I have an iPhone with a Bluetooth Logitech keyboard that also works with iPads. The solution works great for me in meetings etc. because it is a lightweight solution. The problem I face (and I am really there is no solution for it) is that I need special characters all the time.

I write text in Portuguese. In a Windows keyboard (I am a new iPhone user coming from the Windows platform) I can quickly type a character like ' followed by an a and get á. Or ` with an a to get à. Is it possible to quickly type letters with accents in an external iPhone/iPad keyboard and get accents to display quickly and easily?

The only methods and recommendations I have found so far are the ones like this. Is there a quicker/better/handier solution with an external keyboard? Thank you.

4 Answers 4


You can use the same keyboard combinations as on OS X to create accented characters. Here are the commands for each:

  • +` then a
  • +e then a
  • +u then a
  • +i then a
  • +n then a

After you press the (option/alt key) combination, the accent character will show up. Then, typing the next character will replace the accent with the accented character, if possible. If the character you type cannot have that accent, the accent will stay, followed by the character.

  • Those key combinations are a pain even under OS X with a full sized keyboard. OS X has supported a US International layout, just like Windows, for a few years now (since Snow Leopard?) and before that there was a free keyboard mapping that did the same trick. It happens that the same US International layout is available under iOS for hardware keyboards, and it works well. Another answer to this question pointed to it and I'm quite happy using it now. Please, be kind and vote that answer up, so that it can help more people.
    – lpacheco
    Commented Sep 13, 2014 at 11:04

On your iOS device, open "Settings" and go to "General"->"Keyboard". If your hardware keyboard is connected to iOS, you will see an entry for "Hardware Keyboard" just under "Keyboards".

Opening that, you will see a list of the languages you use under iOS and for each one you'll be able to choose a keyboard layout. Choose "US International - PC" and you will be able to form the special characters just like you would on a Windows (or OS X) machine configured with an "US International" keyboard:

  • a + ~ = ã
  • e + ^ = ê
  • u + " = ü
  • n + ~ = ñ
  • and so on...

It is also possible to choose other keyboard layouts, if yours doesn't follow the US standard. You can find a complete list in the link below:



Choose the keyboard Portuguese (Brazil) and then the US-International-PC


I'm quite sure, since iOS 5 is a Mac OS X derivative, that the standard Mac OS X keyboard layout "dead keys" will work. These work like in windows, except that they use an option+letter combination, rather than the quote key and so forth in windows.

Here is a list that should help you for typing portuguese. You type first option-accentkey then the letter:

  • +i = ^
  • +e = ´
  • +e = `
  • +n = ˜
  • +u = ¨ (I guess this one isn't used much in portuguese anymore)
  • +c = ç

So, for example, to type õ you type +n, then o.


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