iPhone & iPad: How to enable the new thesaurus in iOS 12

Along with other minor updates to iOS 12 like how Face ID works on the Lock screen, Apple has brought a built-in thesaurus to iPhone and iPad. Follow along for how to turn this feature on.





This is another one of those features that isn’t overly exciting, but will prove valuable in day to day use. Particularly if you’re used to using the dictionary and thesaurus on Mac, this addition to iOS 12 will be appreciated.

Note: iOS 12 is currently only available as a developer beta, however, a public beta will likely be released sometime soon.

  1. Open Settings
  2. Swipe down and tap on General
  3. Swipe down again if needed to find Dictionary
  4. Look for and tap on American English – Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus
  5. After the thesaurus is downloaded, you can use it by selecting text and choosing Look Up

It may take a few moments to download the thesaurus. Tap and hold (long press) on text to select a word, tap Look Up and find synonyms below the definition at the top.

For more help getting the most out of your Apple devices, check out our how to guide as well as the following articles:

  • iOS 12: How to toggle USB Accessories
  • iPhone: How to use enhanced battery statistics in iOS 12
  • watchOS 5: How to disable Start/End Workout reminders
  • iPhone & iPad: How to downgrade from iOS 12 beta to iOS 11
  • macOS 10.14 Mojave: How to enable dark mode
  • iOS 12: How to markup, add effects, and edit photos and videos within Messages on iPhone
  • watchOS 5: How to customize Apple Maps navigation alerts
  • iOS 12: How to use Screen Time on iPhone and iPad
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