How to Default Keyboard 3

I hear a lot of mixed emotions from our readers about third-party keyboards. While only a handful simply don’t like anything but the stock app, many of our readers complain about apps not working correctly. More specifically, about how the stock keyboard keeps showing up instead of the selected third-party keyboard, especially in Messages.

There is a solution to that particular problem, and we’ve got a quick tutorial to help you set your favorite app so that it shows up every time the keyboard appears (except on the Lock screen and when typing your password in iTunes, because that’s Apple’s rule).

Making a keyboard the default on iPhone or iPad

This first part will be familiar to most of you, but I’m going to include it anyway for our readers that didn’t already know how to add third-party keyboards.

How to Default Keyboard 2

Step 1: Open the third-party keyboard app and then exit it.

Step 2: Go To Settings > General > Keyboard > Keyboards > Add New Keyboard…

Step 3: Select the keyboard you wish to add.

Step 4: If you need to allow full access, tap the keyboard again and toggle the switch to the On position.

O.K., so that’s the part everyone knows. Now, onto the trick that makes third-party keyboards show up every time.

What some people don’t realize is that the order your keyboards are in on the list in the Settings app plays a big role in why your favorite keyboard keeps disappearing.

How to Default Keyboard 1

Step 1: Go to Settings > General > Keyboard > Keyboards.

Step 2: Tap “Edit” in the upper right corner of the screen.

Step 3: Hold the keyboard you wish to appear every time until it hovers over the others. Then, drag it to the top of the list.

Step 4: Tap Done.

Now, you are ready to go. The third-party keyboard should appear every time from now on. I’ve tested this in a number of different ways to make sure it works every time. I’ve used it in Messages, Facebook Messenger, iTunes search, Spotlight, Gmail Inbox, the stock email app, Safari, and many other apps. I’ve restarted my iPhone. I’ve typed into the Lock screen (this forces it to revert to the stock keyboard as part of Apple’s rules) and it goes back to the third party app when I use Messages or another app again. I’ve switched to the stock keyboard and back again. Every time, the third-party keyboard I have at the top of my list appears first unless I manually change it.

This should help alleviate some of the annoyances that you may have regarding third-party keyboards.

Now that you know about this little trick, check out our previous posts about third-party keyboard apps to see if one of them looks interesting to you.

  • InfiniteMischief

    What’s the deal with allowing full access to these keyboards,? if I remember correctly I tried one of these keyboards and I read a statement that the app has access to all my old post and texts? Is that true?

    • John Wickham

      Allowing full access just lets the keyboard access any preferences and settings (like themes) that you apply from the keyboard’s app. It also allows the keyboard to access the things you type, but most keyboards aren’t using that information, only the preferences you set.

    • CA

      Read the privacy policy “About Third-Party Keyboards & Privacy” for more info. After reading that and some privacy policies of keyboard extensions in the app store I would never use any of them since they could basically change their policy and you’d agree just by updating the app via App Store. But some people have “nothing to hide” and don’t really bother, at the end of the day just be cautious what you type with the 3rd party keyboards.

  • Dani Hayes

    I use Swype as my default keyboard. I like over the stock keyboard and the rest.

  • Jonathan

    Awesome thanks! Moving Nintype to the top. 🙂

  • ɑղժɾҽա

    I do this, but the keyboard crashes most of the time and defaults back to stock keyboard, so…

    • Benjamin J Schwartz

      Exactly my problem! Play with your phone enough and eventually no keyboard shows up, then the stock Apple keyboard shows up when it should not.

      • QuarterSwede

        Yep, the API is buggy plain and simple.

  • The Zlatan

    Is that theme board in the top pic?

  • Keabsy

    Any tweak to allow it to be used on the lockscreen?

    • Victor Molina

      Wishing that to. Every time I’m replying from the lockscreen I swype on the stock keyboard

    • Ds

      as long as you do not have a passlock set on your phone you can use 3rd party keyboards for QR with texting. now to make it so you can use any keyboard for QR texting and have a passlock? no I do not believe there is such tweak.

      • Keabsy

        Me neither, but it’d be so useful, I’m back to using stock because of the inconsistency..

  • Victor Molina

    Thanks for the tutorial. Just tried it and so far so good

  • George

    Third party keyboards are shit

  • A man

    Thanks a lot it really helpedme out

  • zeekfizz

    Better yet delete the english (Default stock) keyboard. then there’s no issues ever with even having to toggle through it to get to emojis or gifs or whatever.

  • zeekfizz

    also NINType is amazing. Big learning curve but wow I can scream type (it’s not really typing, is it?) now. Everyone have a terriffic weekend!

  • Sebastián Junca 

    I have only Fleksy installed, default English keyboard (and all others) disabled, but sometimes it seems iOS can’t load Fleksy and the default keyboard appears. I know that the OS uses the default keyboard for filling passwords, but this bug appears everywhere, not only in passwords fields. Anyone else noticing this?

    • Ghosthack

      yeah, i got this too with Swype. i usually have to kill messages or whatsapp and launch it again for the keyboard to work again. really annoying. i’ve reverted to default… =[

      • Sebastián Junca 

        Its a shame. Hope apple will fix it with iOS 8.2!

  • h4nd0fg0d

    Don’t believe theme board wrks when upscale is employed. I have my 6 running at 825×1455 and I get no keyboard via theme board. Otherwise everything else wrks perfectly including stock keyboards.

  • Mike C.

    Is SwiftKey still the best keyboard on iPhone as of now? Having just changed from Android I miss the simple Google keyboard.
    Also sucks that not many 3rd party foreign
    language KBs r out for ios yet. Google korean keyboard was the best.
    Love my new i6+, but apple’s stock KB just plain sucks compared to google’s.

  • I was really psyched about third party keyboards and thought I’d always use them. But after the initial “wow” factor wore off, I’ve found I don’t even use them, in fact, I actually get aggravated when I accidentally switch to one.

    • h4nd0fg0d

      Rite with u man.

  • h4nd0fg0d


  • zoLa siWisa

    Cool, yes… Though third party keyboard do not work on locked lockscreen for reply on iMessenger.. when hit reply…no keyboard shows up

  • Thanks.

  • Gabriel Anaya

    I want a tweak that allows you to use a third party keyboard anywhere, specifically when quick replying to a text from the lock screen of a pass code locked device.