How to add a Russian keyboard to your phone or laptop

How to add a Russian keyboard to your phone or laptop
23 October 2020

This article will provide info on how to install the Cyrillic (Russian) keyboard on your device. I’ve included instructions for both iPhone and Android users (no discrimination here!) as well as for Windows and Mac. Just scroll down to find the relevant section for you. 

For iPhone users

First, go to ‘Settings’ and click on ‘General’. 

Then, click ‘Keyboard’.

Click on ‘Keyboards’ at the top. This bit allows you to add new languages.

Click ‘Add New Keyboard’…

Find Russian on the list, and select!

‘Phonetic’ just means that any Cyrillic characters which sound similar to an English character will be in the same position as the English character is on the English keyboard (e.g. ‘Н’ will be where you are used to finding ‘N’ on the English keyboard). Select either one of the two options shown, and press ‘Done’. 

To use your keyboard, just open up your keyboard as you would when you’re about to type a message and hold down the button highlighted below. Without taking your finger off the screen, scroll up to ‘Russian’ and release.

For Android users

The best way to do this is to go into a messaging app and pretend you’re about to type a message. There should be a ‘Settings’ icon (indicated by a cogwheel symbol) just above the keyboard letters. 

What I mean by a cogwheel

Click on this, and then click on ‘Language’. There should then be a list of pre-installed languages, and you simply need to click on ‘Russian’ to add it. Then, a few options will come up, so you can again choose between the ‘phonetic’ and the ‘standard’ keyboard. 

In case your phone’s keyboard doesn’t have a ‘Settings’ button, you can simply go to ‘Settings’ on your phone’s home screen, then ‘System’ or ‘System & updates’. Then follow these steps: 

  1. Select ‘Language(s) & input’. 
  2. Under ‘Keyboard & inputs’ select ‘Virtual keyboard’. 
  3. Once you’re there, select ‘Gboard’.
  4. Open Gboard’s settings. (N.B. if Gboard is not available on your phone, you need to install the Gboard app via the Google Play Store, or select whatever keyboard is listed, e.g. Swiftkey)
  5. In the settings, select ‘Languages’.
  6. Select ‘Add keyboard’.
  7. Find Russian, and select.
  8. You will then be able to choose between a few different options: just select the one which you prefer!

What about laptops? 

For Windows, go to ‘Control Panel’, ‘Clock, Language and Region’, ‘Language’ and ‘Add a Language’. For Windows 10, navigate to Windows Settings, then go to ‘Time & language’, then ‘Region & language’, and select ‘Add a language’ under ‘Languages’. Add Russian!

To switch from the default keyboard to your new Russian keyboard, go to the bottom right-hand corner of your screen, where the date and time is, and you should find a button which shows your current keyboard, ‘ENG’. Just click on this, and a list with your other added keyboards should come up. Click on ‘Russian’. Alternatively, you can hold the Windows ⊞ key and press the spacebar to switch between keyboards even more quickly. 

If you have a Mac, go to Apple menu, select ‘System Preferences’, ‘Keyboard’ and then ‘Input Sources’. Click the ‘Add’ button (+) and search ‘Russian’, and add! To switch to the Russian keyboard, go to the menu bar, click on the Input menu and select Russian as your input source. Or, you can use the Option-Control-Space bar to switch between your various keyboards.

Important note!

No matter which laptop you have, I would very strongly advise you to buy some special Russian stickers for your keyboard (unless you want to start out tupung loke tjis). This comes with the added bonus that everyone who sees your laptop will know you’re studying Russian without you having to mention it. Here’s how mine looks:

Russian keyboard

Эт вуаля 

Your Cyrillic keyboard is now awaiting you eagerly. Give it a few weeks and you will be touch-typing in Russian like a pro. By the way, if you couldn’t find the information you needed in this article, please leave a comment to let us know!

This article was brought to you by Olivia, currently studying Russian at Liden & Denz Moscow


Posted by Olivia Wright

Hi, I'm Olivia and I'm currently studying German and Russian at the University of Cambridge in the UK. I was introduced properly to Russia and its culture two years ago, when I started learning Russian from scratch, and am now a big fan!

One response to “How to add a Russian keyboard to your phone or laptop”

  1. Ian Walsh says:

    I was called up, in England, to do National Service. I chose the RAF, hoping to become a pilot. I failed physics, which was not on the curriculum of my last school. Eventually, I was posted to RAF Bodmin Joint Services School for Linquists, in Cornwall. We were taught Russian by Russian and Polish refugees. I was, then, 19 years old. I am now nearly 89 years old. Na zdorovya! Vsevo horoshovo!

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