Chances are, based on most of the people I’ve spoken to, you don’t know about one of my favorite features that iOS 8 added to the iPhone: the ability to add custom keyboards. Adding a custom keyboard to the iPhone can mean a huge change in the way you type on your phone, you know, something you do on a daily basis so it’s probably worth at least trying out. Thing is, even if you did know you could do that, there’s already a lot of them in the App Store so how do you decide which is worth your valuable time trying? Well, I decided to do a video on the best iPhone keyboards you should try right now. Without further ado, here’s the 11 best keyboards you should take a look at in the App Store.
How to Install a New Keyboard in iOS
Before we can start playing with our new keyboards, it’s probably important to know how to install them first. In order to learn how to do that (don’t worry, it’s easy), head to my video I did a while ago on how to install a custom keyboard in iOS.
The Best Keyboards for iPhone
After you’ve become familiar with that process on installing them, it’s time to let the fun begin.
I only put 6 in the video cause otherwise it’d just be a super long one, but for all the keyboards I found check out the list below.
Being one of the most popular third-party keyboards for Android, SwiftKey is just as good on iOS. With the ability to swipe across the keys to form words (iOS users, you’re seen Android users do this, now it’s your turn), and the ability to sign in to it across multiple devices to have it learn your typing habits and become better at predicting, it’s one worth a try for sure.
The former feature being something I desperately miss when switching from Android to iOS (as I do often) and the latter being able to not just predict words, but even save email signatures, addresses, and more once you type them in once or twice. Helpful, right?
Just like the battle between Nova Launcher and Apex Launcher I mentioned in this video, there’s a bit of a rivalry between Swype and Swiftkey. Both are similar in their features (the big one that draws most users is the swiping on the keyboard to “draw” words) with most users on the web saying Swiftkey is a bit faster to use (things like the swapping keyboard button is directly visible vs Swype requiring an extra tap to get to it).
Considering though, that Swype’s company, called Nuance, is also the company behind the voice system behind Siri, you can imagine that their voice typing feature might have a leg up on SwiftKey. Either way, it is a very simple keyboard for those that want to just swipe through their sentences.
Fleksy, a keyboard that claims to have set the world record for the fastest typing thanks to its auto correct system, can even learn where you usually smack your fingers down on the keyboard to be able to predict words you are trying to type even if you aren’t hitting the right letters exactly.
It also has themes you can download and gestures that allow you to do things like swipe on the keyboard to move the cursor (seriously useful and you don’t realize it until you use it)
On top of that, it has a fun little feature that lets you tap the icon at the top right to be able to send your friends gifs to spice up the conversation.
Formerly called Quickboard, Kuaiboard is a keyboard for filling out forms.
After you download it, you’ll be directed through a serious of templates to fill out with your info. Once done, accessing this keyboard then gives you quick access to snippets of text that you might need: your name, address, website, etc. All of this translates to a nice automation for those that have to repeat things a lot.
Downside to this is that it doesn’t really work for your normal conversations (unless all your friends are bots) so it’s most likely that you’ll be switching to this keyboard for those tasks that it fits, then swap back to one of the others on this list for your everyday typing needs. Still though, kinda clever.
If we’re giving awards away for the most creative keyboard, Minuum might be up there. The keyboard tries to keep everything as small and minimal as possible (hence the name). To do this, it uses heavy auto-prediction to only show you 8 or so tappable areas each with varying letters in it and as you start to type they change with the most popular next letters for the word it thinks you might be typing. It is a very odd way to type and takes a long time to get used to, but oddly enough, it does actually work.
Worth a try considering it’s free and see if it ends up being better for you than the others on the list (and if not just use it to weird out your friends).
An exclusive to the US at the moment, Microsoft is trying their luck at iOS keyboard development with the WordFlow keyboard.
This keyboard’s most unique feature is the fact it can scrunch all the keys in a semi-circle pattern to make it easier to type with one thumb. In addition to that, is can also let you swipe the keys for input and will learn from your Office 365 account if you sign in to better predict words for you.
One of the top 6 finalists at TechCrunch Disrupt, TouchPal is an interesting keyboard that brings a bunch of small features together in one keyboard. One of those features is the ability to auto suggest emoji. In a world where emoji are truly becoming more and more a part of our written communication, why not have a keyboard that can suggest ones it thinks might fit the mood?
In addition to its emoji suggestions, it also has gestures like the ability to swipe up on the keyboard for numbers, down on it for symbols and left to delete.
A keyboard all about files and images, ThingThing allows you to instantly send files or images from your Dropbox, Google Drive, or Instagram account. Quickly send an Instagram photo to a friend from inside the keyboard, or a document to a coworker, etc.
While you probably won’t use the actual keyboard they have for you, you might get a kick out of the integrations mentioned instead and keep it as one of the keyboards you can easily swap to on your phone.
PopKey’s claim to fame, is its ability to send gifs. The “keyboard” is able to grab a tons of gifs that are sorted pretty well by it’s hashtag system and easily allow you to share them quickly into your text messages. Beyond that though, you can also upload your own gifs to it (which I show you how to do in this video) and easily share those as well.
There is something so fun about sending a gif to an unsuspecting friend who just sent you an emoji.
Slash is a clever concept that allows you to search for things on the web, in iTunes, on Amazon, or even locations in Google Maps and send them to people directly from your keyboard.
Taping the slash at the bottom of the keyboard brings up it’s library of services you can search through and then tap to share. While the keyboard is basically the same as the original Apple keyboard, this added feature is sort of fun and oddly useful once you get used to it.
This last one, isn’t really a keyboard like the rest of them –in fact, it’s more of a keyboard than the rest of them. Reason is, it actually is an app that allows you to use your actual Mac keyboard to connect to your phone over Bluetooth and use it to type. For most Mac & iPhone users, iMessage works just fine for this, but that only works for your text messages, of course, this would enable the keyboard for everything on the phone.
Not quite sure how useful that is as, for me at least, there isn’t much on my phone I can’t just open on my computer to use the keyboard, but maybe you guys have a use for it?
There you go, some of the best third-party keyboards for iOS. Let me know in the comments below which ones I missed that you love to use so others can check those out as well and, if you liked this, please share it!
Thanks for reading.