SwiftKey 1

My brother is an Android user and I am an iOS 8 user. So of course he is always showing me things that he can customize on his smartphone that I can’t. One time, he showed me how he could swipe his finger across his keyboard to type words. “Big deal,” I said. “Jealous,” I thought.

Now that SwiftKey Keyboard is available as a default keyboard for iOS 8, I was quick to download it to see just how cool the feature really is. SwiftKey is mainly a predictive keyboard that learns your writing style and gives you suggestions for what you might want to say next. But, it also has that cool “Flow” swiping feature so you can type without tapping.

The app comes with two themes, Nickel Light and Nickel Dark. The Android version comes with multiple color themes. I’m hoping this feature will come to iOS eventually. As I’ve mentioned before, I like colorful keyboards.

SwiftKey 3

The basic technology behind SwiftKey is its amazing ability to learn how you write in order to predict what you will type next. I haven’t even been using the app for a full 24 hours, but I can tell it is doing its job. It is almost creepy how well it predicts my thoughts. It even suggested phrases, like “ get in the pit” and “are you going to that show,” which I do talk about because of my punk rock roots.

If you sign up for SwiftKey’s cloud feature through Facebook or Google Plus, the app will learn more of your writing style right away based on things you’ve written on the social networking sites. It will also store what it has learned in the cloud so that you can sync it across multiple devices and not have to retrain it.

SwiftKey 2

SwiftKey Flow, the swiping feature, isn’t as easy to use as I had hoped. It is simply awkward trying to swipe instead of tap. However, I was amazed at how well it fixed my finger-mashing mistakes. I would swipe across the screen to type a word, like “wondering,” thinking that the result would be a jumbled mess, only to find that the app actually figured out what I was trying to type and corrected it for me. The autocorrect is fantastic.

I don’t think I’ll use the Flow feature very often, not because it doesn’t work well, but because it takes me longer to swipe the letters than it does to just tap them. Maybe with practice I’ll get faster.

The app does not come with its own emojis. If you were hoping to express yourself with a cartoon smiley face, you’ll have to switch from SwiftKey and go to Apple’s emoji keyboard instead.

Some users in the App Store have noted that this app has a few minor glitches. So far, I have not experienced any freezes, blank spots, or slow loading. However, I’ve only been using it for less than a day.

I’ve only tested two third-party default keyboards so far, SwiftKey and Fleksy. However, I can tell from my experience that this app has a better predictive typing feature so it is definitely better for productivity purposes. If you are looking for a faster way to type, this is a great keyboard for you.

The limited color themes makes it seem like a weak version of the Android app, and that makes me sad. I’m going to predict that the app will get an update in the future that will offer multiple keyboard themes as an in-app purchase.

SwiftKey is available on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch for free. Download it in the App Store today.

  • BlueintheBlood

    Love this keyboard. Props to Apple for let us live our 3rd party dreams.

  • James

    SwiftKey only allows you to use flow and themes if full access is turned on which is kinda lame. I’m using it right now to type this comment and I feel as though it works pretty well. Although it does take some getting used to.

    • It’s not necessarily that they bribe you with them ear etc to get full access, it might be that certain settings such as predictor of will only work with full access, as per Apple’s method of implementation

  • whodakat

    I’m not a privacy nut, but no way I’m letting some 3rd party app store everything I type. If typing proves too difficult I’ll just use the new voice text.

    • Psykr

      Not that you’re wrong… But these keyboards, or at least the most famous, are really well-known and have been used on Android for more than 1 year. This thought about privacy is something new for me, and kinda strange (I’m not going to say this is “bullshit” because it’s disrespectful).

      • David Villamizar

        Privacy is quite a thing these days, think about what happens when you type a password using this keyboard, or a credit card number and code, the keyboard takes that information and saves it in their own servers. At least Apple warns you about this, and defaults to block this full access, it even switches keyboards when typing passwords. I’ve seen SwiftKey showing passwords as suggestions in Android phones, showing it to anyone else who’s looking at your phone, and of course, showing they got it in their servers.

    • Steven Honey

      are you so sure that apple doesn’t store everything you type??

      • whodakat

        No, but I am 100% sure they don’t sell the info.

    • Andy

      I’m pretty sure other companies like Google and Apple have more information about you than a third party keyboard developer.

      • J. Rockwell

        Absolutely!

      • suitjackets
      • wow. what a reason to give up even more!

    • Kamran Mackey

      You must be really stupid. Read SwiftKey’s privacy policy. It doesn’t tell Swiftkey what you type.

      • Warmachine69

        What’s your problem so calling people stupid

      • whodakat

        Oh I had no idea that they said they didn’t look at what you type. I am sure they are as honest as everyone else. LOL How many times has Google or Facebook said they don’t collect something only to find out later on that they do. And stupid? Really? You must be really passionate about sliding your finger to type.

      • Banapapaya

        I’ve read the whole documentation, and I don’t see anywhere it specifically said that swiftkey “won’t tell what you type”. it instead, said that the data is encrypted which means they can decrypt the data if they want to. Plus the whole policy is focused on that they won’t sell/give your data to 3rd party if they don’t have your permission, not on what they will receive

    • You should be able to disable the cloud sync feature…that’s if the developer has no privacy-invading intentions.

  • Ninos E Dinkha

    The prediction is amazing! But the keyboard is just a lil slow when changing Between keyboards and it lags sometimes :/

    • J. Rockwell

      After saying things like these please tell everyone your iPhone Model and size.

      i.e. iPhone 5s 16gb

      • suitjackets

        Why would it matter? It’s not like you would say, “Oh, you have an iPhone 5; that’s what’s causing the issue.”

        No. While some iOS 8 devices are slower, they all should work and no information about the device model is really relevant.

      • J. Rockwell

        Actually it matters a ton. The iPhone 4s was available in 8gb back in the day. This combo OBVIOUSLY is having the most trouble with iOS8. But it is also a way for the iPhone community to look at a certain post and say “wow he is having the same problem that I am having. It is not isolated.”

        I realize that is tough to comprehend. When your mind works like this…”Why the f— should that matter. He updated his phone, and it should work flawless” While getting Cheetos cheese dust all over your keyboard. But most civilized individuals think differently.

      • Kurt

        Why would the gb matter? I can understand which iPhone but size?

      • J. Rockwell

        I was unsure why the 4s 8gb was having the most problems as opposed to the entire 4s line. Obviously the A5 chip offers less than a quarter of raw performance that the new A8 chips have, but iOS 8 just needs more power. What I read is that benchmarks were done on the 4s for iOS 7 then for iOS 8, and most tasks took 50% longer on iOS 8. Even simply opening safari takes twice as long. Also that the A5 chip simply can’t handle animations at all.

        I personally think they should have just left the 4s out of the loop on this upgrade.

      • Johannes Mertens

        Iphone 4 7.1.2 is totally fine for such an Old Device. And im sure 8.1 will have the Same Effect on 4S.

      • Kurt

        Yeah, that’s the problem with iOS. If you upgrade you get worse performance. Other OSes, including for pcs, you get better performance. When a jailbreak comes out, I’d like to upgrade my jailbroken iPad Air to a jailbroken iOS 8.* but I don’t want it to become sluggish. I tried to look on Youtube and some people (fanboys though) are saying it runs the same. They didn’t do any scientific measures and they are fanboys so I can’t trust them. But watching the videos, it seems fast enough for me. Have you upgraded to iOS 8 on any of your devices? Have you noticed any slow downs?

      • J. Rockwell

        I personally won’t be upgrading to iOS 8 until there is an untethered jailbreak. Even though Apple is getting iOS closer to not needing a jailbreak, I have to have activator installed for the phone to be where I need it to be.

        So fingers crossed to a quick jailbreak. Let me know how the update goes:)

      • Kurt

        I’m with you, no jailbreak=no upgrade. Swipeselect is a tweak I couldn’t live without. There are a few others too. iOS 8 seems to be a big upgrade for Apple in terms of noticeable features we have been requesting for some time. I really hope this is a new trend and we keep getting great features.

      • suitjackets

        I’m not a huge fan of Cheetos — not sure what that comment is supposed to mean, but I guess I’m just disappointed that Apple used to be so much better than most Android manufacturers about compatibility of old phones with new updates, and now it’s different. Older phones still should work, though, and it sucks that having an “old” iPhone means you can’t enjoy iOS as much. 🙂

      • andy

        To be honest it can sometimes matter actually.

      • andy

        Ipod touch 5th generation, test run IOS 8 two days, downgraded back, i’m not confident enough, giving apple some time to clear all the bugs as possible, just like ios 7.0 to 7.1. Then i shall think again about updating, i tested this app, awesome, but still its just the first time, still more fixes to come. I love IOS 8 features, but it sucks that my ipod cant really handle it as much :

    • David Villamizar

      Keyboard change does lag a lot on the iPhone 5s, if you read tweets from the guy who created the nintype keyboard, he says Apple forces developers to create an instance of the keyboard for each app that uses it, so if it’s a complex keyboard, it consumes a ton of resources. I still don’t know why couldn’t they use one instance for everything, it’s not like you could type in two apps at the same time…

  • Not sure if it’s on apples end or the keyboard developers but the time it takes for keyboards to appear is brutally slow right now.

  • Amr Badr

    I love it, but it lacks the tapping/clicking sound, and it lags

    • Hmmm I was using for a couple of days and didn’t notice any lag. Which device are you using?

      • Amr Badr

        iPhone 4S 16 GB

      • lags on my iP5 as well… it takes sometimes 2 seconds to appear and it freezes occasionally

  • Virus

    Any Keyboard like the tweak SwipeSelection ?

    • Kurt

      That’s my favorite keyboard tweak and one of my favorite tweak of all. On my Samsung phone, the Samsung keyboard comes with this feature too. But doesn’t work as well as on iOS.

    • Kieran.Lillis

      Brightkey does something similar

    • I don’t think Apple allow devs to control the cursor. No idea why. Seems like a bit of a pointless thing to prohibit

  • SAVE$$$¢hino

    the only thing I hate about 3rd party keyboards is that they don’t work with quick reply yet /:

  • Derrick B. Miller

    Look great! I will use it if they supported my language :/

  • Kurt

    For me I’ve always used the predictive text to fix spelling errors. I know people like flow/swipe but it’s not for me. Never felt the urge of wishing there was something other than typing.

  • Gonzalo Calandria

    How you change the Theme? i only can use the black one by default :/

    • Warmachine69

      To go in the app under theme

      • Gonzalo Calandria

        Im sorry but i cant found that opción, where is it?

      • Warmachine69

        It’s in 1.SwiftKey app 2.keyboard settings 3.themes 4. Select theme

      • Gonzalo Calandria

        Thank you!!! Is more iOS the white keyboard 🙂

      • ^ he means the SwiftKey app on the home screen, in case you couldn’t find it

  • @dongiuj

    Lovely video. Shame there wasn’t much about the actual product shown. I remember when a Korean branded phone was dissed for the exact same point on this blog.

  • Speg77

    The swipe gesture on SwiftKey won’t work when responding to texts from the lockscreen which is an issue but hopefully it’ll get fixed.Apart from that I’m really getting used to the change.

    • Dan

      Works for me.

    • GuyBey0ndC00L

      Ya there some bugs to be work out

  • I quite like SwiftKey and its “Swype”-like key entry, however, using both thumbs to type all these years means it’s actually slower for me to slide one thumb up and down the keyboard to type.

  • Rami Tabaa

    OT: Hey guys. I’m having an issue with my iPad Air iOS 8. After updating it, it started using so much internet data (it went from 300mb to 1.93GB in just 5hrs). I used an app named Data Manager to see its usage. Note that this wasn’t happening on iOS 7. The same thing is happening on my bro’s iPad Air iOS 8. Background app refresh is turned off. No apps are being downloaded or updated. No apps are in multitasking. Any help?

    • GuyBey0ndC00L

      Try a fresh install

    • Kr00

      If you backed up to the cloud before updating, your device automatically restores your data from the cloud after you update. Its not a well known fact, but its best to do updates over wifi.

  • Roberto Marti

    Amazing!!!!

  • swhitlow

    The main problem with 3rd party keyboards right now (at least for me) is that the API does not allow them to access the iOS Shortcuts that you have stored. I have a TON of shortcuts. Without access to them, it feels crippled.

    • GuyBey0ndC00L

      Yes 3th party keyboards are still limited in someway

  • Gonzalo Calandria

    I just found that if you use emoji then a message pop-up and you want to quick reply, the keyboard is not selectable

    • Kr00

      Just tap the “world” symbol and it will come up. Tapping the world symbol scrolls through keyboards you’ve previously added in settings.

      • Gonzalo Calandria

        I know about the world symbol, thats why i’m saying that you can’t select it. The world symbol only has the emoji

      • Kr00

        If you add more keyboards you’ll get more choices when you tap the globe symbol. I have swiftkey installed and toggle between all 3 keyboards I have installed.

  • James Grenard

    So buggy. Initial release though, so I’m not too worried. Loved this keyboard when I owned an Android device.

  • jocastro

    works great on android 🙂

  • Utrarunner5

    Tried this one for a while. Swype is much better.

  • Banapapaya

    here are some comparison between swype and swiftkey (if you are like me wondering which one is better, read on…)

    swype and swiftkey are both really good in terms of autocorrecting and efficiency. Down side for swiftkey, first of all, you have to allow full access so it can update your typing habits to the cloud, which comes to the second down side, it eats your battery (I believe more than swype, you can see how much it’s using by checking the battery usage). Third, and the most annoying thing, (at least for me) is that it automatically adds a space after every word you type (swype would hold that space until you type another word, which is much more preferred).
    OTOH, things I don’t like in swype is that I have to manually add every new word for it (which swiftkey does a really good job by learning it automatically-even emails, plus most of the time you don’t even have to worry about it cause swiftkey probably already knew it by gaining access to your contacts, emails, and facebook posts..creepy) Oh and plus, the awkward layout of the special keys.

    Over all, the support of the 3rd party KB has been really poor from apple so far, even in ios 8.0.2, I’m still having bugs such as you can’t change keyboards by sliding up from the globe (which I do a lot), and still can’t type anything after returning from lock screen, and the message still won’t slide up(!!)
    good thing is that it switches to normal KB if it knows you are typing passwords (plus 1 for apple)

    Bottom line is that if you have concern about your privacy (creeps in swiftkey can read everything you typed plus all your emails and facebook posts if they want to), then go for swype, otherwise, swiftkey is really the best for free