How To: The 6 Best Third-Party Keyboards Available Right Now for iOS 8

The 6 Best Third-Party Keyboards Available Right Now for iOS 8

With over a million downloads in less than 24 hours, SwiftKey's third-party keyboard for iOS 8 is now the most popular application in the iOS App Store—and for good reason. So many people have been waiting to ditch their stock QuickType keyboard to use swipe gestures, themes, and have an overall better experience typing on an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch.

Now that iOS 8 is here for everyone, we're going to go through the top six keyboards that are available for download right now. To apply any of the keyboards you see below, simply install them, then navigate to Settings -> General -> Keyboards -> Keyboards (yes again) -> Add New Keyboard.

1. SwiftKey (Free)

SwiftKey Keyboard learns from your writing style in order to provide autocorrections and word predictions that are tailored specifically to you. Along with its swipe gesture feature, impressive predictive text, and cloud backup support, typing will be quicker than it's ever been before.

(1) Nickel Light. (2) Nickel Dark.

Currently there are two themes available—Nickel Light and Nickel Dark—but look for more coming soon.

2. TouchPal (Free)

We previously covered the early beta version of TouchPal, but now that iOS 8 is available to everyone, TouchPal Keyboard has been officially released. Its Curve technology allows you to slide from letter to letter without lifting a finger (swiping), as well as slide up from the top of the keyboard to access a number row and down from the bottom for symbols and punctuation.

Along with text prediction, easy emoji access, and various themes to choose from, TouchPal is another exceptional third-party iOS 8 keyboard.

3. CooolKey (Free)

While CooolKey isn't as feature-rich as the rest of these keyboards, it does offer something the others don't—a customizable background.

Just go into the CooolKey application, select an image from your device, choose a theme for the keyboard layout, and even pick what sound you want your keyboard to make.

4. Swype ($0.99)

Already immensely popular on Android (like most of the keyboards in this guide) Swype - Keyboard has finally made its way to iOS. As the self-proclaimed "most accurate keyboard on the planet", Swype learns from the way you type so that the more you use it, the more intelligent it becomes.

Packed with swipe gestures to quickly input words, symbols, punctuation, and capital letters, as well as a customizable library and several different themes, Swype is a fantastic keyboard for only a buck.

Note: I've had issues with Swype appearing when I bring it up, instead getting just a large blank grey square where the keyboard should be on the iPhone 5S. Though, my situation seems to be rare—let us know in the comments if you experience the same thing. It does work just fine on the iPhone 6.

5, Minuum ($1.99)

As the name implies, Minuum is a very minimal keyboard with two different styles—full and mini. The full keyboard is regularly sized with predictive text and swipe gestures that quickly delete words, add spaces, and include punctuation, as well as easily adjustable autocorrect—just tap on a word to save it, or hold down to forget it.

Swipe down to access the mini keyboard, where you'll get the same features as the full version, only the keyboard will dwarf down so that you can see more of the app you're in. You can see the mini one below, and while it looks complicated, it's actually surprisingly easy to use.

(1) Full keyboard. (2) Mini keyboard.

As the most expensive of the bunch, you'll need to drop down a couple of bucks to get Minuum on your iOS 8 device.

5. Fleksy ($0.99)

Much like Minuum, Fleksy takes a minimal approach when it comes to aesthetics, relying instead on simplicity and swipe gestures to get the job done. Swipe left to delete words, right to add spaces. When autocorrections are available, use the same swipe gestures to go through the list of suggested words.

Through the Fleksy app, you can change the size and color of the keyboard, as well as make it extremely minimal by getting rid of everything but the letters.

Honorable Mentions

Other keyboards that you can check out for iOS 8 include the following, all of which are free.

  • Brightkey - has themes, canned messages, and swipe gestures
  • Keymoji - translates what you type into emoji automatically
  • Kiwi - add your own background images, apply blur effects, choose from over 200 fonts, and share your themed keyboard with friends

More iOS 8 Tips...

We'll update this article as more iOS 8 keyboards are released to the wild. In the meantime, be sure to check out everything else iOS 8 offers, like the 33 coolest new features and 11 of the more hidden features in iOS 8's new Messages app. And definitely make sure to take a tour through all of the new privacy settings so that your new iPhone is set up just as you want.

Follow Gadget Hacks on Facebook and Twitter for more great tips.

1 Comment

This takes me back to the days of jailbreaking iOS (or iPhoneOS as it was known back then) 2-3 where you can customize the keyboard any color you want, although, idk if there was plugins or mods for gesture typing at that time..

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