This documentation was made on an iPad Pro, circa 2021 using iOS 14.5.1. Earlier and later versions may be slightly different. Also, I used a dark theme, so don’t freak out if your iPad’s interface looks different. To reiterate my geneeral disclaimer, I do not provide personal tech support to anyone using this page. It is provided for general information only. I hope it works for you as it has for me and many others.
Before Activating The Hawaiian Keyboard, Ask Yourself “Do I Really Need To?”
Back when we (Hale Kuamo‘o, UH-Hilo) were working with technology companies like Apple, our efforts were to empower those who were working in a primarily Hawaiian language environment. Therefore, our tools were designed to assist those that worked in Hawaiian and were creating curriculum for Hawaiian learners. It was not designed for those that needed to occasionally add the kahakō and ‘okina to text, though obviously it could be as useful for them, with some issues.
It is possible to type the ‘okina and kahakō without activating the Hawaiian keyboard, but simply using the English (U.S.) keyboard (and probably others that I have not tried. If you do a lot of typing in Hawaiian, I suggest you visit the page Hawaiian Support In iPhone/iPad/iOS For Power Users (Those Who Need To Type In Hawaiian A Lot). Otherwise, this is what you do to generate the ‘okina and kahakō without activating the Hawaiian keyboard.:
For lower-case vowels with kahakō, simply long-hold (press and hold on the vowel for a few seconds). You will see a list pop up of the various diacritics that can be added to any vowel (and some consonants).
For the ‘okina, you first need to clock on the “numbers and characters” key on the lower left side of the keyboard (it shows “?123”). When you’ve done this, you will see the various numbers and characters you can type. Choose the one that looks like a single, open quote.
Note: This is an ‘okina. Please don’t argue with me on this. I worked with the Unicode Consortium, Apple, and Microsoft on making this possible. It is not the same Unicode value as the character generated by the Hawaiian keyboard on Mac OS, but the glyph (the character shape) is the same, and this character is found in far more fonts than U+02BB is. If you don’t know what U+02BB is or means, that is even more reason not to argue with me about it.
Once you have pressed the ‘okina, it should be inserted into your text and you will be returned to whatever application into which you are entering the text.
This is the legacy text from 2010 regarding iOS support that I cam keeping here for documentation purposes.
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.