**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.

What’s New

Version 3.8

This update mainly fixes some bugs that arose as Apple changed the foundational software layers that Pīnyīn Typist is built on.

Here is a list of changes in this update:

• The bug that was causing the Pīnyīn Typing tab view text to get scrolled to the top after any Pīnyīn typing toolbar button got tapped has been fixed.

• The slight sluggishness of Pīnyīn typing toolbar buttons on recent versions of iOS has been fixed.

• Now, the typeover behaviour of the Pīnyīn typing toolbar buttons is like that of regular keyboard buttons.

• The bug that was preventing the share sheet from appearing when Pīnyīn Typist was running on an iPad has been fixed.

• The bug that was preventing the Pīnyīn Typing tab view text from returning to its original size when Pīnyīn Typist was running on an iPhone or iPod touch, the keyboard was showing, and the device’s orientation was changed from landscape to portrait orientation has been fixed.

• The Size: slider’s minimum size has been increased. This should make the smallest text more legible, and it should make the Size: slider a bit easier to adjust.


If you like Pīnyīn Typist, please take a moment to give it a good star rating in the App Store. If you have some good things to say about Pīnyīn Typist, please leave a positive review for it there as well. Thanks in advance for helping to support further development of Pīnyīn Typist!

(Note that ratings & reviews in the App Store are version-specific. People have to do some digging to see all ratings & reviews, not just those of the current version, and many won’t do so.)

However, since we app developers have no way of replying to App Store reviews or even identifying reviewers in order to help them, please email any feedback and support questions to

Enjoy using Pīnyīn Typist!


Here are some comments about Pinyin Typist from experts and happy users:

“Congratulations for an excellent and *very* useful piece of work.”
—Marjolein Hoekstra, on Quora

“There is now an app which makes it really easy to type Pinyin on iOS devices and then email the result or copy/paste it to other apps” “Nice work!”
—Tom Gewecke of Multilingual Mac

“Pinyin Typist works even better as an app rather than an input method.”
—John Pasden of Sinosplice, ChinesePod, and AllSet Learning

“The most efficient way that I’ve seen to get proper tones marks in iOS.” “It is a lot more convenient than the alternatives that I know of (using a character-to-pinyin converter app or website, or using one of several apps that let you pick individual unicode characters).” “I think it’s essential for students and teachers of Chinese, or anyone who works with pinyin in iOS.”
—Lin Ai of 中网 Zhongweb Chinese

“If you have a need to type Pinyin on iOS, it’s the way to go.”
—Taffy of Tailingua, on

“Great app for typing pinyin on my iPad [5 stars]
This is a great app if you want to type your own pinyin words. It’s really easy to use and you can set the correct tones right at your fingertips. I would recommend this to anyone who is learning Mandarin Chinese.”
—Garycy, user

“Awesome! Zhēn hǎo! [5 stars]
So easy to work with. ... Super app! Xièxiè. ... It saves time and I can focus on content ... If you are into Chinese stuff in whatever way, this app is an absolute must have!”
—Joaozhino35, user

“Hǎo jíle [5 stars]
I am very happy with this app. Keep up the good work 10/10.”
—Alexanderr H, user

“This is a very fast way of creating Pinyin text. And the font size slider is actually a nice feature. Worth the price.”
—KomodoVan, user

“I love it!”
—Eunice, user

“What a fantastic app. Thanks so much. I love it!!!”
—SG, user

“My life saver: the Pinyin Typist app”
—Pramesti, user

Ratings and Reviews

2.7 out of 5
6 Ratings

6 Ratings

OutsideTheBox130 ,

Nicely done!

Great application for typing PinYin. A very useful tool for those learning Chinese. It would be better if, when using an external keyboard, a person could choose the diacritical mark from the keyboard's number pad instead of from the device's screen.

ChasTH ,

Excellent Tool!

I have used this app for many years. In spite of being able to read many characters I still find this to be a needed tool now and then. But especially in the beginning of studying Chinese it was invaluable.

bgietler ,

Very helpful!!

We are new to Chinese and this is an absolutely fantastic tool. Thank you so much for all the hard work and thought that went into this to make it so useful!

Developer Response ,

I’m glad you found it useful! Happy Pīnyīn typing!


Wayne Wong
1.5 MB

Requires iOS 8.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.



Age Rating


  • Family Sharing

    With Family Sharing set up, up to six family members can use this app.

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