Built-in Text Replacements vs. TextExpander

Yesterday, I mentioned I could probably replace TextExpander with the built-in Mac and iOS text replacements, given that I generally don’t use the more advanced features of TextExpander, anyway.

So this morning, I fired up my MacBook, opened System Preferences and TextExpander side by side, and created shortcuts for my most-commonly used TextExpander snippets in the built-in system. There were a few shortcuts I had created that could fill in forms, or put the cursor in the middle of the text replacement (two features that the built-in replacements can’t do) but I thought there was a good chance I’d get over that minor inconvenience quickly.

Then, a few hours later, I took a look at my iPhone’s text replacements. Given that these are supposed to sync over iCloud, I expected to see all my new replacements right there on my phone.[1]

Not quite.

Oddly, about half of them had synced, while the other half were missing. One duplicate that I had deleted was still there. As of this writing, the missing ones are still missing. On my home iMac, none of the new shortcuts have appeared. My iPad Air 2 seems to have one or two of them. My iPad Pro has none.

Maybe Smile wasn’t crazy to make sync the tentpole feature of its new subscription service, after all.


  1. Okay, I’m lying. I fully expected the iCloud sync to be a disaster, since text replacements have never synced properly for me on any of my devices. But I thought maybe there was a minute chance Apple had addressed this in the most recent updates. Nope.  ↩