Use your mobile phone in Mandarin

The best way to get immersed into Chinese when not living in China is to change your mobile phones operating language to Chinese.

It’s a bit difyand scary at the beginning but gets very natural after you get used to it.

When you’re really have to do something very difficult you can temporarily change it back. However for your normal usage you know the buttons and now every time you press one you revise some Mandarin.

Do it!

And here some vocab to get you started.

Scary indeed. Once I changed my language to 简体中文 on my phone I got instantly teleported from USA to China. I no longer have a calendar - there’s something called 日历. Google Assistant doesn’t understand my verbal commands anymore unless I speak to it in 中文。Instead of just telling me to turn right, my GPS insists I must 往右拐。

Thanks to the all-knowing Google, my choice of language automatically follows me on the web as well. Websites I open in Chrome on the desktop now greet me in Mandarin. Some websites even “helpfully” set my default location somewhere in 中国。

I think all foreign language learners should suffer like me and set their phone language accordingly.


Haha, yes, fully agree!
It is suffering - especially when you quickly need to get something done and are stressed.
It is also amazing learning though. I am studying Vietnamese at the moment and keep switching back and forth between English and Vietnamese on my phone. I progress much faster with my language when VN is the operating language.
However, my blood pressure is definitely higher when I need to quickly solve something for work and I cant find the button I need…

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Haha - I switched it maybe 1.5 year ago and was just stressed every time I looked at my work emails / notifications in case I did something drastically wrong :joy:

However, I have come a long way since then so I am gonna revise these words and try it out again! I’ll try and post here with anything that gives me trouble…

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It’s such a great step to take. I’ll admit to being cowardly for the first 2 years but never looked back after.

I haven’t had my phone in English for about 3 years now, and I’m using it for Italian now which is much easier!

Still though, for Marketing and formal lingo I still need a helping hand and when my wife isn’t in, I’m tearing my hair out!!


I just realized my phone wasnt in Vietnamese - had forgotten to switch it back after last time I struggled to do something. Just put it back. I need regular reminders!

@Max I love how all your mobile phone screenshots are always in Italian. Proper Live the Language that is.

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Also, if get I a WeChat message in Chinese I don’t understand, I can use the Translate button to translate it to… Chinese.