August 25, 2020

Mastering iOS: How to make two hyphens not equal an em dash.

Sadly, iOS 13 and iPad OS’s Smart Punctuation still separates the writers from the coders. It forces those of us who use Markdown for writing to choose which we are.

Smart Punctuation is on by default. What it does is turn “inch marks” into “smart quotes” and ‘feet marks’ into ‘smart apostrophes’. Love that, for most writing. But it also turns two–hyphens into an em—dash. This makes typing horizontal rules and tables in Markdown a real pain.

There are two ways to cope. (I tried adding a Text Replacement Shortcut that would turn em dashes back into hyphens, but no dice.) So the two methods left are:

  1. To turn off Smart Punctuation: Home > Settings > General > Keyboard > Smart Punctuation > Off.
  2. Or the ugly workaround: Type dash, space, dash and then delete the space.

For the time being, I’m still keeping with #2. I guess that leaves me a writer and em—dashes any hopes of being a coder.

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