Add the missing TextEdit editor to the iPhone and edit documents

TextEdit is a useful app on the Apple Mac and it can be used to create simple text text files to complex word processor documents. But where is TextEdit for iOS? Use TextEdit+ instead.

Do you use TextEdit on your Mac to create documents and text files? Pages is the obvious choice for creating documents, but you can’t beat TextEdit for creating simple documents because it is lightweight and fast. You can be writing in TextEdit while Pages is still loading. Maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but it is quick to start.

View TextEdit files on the iPhone

Sometimes TextEdit the best tool for the job, especially when those jobs are small and simple. It saves files to iCloud storage, so they can be accessed from any Mac, iPhone or iPad.

On the iPhone for example, open the Files app and navigate to the TextEdit folder. Tap a TextEdit document and it opens. However, it is displayed on the iPhone in read-only mode and the document cannot be edited. This means that you cannot work on TextEdit documents away from your Apple Mac.

The only option available is to import it into the Notes app as a note, which is far from ideal. Notes are synced to the Mac, but then you would have to open Notes on the Mac, find the note, copy it, open TextEdit, open the document, then paste in the Note. That is so awkward you won’t want to do it.

Use TextEdit+ for TextEdit documents

TextEdit+ is an alternative to the missing TextEdit for iOS and it is available in the app store for $0.99, which is almost nothing (I’m sure it was free when I installed it a week ago).

The app is a text editor with some useful features. It is not quite powerful enough to be called a word processor, but it is adequate for simple tasks and it supports basic formatting like bold, italic, underline, super and subscript, and strikethrough.

Editing a TextEdit document in TextEdit+ on the iPhone

There does not appear to be any font selection or even font size, but if you just want to get your ideas into a text document on the go using your iPhone, it is fine.

TextEdit’s editing screen has a mini toolbar and the default is for navigating the text. You can point and tap with a finger to move the cursor, but it is not always easy to precisely position it with a big fat finger, so the navigation buttons help.

There are two more toolbars and the next one shows the formatting commands, bold, italic and so on. The third one shows punctuation marks, which helps with the typing by saving you having to switch keyboards.

TextEdit+ on the iPhone editing a document

Documents can be created in a variety of formats and it is possible to create documents containing images. Just copy them from the Web or Photos app and paste them in the usual way – long press for the standard iOS editing toolbar.

File handling in TextEdit+

TextEdit+ can handle files in three different places and documents can be on the iPhone, in the Files app or on iCloud. Files on iCloud are stored in the apps own TextEdit+ folder.

TextEdit+ on the iPhone document and text editor

Tap the second button from the right in the toolbar at the top and you can browse the folders and files in your iCloud online storage. It is then possible to open the TextEdit folder and open TextEdit documents for viewing or editing.

TextEdit can create plain text files, simple .rtf word processor documents and complex .rtfd documents with images and tables and so on. TexEdit+ will load the first to for editing, but it cannot edit .rtfd documents.

TextEdit+ on the iPhone document and text editor

It can create documents containing images, but it cannot edit those created by TextEdit on the Mac. Despite this limitation, it is still a very useful editor for .txt and .rtf documents.

The app can be used for LaTeX and Markdown documents, HTML and other coding files, which are plain text after all.

Extra tools

Tap the wrench icon at the top and a collection of tools is available. Show Statistics shows the number of lines, words, characters, reading time, average words per sentence, readability index and reading ease, and more.

There is a Find & Replace function, the text can be read aloud, plain text can be copied, there are sepia and night modes, word counter and spelling.

TextEdit+ on the iPhone extra tools

An actions button at the top enables the document to be emails, sent to an app, and more.


TextEdit+ (search for it in the App Store on the iPhone), is a useful app for editing TextEdit files created on the Mac and stored in iCloud. It is not perfect and it does not edit .rtfd documents, but it is otherwise pretty good.

You can write on the iPhone and capture your thoughts, work on documents started on the Mac and more. Keep a copy on your iPhone.

About Roland Waddilove 404 Articles
Roland Waddilove is interested in technology: Computers, phones, gadgets, software and internet. Long ago he worked on computer magazines, but is now mostly a tech writer for the web.