The iPhone’s built-in keyboard may not be everyone’s cup of tea — it’s got a limited amount of GIFs, autocorrect can be hit-or-miss, and you can’t change the size of the keys to accommodate the larger and smaller iPhone models. Even with the release of iOS 14, the only benefit that comes with the latest software update is the ability to search for emojis — nothing else.
Meanwhile, Android phone owners have been enjoying some of the best third-party Android keyboard apps for quite some time. For years, Swype, SwiftKey, Fleksy, and more took over as the default keyboards in millions of Android smartphones, while iPhone owners looked on enviously. Ever since June 2014, iPhone owners have been downloading alternative iOS keyboards like crazy. Here are our picks for the best keyboards for the iPhone.
Typewise Keyboard (free)
Typewise spaces itself (pun intended) from other third-party keyboard apps with its unique take on key shapes. The app keeps the QWERTY design but switches the traditional rectangle-shaped keys for hexagonal ones — which Typewise claims creates more surface area so you can type more accurately. While there is a slight learning curve, Typewise includes a built-in game to practice typing. With swipe gestures, dark mode support, and autocorrect modification, this is a great alternative for those who are tired of the conventional iOS keyboard.
The headline feature that Grammarly’s iOS keyboard app offers is sophisticated grammar review that goes beyond the usual spell check to offer you advice on punctuation, check spelling contextually, and highlight misused words. It can also help you build your vocabulary and offer synonyms, which makes it an ideal app for students or for business people. Grammarly also has emojis, a smart autocorrect feature, and allows you to build your own dictionary.
Phraseboard Keyboard ($1.99)
Phraseboard aims to take the pain out of the tedious job of typing the same responses over and over by allowing you to save them, so you can just select one of your prewritten answers to reply rapidly. You can create your own customized phrases and sort them by category. You can even quickly access the Phraseboard widget to create new phrases no matter what you’re doing with your iPhone. Don’t worry about having to re-install this keyboard because all your phrases sync with iCloud.
Gboard is a keyboard from Google for your iPhone. The keyboard includes everything you’d ever want within a single app. Whether you’re sending GIFs or emojis, searching through Google for information, sending directions, or something else, Gboard has you covered. With Gboard, you can search and send anything from Google, including information on nearby restaurants, videos, images, weather forecasts, news, sports scores, and more. The app also adds Glide Typing, which allows you to type messages faster and more accurately.
Microsoft SwiftKey (free)
The Microsoft SwiftKey Keyboard for iOS is a smart keyboard that learns from you, adapting to the way you type and picking up on your preferred emojis and slang. It’s loaded with tons of features that make typing even easier, including multilingual support, countless emojis, and speedy swipe typing with SwiftKey Flow. With the app, you can type less, more accurately, and in your own language. SwiftKey offers support for more than 150 languages including four versions of English, two kinds of Portuguese, Italian, German, four kinds of French, and three kinds of Spanish. You can also customize the look and layout of your keyboard.
Fleksy offers users a fun and interactive way to type in your own style. You can customize your Fleksy keyboard with powerful extensions and more than 50 colorful themes. Some of the themes cost $1, but many are free. More than 800 emojis come with the app, and it also has its own built-in GIF search engine. The keyboard supports 42 languages including English, French, Spanish, Russian, Arabic, Italian, Portuguese, Turkish, Hebrew, Dutch, and more. It learns your typing habits as you go, enabling it to give you accurate predictions, which helps cut down on typos.
Go Keyboard (Free)
Go Keyboard offers next-word prediction, swipe typing, emojis, and stickers. This keyboard is very customizable, with tons of themes, custom backgrounds, and even key tones and fonts. The free version supports more than 40 languages. If you opt for the subscription, you can go ad-free and get a wider choice of themes and stickers, but it’s very expensive at $20 per month. If you’re in a country where you need a keyboard in something other than English or Spanish, particularly if you have a need for hard-to-find foreign languages like Thai, Urdu, and Lithuanian, then this is a keyboard you will most certainly want to try out.
Color Keyboard (free)
The king of keyboard customization is Color Keyboard. Sure, it gives you emojis, autocorrection, and even allows you to tap and hold the space bar to be able to move the cursor, but what really sets this keyboard apart is the option to change anything you want about the look of the keyboard. You can change the keyboard background using solid colors, gradients, textures, and even your own pictures. You can also customize the buttons themselves by changing the colors and borders, adding shadows, customizing the fonts, and even changing the sounds. So if your aim is customization, Color Keyboard takes things to the next level, but you have to subscribe to access everything and it’s expensive at $6 a month.
Bitmoji is the perfect keyboard app for people who prefer to send depictions of themselves instead of texts or generic emojis. Bitmoji lets you create and send your very own emoji directly from your keyboard. You can use it in Snapchat, iMessage, or any of your favorite chat apps. Easily create an expressive avatar and then choose from a growing library of moods and stickers for it. Another perk is if you have a Bitstrips avatar, it’s compatible with Bitmoji. Just download the app, sign in using your Facebook account, and instantly access your avatar and collection.
GIF Keyboard (free)
If you’re not sure how to express yourself, there’s a simple solution: Say it with a GIF. The GIF Keyboard provides millions of animated GIFs, with many of them featuring music. A range of categories provides options whether you have a specific GIF in mind or need inspiration. It’s also easy to save your favorites and customize your keyboard, too. Another perk is that the app is compatible with many messenger services and social networks. Send GIFs directly from iMessage, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Twitter, and Facebook. Just long-press on a GIF to pull up options: You can share the GIF, video, or link, or to save to your camera roll.
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