Apple announced iOS 8 way back in June, one of biggest announced additions to the iPhone software was the ability to install custom keyboards. This enabled developers to extend the keyboard area of the iPhone to far beyond just letters. On September 17th, Apple released iOS 8 —and custom keyboards— to the world. DailyAppShow has spent some time delving into some of the earliest of these custom keyboards, and below are what we think to be the best 5 of the bunch.
By far the most popular keyboard currently available for both iOS 8 and Android, SwiftKey shot to the top of the charts soon after its release. SwiftKey has three major features: Flow mode, predictive type, and SwiftKey cloud. SwiftKey Flow is the flagship feature where you can simply swipe between keys without lifting your finger. This makes for some very quick one-handed typing after a small learning curve. Predictive type, like the built-int iOS 8 keyboard, offers suggestions for your next word based on what you’re writing. This can be pretty accurate, and will become even more accurate when combined with SwiftKey Cloud. SwiftKeyCloud personalizes your autocorrect and predictive type based on everything you’ve typed with the keyboard. Check it out app store.
Minuum aims to replace the default keyboard by adding some intriguing features. As the name might imply, this keyboard can be very small, resizable down to half the normal keyboard height while preserving typing accuracy using their highly tuned correction algorithm. Minuum also includes custom key layouts like AZERTY, predictive type learning engine, and gesture-based shortcuts.
On the less serious end of the spectrum, Riffsy is a keyboard comprised purely of animated GIF images and video clips organized into various categories. Clicking any GIF will copy it into your clipboard, then you can paste it almost anywhere you can paste text. In addition to the mood-specific categories, the keyboard also has sections of trending GIFs from various sources like Reddit and Buzzfeed, and keeps your most used images in a dedicated spot in much the same way as the emoji keyboard. Riffsy adds some fun to your iOS device, and if you’re a fan of communicating via animated images (and really, who isn’t?), this keyboard will be a no-brainer.
TextExpander adds a new feature to its already impressive ultra-useful productivity tool. TextExpander, originally a mac-only app, is an app that lets you define frequently used text snippets –like your email signature or home address– and assign a keyboard shortcut-like abbreviation to it. On supported apps, typing the abbreviation will expand to the full snippet. Unfortunately, app developers had to enable their apps to use the tool. Now, thanks to the new features of iOS 8, TextExpander can now be used anywhere, using the custom keyboard that is bundled with the latest edition of the app.
MyScript Stack harkens back to the days of Palm Pilots with it’s handwriting recognition keyboard. Stack adds an essentially blank area where the keyboard keys usually sit wherein you simply write letters and gestures and the keyboard accurately guesses what you’re writing. In addition to typing the letters you scribble, adds suggested words at the top that you can touch to quickly add. There are also useful gestures for frequent operations, like adding a period, space, or return. This free app adds another level of usefulness to your iPhone with iOS 8.