Before iOS 8, those who didn’t like iPhone’s bare-bones keyboard had no alternative. Apple has expanded iPhone’s default keyboard to include hundreds of emoji, but now it also supports keyboard apps from other companies, meaning more ways to make your thumbs happy. Whether you hate your default keyboard or just want to try something new, tap into our picks for iOS keyboard apps. Then read CNET’s step-by-step guide to installing custom keyboards in iOS 8.
Swiping, not typing
If you find typing tedious, SwiftKey’s predictive texting saves you time by incorporating your common words and phrases. This most-downloaded smart keyboard also features excellent autocorrect, space insertion, bilingual typing, and — for added swiftness — swiping.
Why tap when you can swipe? With TouchPal you can swipe from letter to letter without worrying about hitting the wrong key, since this software predicts subsequent words with great accuracy . The emoji keyboard is an added benefit — it pulls up symbols in an accessible, scrollable list.
Swype is the gold standard in swiping apps. You’ll enjoy its speed, made even faster by the app’s predictive ability. You also receive a number of keyboard themes, such as Light, Dark, Earth, Sand, and Sun.
With Flesky you get a little of everything: colorful keyboard themes and emoji, predictive keyboarding, powerful gestures, multilingual typing (40 languages included), and for those with larger fingers, three different keyboard sizes and the option to delete keys to open up more typing space.
If you find yourself typing the same phrases over and over again, then you should definitely discover Phraseboard. This time-saving tool lets you save your most commonly typed phrases — such as «I’m still at work» or «Do you need anything from the market?» — under customizable categories such as Friends, Family, and Work.
Don’t feel like inserting emoji into your next message? Keymoji offers emoji auto-completion suggestions in real time, as you type in Snapchat, Facebook, WhatsApp, email, iMessage, and so on. Built on a crowdsourced dictionary, this app’s emoji collection is always expanding as users enter their favorite words and phrases.
Choosy texters choose GIF
GIF Keyboard is designed for those who believe that a picture or video is worth a thousand characters (or emoticons). Browse tons of included GIFs and videos by category, or find them online and save them directly from
Safari. Then with one long press you can incorporate them into your iMessage, WhatsApp, Twitter, Messenger, Snapchat, or email messages.
Make your messages pop. This animated GIF creator lets you insert moving images into your SMS and email messages. Use one of the thousands included in PopKey, or upload your own, then save the GIF for easy insertion in your next conversation.