Pīnyīn Typist has been updated with support for the latest iPhones and iPads. Check it out!

**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 predictive text, text replacement, etc., as well as future enhancements. Pīnyīn Typist similarly works with third-party keyboards like Fleksy, etc.**

(THIS APP IS NOT AN ALTERNATIVE WAY TO TYPE CHINESE CHARACTERS—it supports the standard iOS ways of typing characters.)

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.

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 All button, and then pasted in other apps, e.g. Pages, Word, Mail, Twitter, Messages, Drafts, 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, etc.

Pīnyīn Typist’s 1,2, and 4 tone buttons can also be used to add 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. Hardware keyboard shortcuts are now available.


• 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 3.9

NOTE: Progressing Apple technologies required the code for saving snippets to be rewritten. Everything has been working perfectly in testing, but if you have many snippets saved in Pīnyīn Typist, you may want to back some or all of them up elsewhere before installing this update of Pīnyīn Typist.

* Support for recent iPhones and iPads and Apple software technologies has been added or improved.

* iOS 11 or above is now required.

* The bug where sometimes in the Pīnyīn Typing tab view the software keyboard covered the lower part of the text view has been addressed.

* On iOS 13 or above, hardware keyboard shortcuts are now available. (When a hardware keyboard is connected to your iPad, holding down one of the Command (⌘) keys will display a list of the available hardware keyboard shortcuts.)

* The current system font (San Francisco) is now the default font, and it is now one of the available options to be the Pīnyīn Typing tab view font.

* Command names have been revised for improved clarity and consistency.

* An optional warning alert has been added for the Delete All command.

* Other bug fixes and improvements

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!

App Privacy

The developer, TroubadourWorks, indicated that the app’s privacy practices may include handling of data as described below. For more information, see the developer’s privacy policy.

Data Not Collected

The developer does not collect any data from this app.

Privacy practices may vary, for example, based on the features you use or your age. Learn More


  • Family Sharing

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

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