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App Review: SwiftKey 4.2 remembers who you are when you switch phones

SwiftKey has long been one of our favorite Android keyboards for both smartphones and tablets. When it first launched, the predictive text engine made it possible to (sometimes) complete whole sentences by just tapping suggestions above the keys. Then later the keyboard gained Swype-like trace-to-type abilities that sped up the writing of emails and status updates even more. SwiftKey learned which words to offer up not only from keeping track of what you typed but also by pulling data from social networks and your email.

Still, when starting over with a new device, there would always be an annoying few weeks when SwiftKey had to learn about you all over again. Welcome to the end of that problem.

SwiftKey version 4.2 now incorporates a feature called SwiftKey Cloud. With this, you can back up your word data to SwiftKey’s servers and access it when you switch to a new device or even keep your word lists synced between multiple devices. With this update, SwiftKey just made upgrading to a new device less of a hassle.

SwiftKey Cloud stores your data anonymously and safely (and never stores words typed in a password field). Whenever you connect a new device it will automatically share word data. If it finds existing word data, it won’t erase what’s there. It will just merge it with the data it already has. So you can safely connect existing phones and tablets even if you’ve been using SwiftKey on both for a while.

Activating SwiftKey Cloud is easy and utilizes a one-click Google account login. Once it’s active, you can choose if the data syncs hourly, daily, or weekly, and restrict syncing to when you’re connected to Wi-Fi. Even with this active, you can still give SwiftKey permission to grab data from your email (now with Yahoo and Gmail), Twitter, Facebook, text messages, and your blog’s RSS feed.

Another addition in this version is something SwiftKey calls Trending Phrases. Each morning the app looks at what’s trending on Twitter and adds those words to the dictionary temporarily. The point is to add words and phrases that you’re likely to use when writing about a current event, even if it’s your very first time doing so. These trending words won’t stick around if they’re no longer relevant. If you find the trending words completely irrelevant, you can always turn this feature off.

We’ve been testing the beta version of the keyboard for a couple of weeks and found the sync speedy and seamless. Since we use our tablet keyboard less than our smartphone it was less trained to our preferred word choices. After the first sync we no longer encountered that problem and our typing sped up a bit.

The update is available in the Google Play Store right now. And if you’re coming to SwiftKey for the first time, it’s on sale for half off ($2) right now. This keyboard is well worth that price, so snap it up quick.

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