Swype best keyboard

For a few months now, iOS users have been given a special treat in the form of third-party keyboards. We’ve been lucky enough to try out all of the best ones as they come out. Different keyboards are great for different reasons. Some of them have unique features that no others have.

The iDB writers picked through the cream of the crop to find the ones we like the most. We then put them to a vote to decide which was best-loved by all. Below is the list, including the winner and runner-ups. Since third-party default keyboards are only a few months old, we have decided it is too soon to select a best ever winner.

The best Keyboards of 2014

Swype

Swype keyboard only

When Apple first announced that it would allow third-party keyboards as default, Swype was number one on my list. I was so excited to find out what everyone on Android was talking about. You can drag your finger around on a virtual keyboard and actually spell out words. Swype is our winner this year because it has an incredibly accurate predictive typing function, which is imperative when using swiping to write. The app now also includes multiple keyboard layout options. So, if QWERTY is not your cup of tea, you can switch to QWERTZ or AZERTY. There are a handful of different skins, too. So, you can switch it up every once in a while for a pretty keyboard. This app is available for $0.99.

The runner ups

Minuum

Minuum

I know that all of you iPhone 6 or 6 Plus owners don’t have anything to worry about when it comes to screen space, but those of us still typing with a four-inch screen covet ever bit of extra space we can find. This app helps free up some of it with a unique minimalist keyboard that only takes up one row. Letters are squished together so you can tap within the vicinity of a particular letter and the app will guess at what you are trying to type. Thanks to a robust predictive typing system, it gets the word right almost every time. The app also learns as you type. So, your best friend’s name will only come up as an error the first time. There are about a dozen new colors to mix it up. Right now, I’m using Minuum’s Christmas Keyboard app, which is the same as the original, but has different holiday themes. This app is available for $3.99.

Fleksy

Flesky

Fleksy was my first third-party keyboard. So it will always have a special place in my heart. Even though it was already pretty cool when it first came out, the app has since added a handful of awesome features, like rainbow animations and access to a GIF keyboard. Plus, you can adjust the keys to three different sizes and add or remove the space bar if you are good at using gestures. Originally, I loved the candy-colored skins that were available. Now, you have your choice of about two-dozen different colors. Plus, you can set the keyboard’s background with images from Hunger Games or Frozen. This app is available for $0.99.

Nintype

Nintype

After months of waiting, Nintype finally added system wide third-party support at the beginning of the month. Finally we are able to use the incredible features of this keyboard with almost anything on our iPhone. You aren’t forced to choose between swiping and typing with this app. You can do both. With a little bit of practice, you can really make the words flow in a much more natural way. Switch fingers, swipe a couple of letters and tap a couple more. You can also create short cuts by assigning different words to specific letters. The keyboard also has quick access to a calculator, word transformer, and stylized text. This app is available for $4.99.

SwiftKey

Swiftkey

Fans of the swipe-to-type technique know that SwiftKey’s “Flow” feature is about as smooth as they come. It almost feels like you are tracing your finger around in a thin layer of butter, only your hands don’t get all greasy. With predictive typing turned on, you will be able to teach the keyboard new words. It will also start to notice when you write “hate” after writing the word “I,” so don’t accidentally tell your sweetheart something you’ll have trouble taking back. When you sign into a SwiftKey Cloud account, all of your new words will be saved so you can use a better predictive typing (or swiping) experience across multiple devices. This app is available for free.

What is your favorite third-party keyboard app? Let us know in the comments below.

Best of 2014

Image: PlaceIt

  • Andranik Sahakyan

    Correction *Fleksy

  • Linton Findlay

    iKeywi is good but always kept crashing. Found that a lot with third party keyboards :/ hopefully ios9 will bring slicker implementation

    • Cesar D

      iOS 8.2 Beta 3 already fixes that

      • Kelvin Lieu

        fixes what? are keyboards implemented better?

      • Cesar D

        yes you can look at the changelogs it adds better support for 3rd party keyboards

  • Lucian F

    Minuum shows at $3.99 for me…

    • It was on sale at $1.99 at the time of writing. It’s now back to $3.99.

  • AnoNymouz

    Yea fleksy is one of the best! Not a runner up. I wish I could use it more but I hate the way iOS handles 3rd party keyboards. They never truly stick, even if you delete the iOS keyboard.

  • Rechain

    Really love Swype, but it’s to frustrating to use because of constant unloading of keyboard 4/5 times -.- + they are not working on lockscreen when using passcode/TouchID. Apple have to fix this f*cking annoying “not loading” / “unloading” bugs ASAP!

    I’m using the stock keyboard again now, but sometimes I try switching to Swype (or SwiftKey) but it’s just unloading from my hands 1-2 seconds and making me annoyed. Why did I pay for this? Well, it is great software keyboard..no doubt, Apple has to fix their iOS system to support it 110% bug free, and with so many updates they are getting out..I can’t understand why they haven’t fixed this yet! If we have to wait until iOS9, I’m VERY disappointed.

    • Rechain

      Just activating iCloud Drive, that’s disabling my own shortcuts of words in iOS. Now my Swype keyboard active every time and no unloading (yet) :O iOS word shortcuts is causing it!!

      YAAAAAY!!

  • Captain Canada

    What was worse, these atrociously buggy keyboards or a complete lack of useful widgets? I hate Apple’s keyboard but constantly have to go back to it because of how garbage the 3rd party offerings have been.

    • AnArcticMonkey

      I blame Apple on the atrocious use of 3rd party keyboards. There is absolutely no way that EVERY keyboard developer, especially well know developers that have popular keyboards on Android (SwiftKey, Swype), left in all of these bugs.

      Apple needs to get it together and smarten up, the keyboard integration is a disgrace, the constant removal of widgets really defeats the purpose of them, seriously don’t offer these features if you are going to limit them so much.

  • Mike Colacone Saal

    Nintype!!!!!!!

    • Definitely loving Nintype. I just hope that Apple improve the way third party keyboards are handled in iOS so that the experience can be less shitty.

    • Nevertrending

      It’s so good I can’t even take any keyboard without a dual swipe serious anymore. For me all other keyboards don’t even come close power of nin.

  • NEBITAN

    its f***ing fleksy not flesky!

  • Tommy Gumbs

    The keyboards have come quite far since the release of iOS8. BUT, they all seem to be unstable. That is just a deal breaker for me. Hopefully iOS9 will fix whatever issue causes this. Until then I will continue to type one letter at a time.

  • therealjjohnson

    The best keyboard of 2014 was…the stock keyboard.

    • Totally agree and the jailbreak tweaks I use have made it absolutely perfect.
      Maybe it’s that I’m getting older, but I’m way past theming out every little aspect of my iPhone.
      Flurry, Alkaline, Zeppelin & Aura theme are more than enough for me.
      I’m even over the unecessary jailbreak tweaks I used to use, since iOS 8 can do most all of them and at a much smoother speed.

      Don’t need Auxo anymore at all. I keep expecting stock widgets to improve over time so I am through with my old reason to jailbreak, IntelliscreenX.
      Ones I still think lack and couldn’t live without are CallBar, Safari Downloader+, f.lux, CCSettings and most definitely Aria.

      Most disappointing tweak Apple has stolen from the jailbreak community is definitely QuickReply. What a complete utter fail and leads me to a question I have seen no definitive answer to is, “Where is BiteSMS for iOS 8?!”.

  • Chang in Charge

    Best Keyboard of 2014 Riffsy Gif Keyboard or PopKey Animated Gif Keyboard

  • VictorMartino

    Touchpal is more stable than Swiftkey, has a better design than Swype, and has a built-in emoji keyboard so that you don’t have to switch often. I love it! And best of all, it’s FREE!!!!!!!!!!

    • Alberto Espinal

      I just voted for Swype but I take that back, when I read your comment I immediately went to the App Store and downloaded TouchPal and I’m using it now, it gives you the ability to choose a theme from your camera roll and use the opacity, thank to for mentioned it, and here is a screenshot

  • iKhalil

    I think iKeyboard is better, but with the implementation in iOS 8 is not what it could be as in the jailbreak is

  • M_thoroughbred

    Nintype for me. Being able to swipe with both hands is quite fun and I can’t seem to find myself using any other keyboard.

    • Diego Milano

      I just hope NinType’s poor autocorrect and dictionary issues get fixed soon as those are my main challenging reason for not abandoning the stock keyboard as of yet.

      • M_thoroughbred

        I agree the auto correct in nintype is pretty bad.

  • Great Scott

    SwipeExpander + Swipe Selection Pro

    Third party keyboards still way behind jailbroken ones, they still crash, have less functionality as per Apple’s restrictions, and don’t even apply in some areas. Jailbroken keyboard tweaks have none of these issues.

    • Blake

      I think I have swipe selection not pro version. Does it work on 6+?

    • J. Rockwell

      Exact combination I use!

    • Diego Milano

      That’s the same exact combination I use too, however I decided to use NinType and I actually use them both depending on what I need to type. NinType has some limitations and issues, particularly -and I would say elusively- with dictionary and autocorrect, but once those features get polished, I encourage you to give it a try.
      Like I said though, I still use the stock keyboard with those tweaks. And for the record, AltKeyboard is a joke compared to SwipeExpander, and I mean a JOKE. 🙂

  • notewar

    Anyone know how to get rid of the side toolbar of iOS Stock keyboard while in landscape mode?

    • therealjjohnson

      Its really irritating.

  • Alberto Espinal

    For me Swype is the best!

  • Harchu

    I’m too old, sticking to the stock keyboard. lol

  • I honestly think this list should say “none”. These keyboards are nice in theory but unusable until Apple fixes how they are managed. I just can’t stand the lag, disappearing, and general bugs when using 3rd party keyboards. Hopefully updates are coming in 2015.

  • Rechain

    Disabling built in iOS word shortcuts has fixed my Swype keyboard unloading/disappearing issue!!! 😀 so if you used them, don’t! So happy that’s my Swype keyboard works 10/10 times now, anyone else this is the permanent fix?

    Apple’s own word shortcuts system is flawed and has been since first release. Not using it anymore, it’s not worth the problems they causing with it.