I am working on a project in iOS and would like to enable key repeat. I have done quite a bit of looking around and have failed to come up with any option like that (which surprises me quite a bit, actually).

Is there a way to enable key repeat on an iOS device?

  • Not possible from the screen keyboard, but maybe from a wireless keyboard? I can't test it myself... – Tom Gewecke May 22 '13 at 20:39
  • How to solve this problem? I have same problem – edgar Nov 19 '17 at 2:50

The other answers here are inaccurate. The correct answer is "sort of"

@MichaelGoerz Comment is correct. There seems to be a bug in iOS where key repeat only works for certain keys instead of all keys as expected. For example backspace will repeat per your settings but "w" won't. I recommend filing a bug report with Apple at https://bugreport.apple.com in an effort to prod them to fix this. This bug is highly irritating especially when using remote desktop tools where holding down a key might be required.

I occurred to me that this may also be by design, an attempt by Apple to be "helpful" by only allowing the most commonly used repeating keys. Due to the fact that the Settings->General->Accessibility->Keyboard->Key Repeat menu makes no mention of this I am treating it as a bug.

  • iPads don't have this problem when using an "official" Apple ("folio") keyboard. It's only broken when using a Bluetooth keyboard (I have both keyboard types at the moment for test purposes). So it's probably just another scenario where Apple is intentionally crippling non-apple products in order to make their own stuff look better and drive people the "official" accessories. Though, I suppose it could just be a bug when in Bluetooth mode. Not one that they will likely fix, however... – Troy Mar 17 '19 at 12:45

Yes, iOS allows key repeat for Bluetooth keyboards, and you can even change the key repeat rate as follows (quoting LucaMarconato):

If you go in Settings->General->Accessibility->Keyboard->Key Repeat you can set the Key Repeat Interval to 0,03 seconds (the minumum allowed).

  • 1
    This doesn't seem to work for "normal" keys, only for arrow keys, space, and delete – Michael Goerz Jun 25 '16 at 19:58
  • @MichaelGoerz Is correct. There is a bug in iOS or a really terrible design choice. – imagio Nov 30 '18 at 23:46


*At least not for the software keyboard. I believe that an external (USB or BlueTooth) keyboard will repeat such keys.

  • The software keyboard interprets a long press as an attempt to choose an alternate character, i.e. holding down "a" gives you options for: ã å ā à á â ä æ. – Colin Jan 31 '16 at 19:56

Yes, sort of. I needed to repeat the * for separation of text. I was able to create a keyboard shortcut to place a line of stars by double tapping the * key. Worked for me, hope this helps.


I wanted to create a single line across the page On iPad. I went to Settings->General->Accessibility->Keyboard->Text Replacement. There you can add a keyboard shortcut for complete phrase. I created a shortcut consisting of a double tap of the underscore key to create a complete line of underscore keystrokes.

  • 2
    Isn't this the same answer as posted by Rob Lawrence a year ago? – Tom Gewecke Feb 18 '17 at 16:02
  • This is the same answer as Rob Lawrence. Downvote because I absolutely hate spammers. StackOverflow and StackExchange are about making the internet a better place. – Colin Dec 2 '18 at 6:31

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