In Safari on an iPhone 4, how do you select/copy text? I've tried holding down on the text but nothing happens.

For instance, https://m.facebook.com and click Photos. On the iPhone 4, I'm told that the browser doesn't support "photo uploads" and am given an email address I can send the photo to instead. I wasn't able to copy text from this page.

  • Please provide a link for a page were you can't select text at?
    – MrDaniel
    Apr 14, 2012 at 1:50
  • Example added to question.
    – Josh M.
    Apr 14, 2012 at 4:46
  • Text selection still works on some other sites right?
    – MrDaniel
    Apr 14, 2012 at 12:35

1 Answer 1


Cut, copy, and paste.

According to Apple should work as follows:

Find the text you want to edit in a note, email, web page, or other app. You can select a word by double-tapping it, and select more or less text by dragging the grab points. Then tap to cut, copy, or paste. To undo an edit, shake iPhone, then tap the Undo button.

copy paste cut apple image

However, in this particular case it appears that Facebook is creating a HTML 5 Web App/ page and is using JavaScript or similar functionality to prevent selection of text. When trying to view the page on a Mac/PC text will also not be selectable "that is not in the pictured text box" for copying.

In this example pictured below the text "Photo" nor "No file chosen text" nor even the "Update Status" text on the top of the page can't be selected even on a Mac.

The select-ability of text on a website does depends on the sites implementation details. If a site chooses to disable text selection the iPhone's browser will obey the sites request, and will not give you the ability to select text.

For the Facebook example text is really not select-able even on the Home wall page. If you really want to copy text from Facebook pages try opening the desktop version of the site on your iPhone. The same rings true for other sites that may be offering custom mobile web pages that may limit text selection.

Un selectable on the mac too

  • You're right, that text isn't selectable at all via PC either. My mistake!
    – Josh M.
    Apr 14, 2012 at 15:42

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