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
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
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 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.
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.
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
- The best Productivity apps of 2014
- The best Social Networking apps of 2014
- The best Notification Center widgets of 2014
- The best apps with Touch ID support of 2014
- The best Games of 2014
- The best Health & Fitness apps of 2014
- The best Weather apps of 2014
- The best News apps of 2014
- The best Photo apps of 2014