How to Select & Highlight Text in iOS 8

iOS 8 is a great mobile operating system, but its text highlighting features could use some work, as they’re a bit difficult to use. Here’s how to select and highlight text in iOS 8 so that it’s easier the next time you need to copy and paste something on your iPhone or iPad.

One aspect of iOS that Apple touts again and again is how easy it is to use and iPhone or iPad. The design of the mobile operating system allows users of all kinds to quickly learn the ins and outs of their iOS device. However, one thing that many users have trouble with is selecting and highlighting text.

It’s definitely a bit tricky, and there are probably better ways for Apple to implement something like this into iOS. It’s even possible that the company could be working on improvements for selecting and highlighting text in iOS 9, but we’ll ultimately have to wait and see what Apple does with that.

In the meantime, we have to deal with the current way of doing things, and while selecting and highlighting text in iOS isn’t as intuitive as it could be, here’s how to do it properly so that your experience next time isn’t as rage-inducing.

How to Select & Highlight Text in iOS 8

First off, it’s important to know that there are two kinds of text in iOS that you can select and highlight: read-only text (like on a webpage), and text that you type yourself in a text message or a note. Both kinds of text involve very similar ways of selecting and highlighting it, but there are a couple of minor differences that you should know.

For selecting and highlighting read-only text, follow these simple steps:

  • Tap and hold down anywhere in the section of text that you want to select.
  • A magnifying glass will appear that will let you move the cursor around.
  • Select the place where you want the cursor and lift up your finger.
  • Two blue dots will appear at the beginning and end of the word that you cursored over.
  • Tap and hold on one of these blue dots and drag your finger around to highlight text. Make sure that if you select the left dot, you drag your finger to the left and up, whereas selecting the right dot, you want to drag your finger to the right and down to highlight text. Otherwise, it’ll mess up the selecting and highlighting.
  • After you have the text highlighted, you can tap on Copy to copy the text to the iOS clipboard, and then you paste it in a blank note or text message by tapping and holding down and then selecting Paste.

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For selecting and highlighting text that you’re typing out, the process is mostly the same with a couple of small changes.

  • Tap and hold down anywhere in the section of text that you want to select.
  • A magnifying glass will appear that will let you move the cursor around.
  • Select the place where you want the cursor to be and lift up your finger.
  • You’ll see a few options pop up. Tapping Select will highlight the word closest to the cursor, while tapping Select All will highlight all of the text that you typed out.

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  • Either way, two blue dots will appear at the beginning and end of the word or paragraph that you cursored over.
  • Tap and hold on one of these blue dots and drag your finger around to highlight text. Make sure that if you select the left dot, you drag your finger to the left and up, whereas selecting the right dot, you want to drag your finger to the right and down to highlight text. Otherwise, it’ll mess up the selecting and highlighting.

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  • After you have the text highlighted, you can tap on Copy to copy the text to the iOS clipboard, and then you paste it in a blank note or text message by tapping and holding down and then selecting Paste.

Once you learn how to select and highlight text in iOS properly, the process is a lot easier, but it’s still a feature that needs improvement, and hopefully Apple will make that happen in the near future.

2 Comments

  1. Larry Holmes

    07/03/2015 at 11:50 am

    Very helpful! I hope you’ll keep up the good work.m Seems like I find just what I need whenever I come here.

    Reply

  2. Marilyn

    03/01/2016 at 12:08 pm

    Your response helped me so much!!! Believe it or not, I did not know to correctly work with the blue dots. After I followed your instructions carefully, I had no problem. Thank you!!

    Reply

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