FINALLY. So with the coming of iOS 8, the iPhone 6, and iPhone 6 Plus, Apple, in a slightly unexpected move, has allowed third-party developers to build alternative keyboards for iOS. I can just picture someone at Apple huddled in the corner of the office rocking back and forth because of the decision to let yet another part of iOS step out from under Apple’s control.
Even though I’m sure it was hard for Apple to loosen their grip on the keyboard in iOS, I’m sure there were a lot of app companies screaming orders at developers to drop whatever they’re doing and work on a keyboard the minute it was announced. What an opportunity! Attempt to make a killer app that could be such a fundamental part of the OS –these chances don’t come along often.
But what does this mean for us, the users? Well, options. And I’m sure there will be lots of them. From keyboards that are of a different color, to smaller or larger ones, to ones with more keys, to ones that are better at predicting, to ones with the ability to swipe across the keys to form words, it’s about explode now that the iPhone 6 / 6 Plus have been released to the public and I, for one, couldn’t be happier.
Something I missed a great deal in iOS whenever I would switch from my Android device, was the ability to use one hand and swipe across the keys to compose messages. It’s funny how you don’t even know how much you use a feature until it’s no longer there (and you find yourself swiping across the iOS keyboard with the result of a bunch of random letters spewing out) and already, thanks to SwiftKey, it’s already in the App Store and ready to use.
I went and changed it the minute I turned on the iPhone 6 I just got and figured it might be something others might be interested in trying out (especially since iOS users aren’t used to changing their keyboard and I’m sure a lot still aren’t aware they can). So whether you use SwiftKey or one of the other keyboards available in the iOS 8 App Store, here’s how to set them up.
I. Download the Keyboard
1. Open the App Store.
2. Search for iOS 8 Keyboards.
3. Choose the keyboard you want to use (right now SwiftKey is the only real one to use, but more will be coming soon, I’m sure) and install it.
II. Enable the Keyboard
1. Open Settings.
2. Tap on General.
3. Tap on Keyboard.
4. Tap on Keyboards.
5. Tap Add New Keyboard…
6. Tap on the new keyboard you see there.
7. Tap on the new keyboard when it’s added and Allow Full Access (if you trust the keyboard app developer, this gives them more abilities and for SwiftKey allows for many of their coolest features so it’s sort of a given).
III. Use the New Keyboard
1. Open up any app that uses the keyboard, like Messaging for example, and tap in the text field you want to begin typing in.
2. Tap on the world icon at the bottom left of your current keyboard that popped up and continue to tap it until you get to the new keyboard.
3. From now on, it should automatically open that keyboard whenever you type again (except for passwords, the default Apple keyboard will show then just for extra security so keyboard app developers can’t see passwords).
Hope that helped some people out. If you found an awesome keyboard while doing this, please let me know in the comments below (so others can check them out, too)!
Check out our iOS How To’s section for more iOS 8 tips and tricks!