SwiftKey for Android is now free, adds more customizable keyboards

swiftkey android keyboard app free family

SwiftKey has always been popular with Android users, but it’s about to attract a lot more: the company announced that its alternative keyboard app will now be available for free on the Google Play store. The app is also adding new customizable keyboard themes and support for 800 emoji characters.

If you’ve been paying the premium price for SwiftKey all this time, the app’s creators will reward you with a free “Premier Pack” of 10 keyboard themes, which normally costs $5. It’s not too big of a perk, but it’s better than nothing.

SwiftKey wants to reassure its faithful users that the decision to make the app free, doesn’t mean it will become a freemium app with limited functionality. The only feature you won’t have access to are all the different keyboard themes. If you want a certain pack of themes, you’ll have to pay for it. However, many of the 30 new themes are free. The default theme is called Nickel. All of the themes are simple, but some are more elegant than others. It’s nice to be able to decide what color background you want and whether you want inconspicuous keys, nearly invisible ones, or solidly defined ones.


The good news is that whether you buy themes or not, you’ll still have access to all the core SwiftKey features. The keyboard app’s accurate word prediction, SwiftKey Flow slide-to-type function, and autocorrect will work just fine. In fact, all these features have been improved, SwiftKey says. In our tests of the new app, all the things we know and love about SwiftKey were still there and fully functional, free or not. The keyboard accurately predicted our word choices and even kept up with manic typing speeds, despite the sloppy input from our fingers.

In addition to all the new themes, SwiftKey also added an optional number row to the top of the keyboard and prediction for 800 emoji characters. Based on the words you type, SwiftKey will suggest a specific emoji, or series of emoji, to accompany that thought. For example, if you always add a heart emoji after you text an “I love you,” SwiftKey will suggest that you do so every time it thinks you’ll want to use it.

SwiftKey Multilingual

The app now supports Belarusian, Mongolian, Tatar, Uzbek, and Welsh, bringing its total number of languages up to 66. The new version of SwiftKey is also better for multilingual speakers. You can tell the app to recognize a few different languages, so that autocorrect doesn’t mistake your Spanish for English and tell your significant other “the ammo,” instead of “te amo” (true story).

In our tests, the new and improved multilingual support worked almost perfectly while switching from English to German to Spanish. Any attempts to do the same using the built-in keyboard apps on the iPhone 5 and LG G3 ended in complete and utter disaster. It’s just not possible to type using words from three very different languages on your average mobile keyboard, that is, without having to switch language input settings every time you want to switch over.

Overall, this latest SwiftKey update adds a lot of great new features and improved functionality, all for the premium price of $0.00. SwiftKey is also working on an app for iOS 8 devices. So far, there is no word on whether it will include all the same great features for free or not.


Leave the laptop at home, the iPad Pro is the travel buddy to take on vacay

The iPad Pro is a powerful tablet that's perfect for creatives and professionals. How does it fare when traveling with it as a laptop replacement? We took it on a two week trek in Japan to find out.

Don't keep typing the same thing -- learn to copy and paste with these shortcuts!

Looking for useful Windows keyboard shortcuts? The most common are the cut, copy, paste and undo shortcuts compatible with all kinds of tasks. They can save you an awful lot of time if you learn how to use them.

Apple's iOS 12.1.1 makes it easier to switch cameras in FaceTime

After months of betas, the final version of iOS 12 is here to download. The latest OS comes along with tons of new capabilities, from grouped notifications to Siri Shortcuts. Here are all the features you'll find in iOS 12.
Product Review

The iPad Pro is the best tablet ever. But don't sell your laptop just yet

Apple has unveiled a big redesign for the iPad Pro, slimming down the bezels, adding Face ID, and the ability to attach and charge the Apple Pencil. All of this comes at a high cost however, as the iPad Pro starts at $799.

Apple is spending $1 billion to hire up to 15,000 new employees in Austin

Apple has announced a series of expansions across the U.S. -- including a massive expansion to the company's Austin campus that will see it spending $1 billion to accommodate for up to 15,000 new employees.

Google Maps makes it easier than ever to find a Lime bike or scooter

Google Maps has added a new feature that helps you find a Lime bike or scooter in just a few taps. The feature currently works in 11 U.S. cities served by Lime, with more coming next year.

Ditch your smartphone for a year and win $100k from Vitaminwater

Vitaminwater is willing to part with $100,000 if you're willing to part with your smartphone partner for a year. Could you last for a year armed with only a 1996-era phone? Here's your chance to find out.

Quirky smartphone accessories you never knew you needed

Looking for a few accoutrements to make your smartphone even better? If you, or someone you know, is a sucker for accessories, you'll want to check out our collection of quirky smartphone accessories you never knew you needed.

Here's our head-to-head comparison of Pandora and Spotify

Which music streaming platform is best for you? We pit Spotify versus Pandora, two mighty streaming services with on-demand music and massive catalogs, comparing every facet of the two services to help you decide which is best.

Walmart drops prices on Apple Watches and other fitness trackers

Smartwatches, fitness trackers, and wearable heart rate monitors from Apple, Samsung, Fitbit, and Garmin are popular gifts. Wearables are smarter and more capable than in earlier years. We found the best wearables deals on Walmart.

The best Wear OS watches

There are a ton of different Wear OS watches out there, but which one's right for you? No matter what you're looking for from a smartwatch, here are the best Wear OS watches out there.
Emerging Tech

Capture app saves money by 3D scanning objects using iPhone’s TrueDepth camera

Capture is a new iPhone app created by the Y Combinator-backed startup Standard Cyborg. It allows anyone to perform 3D scans of objects and share them with buddies. Here's how it works.
Home Theater

How to master your equalizer settings for the perfect sound

You may know what an EQ is, but do you know how to adjust equalizer settings for the best possible sound? We go through the basics of the modern EQ and lay out some guidelines for how to achieve tip-top sound from your system.

How to switch from iPhone to Android: The ultimate guide

If you've decided to bridge the great tech divide and leave Apple's walled garden for the unknown shores of Android, then you'll find all the tips and advice you need to begin switching from an iPhone to an Android device.