, apps need to explicitly support it. Many good ones do, but notably, not the built-in Apple apps (Safari, Mail, Notes etc.) From an external keyboard, that is.

For “universal” usage, you can use the Textexpander on-screen keyboard. I really dislike this myself and rely on supported apps.

To add to what @airwhale wrote, you’ll find a list of apps that support TextExpander here.


Yes, to use the TE keyboard with my iPad Pro, I have to take the iPad off the keyboard stand, switch to the TE keyboard, type in my shortcut (love that “pop” sound), switch back to the normal keyboard, then put my iPad back on the stand. For short shortcuts, it’s NOT WORTH IT. I can type something like 2018-07-05 faster than this whole shenanigans. But for boilerplate text that is a few sentences long, it IS worth it. I find that TE keyboard on my phone is much better, as I don’t have the hardware keyboard to deal with.

FYI - if you use a Bluetooth keyboard that include the Eject key, this will bring up the on-screen keyboard while connected. I often use this to add an emoji. Might be faster than pulling the iPad off it’s stand.

Not sure it’ll add anything to the above, but here’s a post all about this I published last year.

This supports my decision not to bother with the text expander subscription model. There are cheaper, just as easy to use substitutes. I use aText, not available for iOS but it sure looks like I’m not missing anything. Perfect on macOS at $4.99 one off purchase.

Interestingly enough, the emoji keyboard shows up without removing the iPad from the Smart Keyboard! :man_shrugging:Wish there was a way that 3rd party keyboards (like TE) could add that capability!

The two apps I use most for notes and planning (Drafts and OmniOutliner) support it perfectly, thankfully! I’ve not much need for it outside these two apps to be honest.

I agree alsthough frustrating that I have to remember to go into Drafts’ settings and manually update TE’s snippets, if I’ve made changes on my desktop. (I assume this is a beef I have with TE, not Drafts itself).
Not a deal killer, but an extra step that detracts from the “save time” premise.
But, as said before, for my longer snippets, invaluable.

Tehnically more a beef with Apple and what they allow third party developers to do on iOS. Remember hooking into your keyboard presses has some security implications. A user selected software keyboard that you can’t use for password entry, numeric keypads, etc. is the limit and it wasn’t always like that. Maybe as the OS matures and more security measures are put in place the sandboxing will get to a point where Apple feel they can safely open up the keyboard hooks to apps like TextExpander.

To show the on-screen keyboard when Smart Keyboard is connected, simply long press the downward arrow on the right side of the on-screen shortcut bar —> access to TextExpander keyboard and all installed keyboards.


Just got back in the loop and wanted to thank everyone for your responses. The long hold on the up arrow seems to be the best “work-around.” :upside_down_face:After 35+ years using Apple products, I can’t believe we still have to resort to so many “work-arounds.”

For general use, I’ve duplicated my most common TextExpander snippets as text replacements using Apples built-in feature. I do use TextExpander snippets in apps that support them like Drafts (the combo of Drafts and TextExpander makes by far the quickest way for me to enter OmniFocus tasks on iOS). I almost never use the TextExpander keyboard.

THANK YOU. I never knew this. This will really make a difference for me. Funny how some things in iOS are completely opaque to users. I like to think of myself as a “Power User”, and had never heard that one!