How to access extended characters such as the degree symbol on iPhone and Mac

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Your physical or numeric keyboards offer a limited number of character options on the surface. However, there are several ways to access accented characters, special characters, and more on your iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

The standard iOS keyboard gives you quick access to uppercase and lowercase letters, indices, punctuation, and characters. There are, of course, a slew of other characters out there. You can choose from letters with inverted change marks to an inverted question mark.

You may have accidentally discovered the hidden special characters. If not, here’s how to access it on iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

How to access extended characters on iPhone and iPad

Accessing extended characters is very simple on your iPhone or iPad.

  • Open the keyboard in Messages, Notes, or any other application.
  • Press and hold a specific key.
  • If there are extended characters, you will see a popup with a list of options
  • To select a special character, hold your finger and drag to it.
  • Raise when you want to type the extended character

Not every key has extended characters attached to it, and different keys have different unique options.

iPhone extended characters

iPhone extended characters

Letters will generally have diacritics or diacritics on top of certain letters. It can include a diacritic in German or a tilde in Spanish.

However, there are definitely some valuable options to know about.

  • If you need a degree sign to describe the temperature, simply press and hold 0 (zero).
  • Spanish punctuation can be accessed by pressing and holding the exclamation mark or question mark
  • For writers who are there, you can access an m dash or bullet point by pressing and holding the dash

How to access extended characters on macOS

Typing on a Mac is largely due to the physical keyboard. Apple mobile devices will have a built-in keyboard, but desktop devices can be paired with a keyboard of any language — including those with baked-in special characters.

However, if you find yourself needing to type a special character on your Mac, accessing it is a similar process.

Extended Character Viewer on Mac

Extended Character Viewer on Mac

  • Open a text editing program.
  • Press and hold the . key
  • You will see a popup with any special characters attached to this key
  • From here, you’ll see numbers below each extended letter. While holding down the key, press the number to type the associated letter
  • Alternatively, you can also use the arrow keys to cycle through each special character and press the space bar to select one


There is another type of “special character” on macOS: emoji. Unlike mobile devices like iPhones and iPads, your Mac doesn’t have an obvious way to type emoji characters in web browsers or non-Apple apps.

You can type emojis with this keyboard shortcut

You can type emojis with this keyboard shortcut

However, there is a shortcut to bring up the emoji window. just click Control + Command + Space Bar And you will see the emoji character displayed.

Character viewer is more useful than just providing easy access to emojis for text message editing apps.

By clicking on the double arrow on the right side of the character viewer, you can access special characters other than emoji. Options include shapes, illustrations, bullets, stars, and artistic symbols.

You can have other symbols and characters in the same list

You can have other symbols and characters in the same list

Quick access

There are also a number of standard characters that you can type quickly on macOS using the appropriate keyboard shortcut. These are commonly used or interesting.

  • Shift + Option + 8 write the degree symbol
  • Option + 3 Write the pound symbol (British currency)
  • Option + Shift + 2 write the euro symbol
  • Option + 4 write the hundred symbol
  • Option + G Write the copyright symbol
  • Option + R. Writes a restricted code
  • option + 2 write a brand
  • Option + V writes a check mark

As an added bonus, you can type the Apple logo on Macs by pressing and holding Shift + Alt + K..