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Pinyin Typist

iPhone / iPad
  • Utilities
  • Productivity
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**Pīnyīn Typist lets you quickly and easily type Pīnyīn with tone marks while using Apple’s system keyboards, and it lets you benefit from their features, like QuickType, Text Replacement, etc., as well as future enhancements. Pīnyīn Typist similarly works with third-party keyboards like Fleksy, etc.**

Pīnyīn makes reading and writing Mandarin Chinese as quick and easy as it ought to be, and Pīnyīn Typist makes typing real, professional-quality Pīnyīn as quick and easy as *it* ought to be.

Pīnyīn Typist was the first iOS Pīnyīn typing app, and it’s still the best, especially for typing more than a word or two of Pīnyīn.

On the iPad, the iPhone, and the iPod touch, Pīnyīn Typist is *noticeably* the quickest, easiest, most natural, most fun, and most beautifully iOS-native way to type exactly the Pīnyīn you want, with proper tone marks.

Its *nice, big* tone mark, Ü, hyphen, and apostrophe buttons work with *just a simple tap*, using the same rhythm and technique as regular typing.

*It even puts the tone marks over the right vowels for you*, and *it also makes it easy to make corrections to tone marks without backspacing and retyping*.

Pīnyīn Typist turns typing Pīnyīn from a pain into a pleasure.

Pīnyīn Typist launches quickly, so with it on your Apple mobile device, you can quickly and easily type real Pīnyīn text to write down anything you hear or want to say in Mandarin, just about anytime the need arises or inspiration strikes. Pīnyīn Typist is thus a must-have app if you are learning or teaching Mandarin, or if sometimes you want or need to write down Mandarin expressions, but you or the one(s) you’re writing to don’t (or don’t want to have to) know all the Chinese characters involved. (THIS APP IS NOT AN ALTERNATIVE WAY TO TYPE CHINESE CHARACTERS—it supports the standard iOS ways of typing characters.)

Note that like Chinese Braille (which is based on Pīnyīn), Pīnyīn is a *full writing system* for Mandarin, not just a pronunciation aid. And since, as linguists hold, speech is primary and writing is secondary, it’s good that Pīnyīn just works and lets you focus on speech, on *communicating*.

All the text in the Pīnyīn Typing tab view can be copied with a single tap of the Copy button, and then pasted in other apps, e.g. Pages, Word, Twitter, Messages, Skype, Vesper, etc. (iOS’s standard copying and pasting methods work too.)

Pīnyīn Typist’s sharing functionality lets you share Pīnyīn, etc. text in the various ways enabled by iOS, including email, Messages, AirDrop, Twitter, Facebook, Sina Weibo, Tencent Weibo, etc.

Pīnyīn Typist’s 1,2, and 4 tone buttons can also be used to add diacritical tone marks for Cantonese Yale romanization.


Type “a” → tap the 3rd tone button = “ǎ”

Type “ai” → tap the 4th tone button = “ài”
(not “aì”!)

After “āi” or “aì”, tap the 4th tone button = “ài”

Pīnyīn Typist can convert both lowercase and uppercase vowels. All the Pīnyīn Typist toolbar buttons enter typographically correct Unicode characters, making Pīnyīn Typist suitable for typing Pīnyīn for professional uses.

Pīnyīn Typist works well with hardware keyboards.


• Pīnyīn Typist can be used in both portrait and landscape orientations.

• The size of the text in the Pīnyīn Typing tab view can be quickly and easily adjusted with a slider—all the better for seeing those little Pīnyīn tone marks.

• The text in the Pīnyīn Typing tab view (and its size) can be saved as a snippet for future use, with a title that you can choose. A snippet can be shared in the various ways enabled by iOS.

• An optional Night Theme is available.

• Different fonts can be selected for the text in the Pīnyīn Typing tab view.


Pīnyīn Typist produces Unicode plain text, which can be used to produce Markdown, HTML, CSS, etc. code. When such code is rendered in supporting environments, formatting can be seen that’s like the formatting seen in web pages.