I'm using iPhone and MacBook. Both there are a default English-English dictionary, which is convenient.

However, I'd prefer a French-English dictionary, while I'm learning French on iPhone or Mac.

Is there a way to change the default dictionary on iPhone or Mac, to a French-English one?


The link is broken - please look at some upvoted answers below as well

Assuming you are talking about the reference dictionary for looking up the meanings of words (NOT spellchecking/autocorrection), you cannot modify that on an iOS device. But in OS X you can add other modules. This page provides some info:


  • the link is broken – netadictos Nov 23 '14 at 23:05

In order to change the priority on your Dictionary App, go do Dictionary > Preferences.

Choose the dictionaries you want to be activated — assuming you have them installed — and drag them to choose the priority, *from top (highest priority) to bottom.

Note that if you look for a word in a certain language, dictionaries that don't have that word won't appear in the search results.

Change localization on your Mac:

  1. Go to System Preferences > International > Languages.
  2. Click on "Edit list" to add/remove the dictionaries.
  3. Drag the dictionaries in the list itself to sort the priority which works from top to bottom.
  • The list you refer to is for system localizations and not "dictionaries" and will not change the English - English dictionary into an French - English one. – Tom Gewecke Apr 12 '12 at 12:58
  • @TomGewecke you're right. I'll add that. – Alenanno Apr 12 '12 at 13:02

And on your iPhone:

You can enable the French language in your Keyboard settings. Then, when tapping the globe next to your spacebar, you can switch languages. The language will shortly appear on your spacebar, and from then on, you'll be using the just selected language with a dictionary.

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  • 1
    Changing the keyboard will change the language for spellcheck/autocorrection, but will not provide you with a French-English dictionary as requested. – Tom Gewecke Apr 12 '12 at 12:59

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