iPhone fans can finally stop hearing from their Android user friends about swipe-to-text keyboards, and start installing their own. Third-party keyboard apps for iOS 8 have leapt to the top of the App Store charts, and for good reason: they can really improve the way you type on your phone.
However, there are two caveats iPhone users should heed before installing a third-party keyboard. The first is that the keyboard developers will often maintain a cloud-based, personalized dictionary to learn new words you type often. That means they record everything they type, which may give some users qualms.
The other is Siri’s text dictation: even the best third-party keyboards for iOS require users to switch over to Apple’s default to translate voice from text. If you’re okay with that, then swipe on, iPhone user.
SwiftKey is our favorite iOS 8 keyboard and easily one of the best apps for iOS 8, SwiftKey has excellent text prediction, as well as AutoCorrect. SwiftKey Flow allows you to swipe your words instead of typing them out.
While some may feel that swiping to text is not as fast as typing a word with your thumbs, it makes one-handed writing a lot faster and easier. And once you get used to it, you may find it significantly faster than tapping each letter.
Fleksy boasts that it makes the fastest keyboard in the world on the App Store, and for good reason: the company found one user who was able to break the Guinness World Record in May. Fleksy’s strengths lie in its customizations, something iPhone users may not be used to, yet.
Fleksy can be resized based on your preference, and also offers a number of different color themes. You can also add custom emojis to your keyboards in case there’s one you use a lot. ¯_(ツ)_/¯
Swype, the first swipe-to-text keyboard, has finally arrived on iPhones everywhere (so long as they’re running iOS 8). Swype for iOS 8 costs $0.99, and so far has only a few of the more basic features, including text prediction and text swiping. We would like to see the copy/paste functions that work so well in Android make their way over to the iOS 8 version of the app.
Swype will allow you to type very fast with one hand, but it still requires you to enter a space after each word. For one dollar, it comes with five gorgeous themes, with more available (at a cost). Swype takes longer to press a button and costs a dollar, which makes SwiftKey a better option for most, at least as iOS replacement keyboards launch.
Minuum takes swiping to the next level, allowing you to shrink your keyboard to almost nothing. That makes for an interesting experience, and allows you to see more of your screen while swiping away. However, Minuum’s biggest selling point is its autocorrect feature, which is quite good.
MyScript Stack rounds out our list of the best keyboards for iOS 8 because it incorporates a neat trick – handwriting recognition. Since it lacks a Caps Lock or Shift key, MyScript Stack sometimes has trouble differentiating between upper and lower case letters. Also, most of us can type faster on a more traditional keyboard. However, for old school fans of Palm’s Graffiti writing system, MyScript Stack may bring back fond memories of styli and dial-up Internet.