Ask Deemable Tech: How Do I Use Different Keyboards On My iPhone?

Oct 9, 2014

Miraya writes, "I just got an iPhone 6. I heard about the new keyboards in iOS 8, but I can’t figure out how to use them. How do I get them installed and what do they do?"

The Swype keyboard running on an iPad with iOS 8.
Credit Swype

 iOS 8, the operating system that comes standard with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, added the ability to install third-party keyboards. These let you type on your phone or tablet in a way that the company that made it didn't originally design. For instance, instead of tapping individual keys, some of them let you type by drawing continuous lines from one letter to another. This style of typing was originally popularized by the Swype keyboard.

Third-party keyboards have been available on Android phones for several years, but iOS 8 is the first operating system to support them on iPhones.

To install third-party keyboards on the iPhone, you’ll first need to find the one you want in the Apple App Store and download it. Then, you’ll open the Settings app, look for “Keyboards” under the “General” menu, and tap “Add New Keyboard” and select the one you just downloaded. Then, tap the name of the keyboard again, and hit the “Allow Full Access” switch. Almost every iOS keyboard app will also explain these steps when you open the app.

Once you have the keyboards installed, you can switch between them while typing by tapping the globe icon in the bottom left corner of the keyboard.

Third-party keyboards are basically like any apps on Android – you download them and they automatically install. You can switch keyboards under the main settings on the device, under the “Language and Input” menu. There will be a list of all your installed keyboards and you can swap between them there.

We have been testing out a few third-party keyboards on iOS 8 since it was released. Swipe-to-type keyboards like Swype and Swiftkey definitely make typing a lot faster, but one of our favorites is called Fleksy. This keyboard basically lets you type as sloppy as you want, and as long as you tap somewhere near where the key is the keyboard will figure out what you’re trying to type.

Try some of them out, Miraya, and remember: the best third-part keyboard is the one you feel most comfortable typing on.

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