Keyboard shortcuts not working on iOS 6? Here is a quick fix

By , Sep 24, 2012

If there is one jailbreak tweak I particularly miss since using iOS 6 on my iPhone, it’s Xpandr, a tweak that let’s you create keyboard shortcuts, just like TextExpander does on your Mac. To me, it’s an invaluable tool that has saved be hours of typing.

Keyboard shortcuts aren’t a jailbreak-only feature though, as they were introduced with iOS 5 last year. Though not as powerful as Xpandr, they’re my fallback solution when there is no jailbreak available for my device.

So one of the first thing I did when I got my iPhone 5 last Friday was setting up a bunch of shortcuts that I use on a daily basis. Everything worked fine for a day, and then, they magically stopped working. Though I was worried I’d have to restore my iPhone to fix the issue, it turns out the solution was much simpler than I thought…

Reading at the comments and emails I received about the issue, I know the problem isn’t specific to me or to a particular device. Instead, it seems to be an issue that can randomly affect any iOS 6 user on any device.

How to fix the keyboard shortcuts not working on iOS 6?

There are a few solutions that I will list in order of simplicity. Note that the one that fixed my problem is the first listed below:

  • Reboot your device
  • Create a new shortcut
  • Delete a shortcut and create it again
  • Restore your device

As you can see, those are pretty simple fixes, except maybe for the restore which can be a lengthy operation, depending on how much you have stored on your device.

Have you encountered this issue? If so, were you able to fix it with the solutions above?

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  • Paul M

    happened to me yesterday was sooo annoying but the issue went away on its own this morning without doing anything… I remember reading an article somewhere that said that with ios6 almost everything is dependent on apples servers

  • Kok Hean

    I’m more interested in this: [tube][/tube]

    • Tintin

      I think its a tag he use in wordpress to present youtube videos in articles.

      • http://www.facebook.com/beejwagner Benjamin Wagner

        hahaha..

  • Rafael Damasceno

    This is not a quick fix, but a temporary solution. All of the procedures are inconvenient, even more for people who are relying on tethered jailbreaks. The most annoying thing is that if you do them and it all seems fine, the problem will recur anytime soon.

  • Florin

    I have iphone 4 with ios 6, the same problem, I reboot
    the phone , create new shortcut, delete a shortcut, all fine for 3-4 hours, then the shortcuts won’t work anymore. Apple should fix this fast, it`s annoying.

    • http://twitter.com/tysonbreuer Tyson Breuer

      same problem

  • sensientuk

    I turned off “settings->ICloud->documents and data” then checked
    my shortcuts… some were missing some were duplicated (I assume the
    cloud and my device had the shortcut but sych had not worked correctly)
    deleted to duplicates.

    BUT the others now worked.

    Turned “settings->ICloud->documents and data” back on, created a new shortcut and this now worked also.

    Time will tell if this “fix” is only temporary – but to me it looks like an issue with the ICloud synch

    • Juliet Purll

      without having checked this, I am going with your theory about iCloud. Like you guys report, my keyboard shortcuts are disappearing randomly and then returning when I do one of the above t/s steps, then disappearing again randomly. And the previously successful t/s steps are not necessarily the ones that fix it the next time. And this is happening like once a day, which is way to much to do a reboot, enter a new shortcut work around. But my other keyboard dictionary items disappear, too. So whenever my shortcuts disappear, so does my keyboard dictionary. And the keyboard dictionary is now syncable to iCloud we are told. Thus, I agree, I bet this iCloud sync is the key to it all.

      • Juliet Purll

        update: shut off my settings/icloud/documents and data. None of my shortcuts were missing nor duplicated, but I don’t have many. Because at this point I’m not sure what I documents and data I need synced to iCloud, I’m not even going to turn it back on. Shortcuts work so far.

    • b1scu1t

      Turning off icloud documents made my shortcuts work instantly.
      I turned it on again and it stopped working again.
      Turned it off again – worked.
      Turned it back on again and it seems to be working now. Hopefully stays this way.

      • http://twitter.com/SanDiegoRELady Yalda Alawi

        this simple trick worked perfectly – thanks!

      • http://starvedfool.com/ David

        Turned off iCloud document sync and rebooted. Works perfectly now.

      • http://amien.net/ Amien

        Top comment!

        worked instantly, better and easier than the article solution :)

      • http://www.facebook.com/laiklim Laik Lim

        yes. Correct solution. It works after i turn off ciloud documents.

      • Rizwan Omar

        Working with this solution.

      • Lil’Miss Tee

        Worked perfectly … Thank you!

    • http://twitter.com/sdecaux Sylvain

      YES! Thanks for the tip

    • Catherine L Mommsen

      This worked for me.

    • Randy Baker

      This works. Thanks!

  • roy

    i had same problem with ios6 keyboard shortcuts in my iphone 3Gs. Try this one, open your shortcut, erase shortcut ( don’t erase phrase) and retype again, don’t forget to save. I hope it works properly

    • http://twitter.com/shadytbrady Tom Brady

      worked great for me, hope it lasts

    • ❁victoria❁

      That just worked for me, too! Thanks so much!

  • http://www.facebook.com/edwardpalmerofficial Edward Palmer

    Fixed it right up in seconds by rebooting. I rely heavily on shortcuts, so this was a life saver!! Thank you !

  • Thomas Dexter

    Rebooting worked for me. Let’s see how long for though.

  • Joe Balding

    I went to General, Shortcuts and opened and saved each shortcut. They now work.

  • http://www.facebook.com/shelley.lacroix Shelley Lacroix

    I had same problem on iphone4. Rebooting didnt fix. After rebooting i erased my shortcut, saved, then went back in and retyped my shortcut and it seems to be working now. Hope it lasts! I hate typing my entire email address all the time!!
    Thanks!!

  • http://twitter.com/DonnaJewelry Donna Liu

    I just made one new shortcut and they all worked after that…

  • http://www.facebook.com/jdkimes Jeff Kimes

    All the solutions listed above only work for a few hours then it goes back. The rebooting works for a little while and then for some reason just stops. WTF Apple?! Seriously how much can you suck?! Just like some of the people below same deal.

  • Gillian Manson

    Yes same problem. Iphone4. Did as above, one shortcut worked. one didn’t. not happy. APPLE FIX.

  • http://www.facebook.com/gabrielginovincent Gabriel Vincent

    Rebooting didn’t work, but adding another shortcut did. Thanks!

  • http://twitter.com/organicaudio Scott

    The steps above didn’t work. As other commenters have said turnin off Documents and Data in ICloud, deleting a shortcut, turning documents and data back on, and than making a new shortcut made them all work

  • Sadoc15@hotmail.com

    Rebooting didnt work for me but when I deleted and re added one short cut all the others worked again. Thanks

  • Earleen Smith

    Thanks! Reboot worked just great. I was baffled so your post was a great help. I would give this maximum stars, but I can’t figure that out, either. LOL

  • Solution

    1.Turned off iCloud documents sharing
    2.Deleted all my shortcuts
    3.turned iCloud documents sharing
    4.all shortcuts are back and works perfectly!!!

    • brijazz012

      When you say “Deleted all my shortcuts”… did you delete them on all of your iOS devices, or just iPhone?

    • http://twitter.com/NMCanelas Nuno Canelas

      Works fine on IOS 6.1 Iphone 3gs

  • sambec

    So glad it’s not just me…
    I didn’t realize how often I used shortcuts until a few days ago. I created a shortcut and they’re all working now. I’ve had this problem twice now and fixed it the first time by turning off/turning the phone back on. But when I tried to turn off/turn back on to fix it again, it did not fix the problem the second time. Sign. C’mon Apple.

  • Sidsel Bak

    Also iPhone 4 and encountered problems with the iOS 6 update. Rebooted and one of my 5 shortcuts was left. Deleted it and created the 5 again. All seems to work so far! Thanks!

  • Ddhinaustin

    I have done everything on the list short of restoring. No luck. It was working when I first updated the os but not now. Bummer.

  • http://twitter.com/PrimoPixels Ted Johnson

    Rebooting worked! Hope it will last until a fix from Apple

  • http://twitter.com/Antonio_JSkp J-Skype

    So yeah, just turn off Documents from iCloud and that’s it :P

  • http://joelbrewer.com Joel

    Following the suggestions i found here I solved the issue simply by going into settings> iCloud> and turning off Documents & Data… flipped back to iMessage and the shortcuts worked again… turned the Documents & Data back on and they continued to work. One would think that since this is an iCloud issue the same shortcuts should work on all devices, but they don’t seem to be shared… :( just glad to have them back on my iPhone though where typeing is a little less joyful than on the Mac.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cardeya.smith Cardeya Smith

    I was having the same problem. I looked into what keyboard I was using. Try this it worked for me.

    Settings > General > Keyboard > Keyboards > The top option (the language you choose to use mine was English ) > U.S. extended

    As soon as I did this it started working again. Hope this helps.

    • Steven

      Thx Cardeya worked for me (in short term at least)

  • rc

    Since a reboot didn’t work, I just edited an existing shortcut and saved it back to the phone. Shortcuts started working again.

  • Rob

    Thank you! Reboot worked!

  • Tyler Treece

    I deleted my iCloud account but kept everything on the phone switched to another than put it back in and all my shortcuts are gone but 2 have this happen every time I restore deletes all of them but 2 and I back it up everyday with iCloud so ik they are on there

  • http://www.facebook.com/charlie.mejia.37 Charlie Mejia

    I have an iPhone 4S and I updated it but it didn’t get the new keyboard with the smile faces or any of the other pictures. I can revive them thou, just can’t put them myself, help anybody.

    • barefootgirl123

      You can turn it on by going to Settings -> General -> Keyboard -> Keyboards -> Add New Keyboard. That will bring up a list. Choose Emoji and you’re all set.

  • Plazmic Flame

    Tried all of the proposed solutions in the article, nothing worked. The solution was adding a new shortcut and then they all started working again.

  • admirer_of_you

    I’ve been having this problem on iPhone 5 since I got it or at least shortly thereafter. I swear w each iteration of iOS the typing gets worse and worse.

    I still really enjoy my iPhone. But I can definitely see how Apple is going to start losing market share over the coming years. I don’t care to list all the ways, but it just seems to me that the product is getting marginally worse on the software side each year.

  • Gibby

    Reset the keyboard dictionary by tapping Settings > General >Reset > Reset Keyboard Dictionary.

    this works for me every time, shortcuts quits working and its an extremely quick fix

  • http://www.facebook.com/1wendyrubio Wendy McClendon

    That is do weird. I turned off iCloud Document sync and now it works. I hope it sticks.

  • disqus_aWyCZUkxwP

    I tried to delete and recreate the shortcut but it didn’t work until I reboot my phone. And now iys working fine.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sasha.sepulvedafernandes Sasha Fernandes

    I rebooted and the “On my way!” shortcut works but none of the ones I added work. Very annoying cuz I have a super long e-mail address and NEED a shortcut for it. Get on it apple!

    • http://amien.net/ Amien

      Turn off Settings->iCloud->Documents & Data. and be amazed!

  • CurlyMamaw

    IPhone 4:I’ve been fighting with iOS 6 and its quirky shortcuts flaw and am glad to say I just tested your fix and Rebooting device worked. Setting up a new short cut and setting the previously set up shortcut did not work. I’m not going to restore my device

  • http://twitter.com/ben2591 Ben

    I just turned WIFI on and off and it worked again!

  • http://www.facebook.com/digi.deborah Deborah Moore Saganich

    Rebooting did the trick!! Thanks so much!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/cjduran Carlos Javier Leger Durán

    My case was weird, I did the 2nd and 3rd fixes and apparently didn’t work. Rebooted my iPhone (iPhone 5, iOS 6.1 with JB btw) and nothing for a couple of minutes, but later it worked. I’m almost certain it was the reboot, which is a general solution to many bugs (I tried with “respring” twice before finding this post and it didn’t work, obviously)

    Hope this help and THANKS Sebastien!

  • http://twitter.com/imohitchopra MOHIT CHOPRA

    i have tried every thing even restore but it still does not work..help

  • Ash the Palestinian

    iPhone 4S:
    I can’t even see the shortcuts in settings.
    Like if I go to shortcuts setting in ” General” I write a shortcut and then when I go back I found that its not been saved. I’ve tried the reboot and resetting my device and resetting keyboard dictionary and sync from iTunes etc its frustrating , please help.

  • http://twitter.com/Nazr800 Nazreena Gaffoor

    Firstly delete all shortcuts. Then reboot and finally add your shortcuts again. Everything will be back to normal. Just tried and it works.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jeffrey.pratt1 Jeffrey Pratt

    I found the fastest way next to cycling my i5 with os6 on and off (which didnt work) was simply opening the shortcut up and deleting ONLY THE LAST CHARACTER of the short version then typing it back in. Will hopefully last! =)

  • thecooldoc

    i did it by switching off documents and data and the shorctcuts started immediately but when i switched back on the shorcuts stoopped so it is an icloud issue

  • http://twitter.com/Katka916 Kathi Farrell

    Glad I ck’d in here. I was making myself crazy trying to fix them. Apple needs to get on it. Older people w arthritic fingers need their shortcuts!!

  • Liam

    Quick fix: sometimes just closing the settings task can get it working, double tap home, hold an app then hit the red x on the settings one to close it in the background, open it up and check your shortcut :) you may have to delete it then close settings then remake it

  • http://twitter.com/jimbob1418 Jim Szymanski

    The reboot worked great. I don’t know why I didn’t try this before. With all of the problems with ios6 the reboot should be second nature by now.

  • calebgrayson

    I’ve consitantly found disabling Document sync in iCloud caused my shortcuts to work and enabling it caused them to work. oddly the shortcuts on my MBP quit working too.
    annoyed, but not bitter. :)
    (need it for my astrology tweets : ☉ ☾ ☿ ♀ ♂ ♃ ♄ ♅ ♆ ♇ ♈ ♉ ☊ ☋ ☌ ☍ △ ℞ )

  • Toni Magni

    This is so annoying! I have been dealing with it for the past year now, by typing more words, random words. Then, eventually, after 3-15 words, they magically re-appeared again. Things that did not work for me this time were:

    * The above mentioned solution of typing words (most times it works, others it doesn’t);
    * Disabling/Enabling iCloud Documents;
    * Renaming the Keyboard Shortcuts;
    * Rebooting;

  • kwgtx

    Reboot & create shortcut worked first time. Thanks a Mil!!