10 Alternative iOS Keyboard Apps for Your iPhone

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2016-04-26
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    10 Alternative iOS Keyboard Apps for Your iPhone
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    10 Alternative iOS Keyboard Apps for Your iPhone

    Microsoft's Word Flow is just one of a number of appealing keyboard apps for iOS. We look at 10 that are worth a look for iPhone users.
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    Microsoft Makes a Move With Word Flow
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    Microsoft Makes a Move With Word Flow

    Microsoft's Word Flow is the latest entrant into the third-party iOS keyboard market. The free app, which launched on April 25, has a one-handed mode that displays a QWERTY keyboard in an arc on the bottom-right side of the screen. In addition, users can customize backgrounds and allow access to their contacts, so Word Flow can accurately predict a person's name to reduce typing time. For those who don't want Arc mode turned on, users can use the keyboard in standard landscape mode.
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    SwiftKey Impressed Even Microsoft
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    SwiftKey Impressed Even Microsoft

    SwiftKey has long been a favorite of third-party iOS keyboard users, which probably was a major factor in Microsoft's decision to acquire the company earlier this year. Since then, SwiftKey has lived on as an alternative keyboard. The app has a smart feature that predicts what the user is about to type. In also has an auto-correct feature that Microsoft says is "smarter" than the one offered in iOS. Plus, users will find full emoji support and the ability to switch from one language to another while typing. It's a free app.
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    No Tapping With Swype
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    No Tapping With Swype

    Swype is one of the few paid apps in this roundup, costing 99 cents. For that price, however, users will get a different kind of typing experience. In fact, users won't type at all; they'll swipe. With Swype, users slide their fingers around the keyboard to different keys. Once complete, the app intelligently determines which words users are trying to send and inputs them into the text field. Swype argues its technology is superior to traditional typing, but users seem split: It has a cumulative rating of three stars out of a possible five in the App Store.
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    Fleksy Lets Users Roll Their Own Keyboards
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    Fleksy Lets Users Roll Their Own Keyboards

    Fleksy is designed solely with customization in mind. The app allows users to create their own keyboards and even includes a GIF mode that replaces traditional keys with GIFs a user has found on the Internet. In addition, users can change keys to different colors, determine how auto-corrected words should be displayed and much more. Fleksy is available as a free download.
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    RainbowKey Makes Text Look Cool
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    RainbowKey Makes Text Look Cool

    RainbowKey is another keyboard that's all about customization. In fact, users can change the color of keys and the keyboard background, as well as the kinds of emojis they use. Better yet, the free app offers a wide range of "stylish fonts," so if users don't want the same old text, it'll deliver something a little different.
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    Relive the Old Days With Hanx Writer
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    Relive the Old Days With Hanx Writer

    Hanx Writer is a neat, free app that goes back to the old days of typewriters. The app displays a keyboard that looks like a traditional typewriter. The text-input field, meanwhile, looks like a piece of paper that a user is typing on. The app is more about design than extra functionality, but it's interesting and was backed by famed actor Tom Hanks.
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    A Different Way to Communicate With Adaptxt
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    A Different Way to Communicate With Adaptxt

    Adaptxt is one of the more capable free keyboards in this roundup, offering users a selection of more than 800 emojis. In addition, users can simply swipe on the bottom of the keyboard to communicate in more than 100 languages. Adaptxt also includes location suggestions and support for gestures. With gestures, users can, say, swipe diagonally from left to right, and the app, knowing it's a gesture, will deliver all of the text assigned to it. Think of the gesture support as a quick way to get a lot of text into an input field by simply swiping in one direction or another.
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    Minuum Goes Minimalist
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    Minuum Goes Minimalist

    Minuum is designed to be short and slim, so users can easily type out messages with one hand. In addition, users can choose different color schemes, and the app supports gestures and a dictionary function. Plus, it is capable of learning as the person types, so its auto-correct feature gets better over time. Unlike most of the apps in this roundup, however, Minuum is a bit expensive: It costs $3.99.
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    Custom Keyboard Gives Users Lots of Options
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    Custom Keyboard Gives Users Lots of Options

    The free Custom Keyboard is all about a user's personal preference. The app allows users to choose from a wide range of fonts and colors, so the keyboard looks nothing like the standard iOS version. Users can even choose key styles, so they can decide whether keys should be oval, square, rectangular or another shape. Perhaps most interestingly, the app supports several different sound effects and will play a sound when different keys are selected.
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    It's All About Fun With TouchPal Keyboard
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    It's All About Fun With TouchPal Keyboard

    TouchPal Keyboard is focused solely on fun. The app comes with several themes that range from holiday-related styles to even some that look like early "Super Mario" games. The free app also boasts sound effects, the ability to create artistic arrays of emojis and swipe support. It's one of the more popular keyboards in this roundup, earning a four-star rating from nearly 3,400 App Store reviewers.
 

Microsoft has once again ventured into Apple's territory with the launch on April 25 of its Word Flow keyboard application for iOS. The app, which allows for one-handed typing, has caught the attention of some iPhone owners who might wonder how they can improve upon the built-in iOS keyboard app. After all, Apple doesn't actively promote its App Store's third-party keyboards, and it has long clung to the idea that its option is best. But if users were to comb through the App Store, they'd find a broad array of interesting third-party keyboards aimed at improving users' typing experiences. Some of those, like Swype, don't even require users to tap individual keys to type out a message. Others, including Hanx Writer and Adaptxt, come with features that change the look and feel of the keyboard on an iOS device. This slide show drags these apps out from the shadows of Apple's App Store, discussing some of the finer features. The following apps are worth at least a test drive for anyone who's tired of using the same old thing.

 
 
 
 
 
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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