With the debut of iOS 8, Apple’s mobile operating system now allows the installation of third-party keyboards such as offerings from Swype, SwiftKey, and Minuum. Here’s how to install the keyboards as they become available.
Once you download a keyboard from the App Store, you’ll need to go through a few steps to get it up and running on your device. (You’ll find a list of available keyboards at the end of this article.)
To activate a new keyboard:
- Tap the icon of the keyboard app you downloaded to open it.
- Exit the app, and go into the iOS Settings
- Go to “General” -> “Keyboard” -> “Keyboards” -> “Add New Keyboard”.
- You should find a list of installed Third Party Keyboards.
- Tap the name of the keyboard you want to activate, and enable any languages you want to use, if the keyboard allows it.
The custom keyboard should now be activated. Whenever you want to use a custom keyboard, tap and hold on the Globe icon on the keyboard when you’re entering text. You’ll see a list of available keyboards, tap on the keyboard you’d like to use. (Alternatively, you can tap the Globe icon to cycle through the available keyboards.)
If you decide you want to delete a keyboard, while on the Keyboard settings screen, as listed above, you can simply swipe left on the name of the keyboard to delete it.
Custom keyboards currently available for use in iOS include:
SwiftKey (Free) – A smart keyboard that learns from you, replacing your device’s built-in keyboard with one that adapts to the way you type. The app learns your writing style to give you super-accurate autocorrect and intelligent next-word prediction, reducing keystrokes and getting smarter over time. [DIRECT LINK]
Swype ($0.99) – Swype is a gesture-based keyboard that allows users to drag their finger from key-to-key to create words. Swype claims to be the most accurate keyboard on the planet. It learns the way you type so the more you use it, the smarter it gets. [DIRECT LINK]
Keymoji (Free) – Keymoji is an emoji keyboard that actually converts entered text into emojis as you type. Insert an emoji into a sentence quickly or replace text entirely with emoji symbols. [DIRECT LINK]
Fleksy ($1.99) – Using Fleksy’s next-generation predictive keyboard, you can type without even looking! A swipe of your finger, allows you to easily add punctuation, space, delete words, and much more. [DIRECT LINK]
Minuum ($1.99) – Minuum is a resizable keyboard that can be made smaller to allow more of the screen to be seen. This is a surprisingly useful keyboard, and may be my favorite one so far. [DIRECT LINK]
TextExpander ($4.99) – Tis keyboard kind of backdoors it, as it is built into an update of the existing TextExpander app. This keyboard allows typing in short abbreviations, which are then expanded into full words. [DIRECT LINK]
KuaiBoard ($1.99) – KuaiBoard is designed to allow users insert chunks of frequently typed text like signatures, greetings, boiler plate and more. Create blocks of text that can be inserted into documents or messages. You can create a contact info shortcut, or even make your current location into a maps link you can send to friends. [DIRECT LINK]
TouchPal (Free) – With TouchPal Curve® technology, you may slide from one letter to another to form a word, without lifting a finger! You can also slide up for numbers and slide down for symbols. Slide left on Backspace to delete a whole word. TouchPal also uses themes, and has hundreds of emojis included. [DIRECT LINK]
Custom keyboards in iOS 8 will bring a variety of capabilities to your iOS device. Be sure to let us know which keyboards are your favorites.