When Apple introduced iOS 8, one of the keystone features for the newest version of the mobile operating system was third-party keyboard support. Custom keyboards are brand new to iOS in an official capacity, but they’re certainly not new from the competition’s perspective. Android has been using custom keyboards for a very long time, and many of the heavy hitters on that platform saw the prospects of iOS too bright to pass up.
Honestly, it never should have been a surprise that developers behind keyboards like SwiftKey, Swype, and others would want to mix things up a bit and add their digital ‘boards to the iOS App Store. There are a ton of iOS users out there, a number that continues to grow, and replacing the stock keyboard with something else is intriguing. Even if a user has never tried it out on Android, seeing it as an option for iOS —finally— is a big deal.
The hard part is knowing which one to use. A lot of the options out there are free, thankfully, so giving one a trial run to find out if you like it or not isn’t that scary. Some of the paid variants out there actually include a predetermined trial period, too, so that’s nice. But not everyone wants to just trial every app out there before they find one that works. Sometimes they need a bit of help from word of mouth.
Truth be told, I’m just curious to see if third-party keyboards are still something worthwhile for iOS 8 months after its initial launch. I’m also curious to know which ones people are using. Which ones were tried, tossed aside and what was picked instead.
Not too long ago I asked about email apps, and out of the ridiculous amount of options which one you decided on, and why that one particular app stole your attention from all the others. There might not be as many third-party keyboard options out there as email apps, but quantity doesn’t necessarily equal quality.
SwiftKey. Swype. Fleksy. Minuum. Themeboard. Slate.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg, really. There are plenty of options out there, and I have no doubt that at least one of you out there is using a custom keyboard that someone else hasn’t heard of, or hasn’t tried for whatever reason. And so I want to hear which third-party ‘board you’re using and why. Let me know!