How to turn on and use the built-in iPhone thesaurus with ease

iOS thesaurus

A built-in dictionary has long been a feature on iOS devices. In iOS 12, Apple has added something just as useful. There’s now a built-in Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus. Here’s how to use the iPhone thesaurus.

Turning on the iPhone thesaurus

Before you can begin using the built-in thesaurus on your iPhone or iPad, you’ll need to activate it. To do so:

1) Open the Settings app, click General.

2) Next, scroll down to Dictionary and select it. This location is where you can manage dictionaries on iOS, including language translators, no separate app required.

3) Finally, tap on American English: Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus.

Activate thesaurus

Once activating the thesaurus, you’ll see a checkmark next to its name.

Using the thesaurus

Like you can do when looking up words in a dictionary, the built-in iPhone thesaurus in iOS 12 is usable with apps and through mobile web. You can use the thesaurus with writing apps like Pages and Bear, for example, or with mobile Safari or Chrome.

1) To do so, you must first highlight the text.

2) Next, look at the popup and scroll until you see the choice for Lock Up. Click on it.

3) Scroll to find the listing for the thesaurus suggestion.

Using Thesaurus

In the example above, the word “dictionaries” is highlighted in the Bear writing up. Below, “guidance” has been selected on a page in mobile Safari. Notice the thesaurus listing is at the top in each example.

Using Thesaurus

Note: Depending on the app, the thesaurus listing won’t always be at the top of the screen. Sometimes, you’ll need to scroll to find it.

A great tool

Both macOS and iOS use the same excellent New Oxford American Dictionary. This fall, both operating systems will also use the outstanding Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus, making this a big deal, especially for writers and students.

Apple will likely release iOS 12 this September, alongside updated versions of macOS, tvOS, and watchOS.

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