The keyboard on the iPhone and iPod touch can be a bit fiddly to type on, and although the autocorrect system is remarkably good, you can still save time by setting up custom shortcuts.
These let you type a few letters (or even just one) instead of a long, complex word or phrase. One is set up by default: omw which is short for On my way!
Simply type omw and it will be 'corrected' to On my way! You can create as many shortcuts as you like, and you can use this method as a workaround for iOS's many annoying auto-correct suggestions, such as changing were to we're or refusing to accept that your own name is an acceptable word.
To create a shortcut, tap Settings, General, Keyboard and then Add New Shortcut…
Type the word or phrase in the top box, and the shortcut in the bottom field. Tap Save to finish.
Whenever you type that shortcut in a text box, iOS will replace it with your custom word or phrase.
You'll notice that you can disable auto-correct and the spelling checker in the Keyboard menu, but most people should leave these enabled for faster, more accurate typing.
Using Siri instead of typing
Of course, if your device has Siri, you can use that to speed up your typing by using Siri's dictate function. The third-generation iPad (or newer), iPad mini and iPhone 4S (or newer) include Siri.
Tap the microphone button to the left of the space bar and start speaking. You can include punctuation too. For example, you can say, "hi chris comma are you on your way question mark" and Siri will transcribe this as:
Hi Chris, are you on your way?
Since it automatically capitalises appropriate words, you rarely need to edit the transcription.
Siri doesn't work too well when there's lots of background noise, and you're unlikely to want to use dictation when other people are around, but it's a useful tool nonetheless.
See also: Six tips for mastering Siri