Tuesday, November 29, 2011

How to write in Chinese on your iPad/iPhone

This post will teach you how to input Chinese on you iPad/iPhone.

You have several keyboard choices.  To allow this function on your iPad/iPhone you need to do the following:
Go to you iPad/iPhone's "Settings."

Make sure you are in the "General" tab.

Next, click on "International Keyboards."

Then choose "Add New Keyboard."

Scroll down until you see the keyboard you want to have available on your iPad/iPhone.
You could select/add all of them.
The Chinese keyboards I have found most helpful are discussed below.*

Chinese-Traditional Handwriting- This program allows you to HAND-WRITE CHINESE CHARACTERS on your iPad/iPhone. I immediately fell in love with this program, because it allows my children to practice their knowledge of Chinese characters in a practical way. The program allows the use of a finger to "write" the characters on the screen, thus reinforcing character memorization.

Chinese- Simplified Handwriting- Same as above with the exception that it uses simplified characters instead of traditional. 

Chinese-Traditional Pinyin- This keyboard allows Chinese character input via Mainland China's pinyin system. If you use this keyboard, after installation you should check its settings (General, Keyboard, International Keyboard, Chinese- Traditional Pinyin).  Take note about whether the "fuzzy pinyin" option is on. Fuzzy pinyin typically allows some errors when pulling up possible characters. You may want this option off if you are using this program to teach your child.

Chinese- Simplified Pinyin- Same as above with the exception that it uses simplified characters instead of traditional.  Just as above, check to see if the "fuzzy pinyin" option is on.

Chinese-Traditional Zhuyin- This one allows you to input the Zhuyin Fuhao (AKA Bo, Po, Mo, Fo) and then pulls up possible character matches. This is nice for children learning this system of sounding out the characters.

*Each keyboards option is a wonderful teaching opportunity waiting to be used.  For example, my four-year old can "write" the Chinese character for "water" in the Google search page and see what images are brought up. However, parents should try this out with each character before setting their children to this task in order to be sure that the pictures Google returns are age appropriate! (You can adjust Google's search engine filter by taking the following steps: Go to "Google.com," Click on the gear/setting icon in the upper-right corner (you may need to sign in first), Select "Search Settings," Slide the Lock SafeSearch bar to its highest setting- "Strict.")


  1. Cn my wife write Chinese directly on my iPad screen?

  2. Can you clarify? Are you looking for a way to use your finger to trace/write the characters?

  3. Hi, I have seen a way of typing notes in pinyin with the matching characters underneath but cannot find how to do this. I have downloaded many apps but they all provide the pinyin translation. I would like to have both so that when I am reading notes I get the correct tones.....but also see the characters, any ideas where I might get this type of app from please. It seems many Chinese use it.

    1. Hi LozziG,
      Check out this blog post. If it still doesn't answer your question, please, let me know. http://panda-mom.blogspot.com/2012/01/chinese-characters-and-writing-on-your.html