One day, a few years ago, I got the runaround from Apple once again — my text shortcuts stopped syncing and they told me to wait for the next version of iOS. This was right after iOS 8.0 came out. Another year? No thanks. I found my own solution. I had to go through this again, after updating to iOS 10 last year. So that’s twice since the feature was added — not bad, not perfect.
My method is supposed to isolate the one device on your account, which is causing problems. I personally have four — two Macs, an iPhone, and an iPad. Here is what I did, twice now, to fix the syncing of text shortcuts.
- Turn on all of your devices.
- Go to Settings → General → Keyboard → Text Replacement on all your iOS devices.
- Go to System Preferences → Keyboard → Text on all your Macs.
- On your Mac, assuming you have all your shortcuts, select all of them and drag them to the desktop. This will create a backup file with all of them stored inside.
- Delete all the shortcuts on your Mac.
- Observe the other Macs/iOS devices to see what’s happening with your shortcuts. Theoretically, they should all disappear on every device. Realistically, this will not happen. Give it a minute or two.
- Delete every shortcut that’s left, on every device. Please check for empty shortcuts too — they will have no text but they will be on the list (swipe left on them in iOS).
- Your goal now will be to isolate the one device causing problems and to completely purge the dictionary which is being synced via iCloud.
- Add one shortcut to your Mac. See if and where it syncs. For example, if it doesn’t sync to your iPad, then you know where the problem lies.
- Delete that shortcut on another device — it should be removed everywhere apart from your iPad (in this example). In theory.
- Add a shortcut to the device which didn’t sync (repeat if more than one device failed). If it propagates to the other devices, you should be set. If not, delete it and keep on adding and deleting a shortcut on various devices until it starts syncing on every device. Remember to give it a minute after adding a shortcut — just in case. You should be able to “reset” the data that is syncing, finally purging the iCloud copy of the crap which is causing problems.
- When all devices are syncing, drag the file with your backup from your desktop back to the shortcut window — all your saved shortcuts should be added and now sync properly.
This is an issue since iOS 7 or 8. Please fix it. Also, take a “Snow Leopard” year for iOS. It needs it. Badly. macOS does too.