The Best Chinese Keyboard for iPhone: Our Top 4 Picks in 2024
You may know how to write in Chinese, but how would you rate your Chinese typing skills?
Thanks to technology, typing is far easier than writing in Chinese. But how can you type in Chinese when your keyboard is in English—or any other language, for that matter?
Simple—get a Chinese keyboard.
There are quite a lot of digital keyboards out there for iPhones, but many of them are somewhat lackluster. Many iPhone users don’t even know that one of the best Chinese keyboards you can find for the device is already hidden away on the iPhone.
Our list of the best Mandarin keyboards for iPhones will make it easier for you to start tapping away on your device as soon as possible.
- iOS Chinese Keyboard
- Gboard – the Google Keyboard
- Voice Translation Keyboard
- Easy Mailer Chinese Keyboard
- Why Do I Need a Chinese Keyboard?
- And One More Thing...
iOS Chinese Keyboard
There are an array of digital keyboards out there for iPhones, but many iPhone users may not be aware that one of the simplest Chinese keyboards you can use is already pre-installed on the device.
This is, first and foremost, the Chinese keyboard you should utilize on your iPhone before the rest.
It’s simple, accurate, and easy to use. Plus, it’s free and does not need to be downloaded from the app store.
- Go to the “Settings” app, then select “General.”
- Scroll down and select “Keyboard,” then “Keyboards.”
- Select “Add New Keyboard.”
- Scroll down and select the “Chinese, Simplified – Pinyin” option.
- A new screen will appear. Select “Pinyin-QWERTY.”
- Tap “Done” on the upper right corner of your iPhone.
- Optional: Repeat the process and add “Chinese, Simplified – Handwriting.”
To use your keyboard:
- Go into your text messaging app.
- Start a new message.
- Find the “language globe” icon in the bottom left corner and press down on the globe—a list of different language keyboards will appear.
- Switch to the Chinese keyboard options: the pinyin keyboard is listed as 简体拼音 (jiǎn tǐ pīn yīn) and the handwriting keyboard as 简体手写 (jiǎn tǐ shǒu xiě).
- Start typing your message in Chinese characters.
Gboard – the Google Keyboard
This multi-language keyboard app is quite easy to use and packed with a host of features, with options for Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese (Hong Kong) and Traditional Chinese (Hong Kong).
In addition to fun extras like GIFs, emojis and stickers, Gboard offers the ability to type faster using “glide typing.” Just swipe from letter to letter with your fingertips.
Also, Google Search is built right into the app, creating a simplistic “search and send” option.
So if you’re stumped while texting your language partner or Chinese friend, Google’s right there without having to open your browser. Easily share your favorite restaurant, the weather forecast or anything else that comes up in conversation.
And, the best news yet—this app is free!
Voice Translation Keyboard
This is one of the most unique Chinese keyboards for iPhones on our list.
The Voice Translation Keyboard is a voice-to-text app that is surprisingly accurate in converting English into Chinese characters.
With Voice Translation Keyboard, you can use the voice recognition feature to translate spoken English words into Chinese text.
The only downside is that spoken Chinese can’t be translated into English, but if you’re an absolute beginner, this can still be very useful.
The Voice Translation Keyboard also features quick emoji access, customizable key programming, and a “swiping” feature for quickly erasing words or switching capitalization.
And, it’s fully customizable: providing unique themes and colors for your keyboard.
This is another free app, with an in-app purchase ability if you want additional features or languages, but for what you get with this keyboard, it’s worth it.
Easy Mailer Chinese Keyboard
In a lot of ways, Easy Mailer Chinese Keyboard is similar to the Chinese keyboard that is pre-installed on iOS devices, with some slight differences and perks that make this app worth purchasing.
One perk is that Chinese punctuation—such as colons, commas, and periods—is always on hand: making fluid and accurate sentences much easier to achieve.
This keyboard also features arrow keys for swift text editing.
However, the Easy Mailer Chinese Keyboard is not free. This may be a downside for those who are only interested in downloading free apps.
Why Do I Need a Chinese Keyboard?
Digital Chinese keyboards allow you to connect with other Chinese speakers via the internet. The best way to improve your Chinese language skills is to connect with a native speaker.
If you’re not consistently immersing yourself in the language with at least one other person, achieving fluency can be a challenge.
Chinese keyboards also help you match Chinese characters with their proper pronunciation.
Most Chinese keyboards use 拼音 (pīn yīn): the Chinese romanization input. This helps you become familiar with 汉字 (hàn zì): the Chinese characters. There are also handwriting keyboards to help you practice writing characters.
In addition, if you plan on taking online courses that require you to type in Chinese, you’ll need a Chinese keyboard. FluentU, for instance, has vocabulary quizzes that might ask you to type your answer in.
FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
Writing an essay or email in Chinese with a Chinese keyboard helps make the process quick and accurate.
And, there you have it! Our top four picks for Chinese keyboards: each affording different functions and benefits.
We hope you’ll find these Chinese keyboards for iPhone useful additions to your collection so you can start typing today!
And One More Thing...
If you want to continue learning Chinese with interactive and authentic Chinese content, then you'll love FluentU.
FluentU naturally eases you into learning Chinese language. Native Chinese content comes within reach, and you'll learn Chinese as it's spoken in real life.
FluentU has a wide range of contemporary videos—like dramas, TV shows, commercials and music videos.
FluentU brings these native Chinese videos within reach via interactive captions. You can tap on any word to instantly look it up. All words have carefully written definitions and examples that will help you understand how a word is used. Tap to add words you'd like to review to a vocab list.
FluentU's Learn Mode turns every video into a language learning lesson. You can always swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you're learning.
The best part is that FluentU always keeps track of your vocabulary. It customizes quizzes to focus on areas that need attention and reminds you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned. You have a 100% personalized experience.
Start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)