In June of 2009, Apple added Hawaiian support in its operating system for iPhone 3.0. Rather than adding a new Hawaiian keyboard and requiring users to switch, the standard US Keyboard now allows you to insert the vowel-kahakī characters and ‘okina. Here’s how you do it:
- When you want to type an ‘okina-vowel, touch and hold down your finger over the vowel for a second or two, and it will pop-up a list of available diacritic characters (see the graphic at right to see how this list looks when I held down over the letter “a” on the keyboard). Whether the vowel-macron is to the right or the left depends on which vowel you are trying to type.
- For the ‘okina, press the “123” button to get to the keyboard with numbers and other characters. Hold down your finger on the apostrophe, and it will pop-up a list of curly quotes. Select the one that looks like a small number “6”.
After an update to iOS in 2010, the ū and Ū characters vanished from the keyboard, but they were later returned. So now, you should be able to type in Hawaiian on all Apple devices that use iOS – the iPhone, iPad and iPod (at the moment). Websites and emails sent in Hawaiian should also view properly, since the default font on these devices has the ‘okina and kahakō characters.