The system keyboard in iOS 13 has gained swipe typing, a dedicated Emoji key and more.

iOS 13: new features for the system keyboard

Here are all the new features for the iPhone keyboard in iOS 13.

Gestural typing

iOS 13 brings gestural typing to the user experience that resembles= the Android keyboard and third-party keyboards such as SwiftKey and Google’s Gboard. They’re calling it QuickPath and it’s pretty straightforward. You just drag your finger across the keyboard from one key to the next in a continuous motion and trust iOS intelligence to figure out the word you’re looking for.

It autocompletes as soon as you lift the finger, plus it offers suggestions in a bar at the top of the keyboard, just like the QuickType keyboard, which helps auto-complete your sentences.

All things considered, QuickPath works remarkably well.

If you used Gboard or a similar keyboard app, you’ll feel right at home.

But unlike third-party keyboards, this is a keyboard built deep into the bowels of the operating system so you benefit from Apple’s air-tight security and privacy knowing that everything happens on the device and no keystrokes are sent to any servers at all.

Like the QuickType keyboard, QuickPath is not available in all languages.

For the time being, QuickPath supports English, Simplified Chinese, Spanish, German, French, Italian and Portuguese. Additional language support will likely be introduced via future software updates.

The QuickType and QuickPath input methods of typing can be used interchangeably.

Dedicated Emoji key

Using third-party keyboard in iOS has always been a sub-par experience. Aside from privacy concerns, you have to know how to find, download and install these keyboards. And when you do have them, you must tap your way through the Settings app to enable them.

That still hasn’t changed in iOS 13 but now you get a dedicated Emoji key for quickly accessing your emoticons, and it’s located to the left of the Space key for convenient access right when you need it. Yes, you can still tap and hold the globe key in the lower-left corner to activate the Emoji keyboard, but now you have a faster way of getting to your emoji.

This is going to especially appeal to multilingual users who can now quickly switch languages with dedicated keys for switching between languages and selecting emoji.

Quick toolbar in Reminders and Mail

Some apps feature an additional toolbar located right above the auto-complete bar on the QuickType keyboard. The Reminders app in iOS 12 is a good example. But in iOS 13, the redesigned Reminders app has gained an all-new quick toolbar for quickly entering times, dates, locations, flags, photos and even scanned documents to your reminders.

You also get a dedicated format bar when typing in Mail. Similar to Reminders, this provides comprehensive formatting and attachment options without having to go to another screen, including the ability to scan, insert a photo or video, add attachments and insert drawings.

Memoji sticker packs

The iOS keyboard now turns Memoji, your custom Animoji avatars, to sticker packs that you can use across the iOS, macOS and watchOS platforms. And best of all, these sticker packs are now integrated into the Messages keyboard right next to your standard emoji sets.

Just tap the new standalone Emoji key to bring up the system emoji picker, then swipe right and you’ll see a new Memoji Stickers section. “Send stickers of your favorite Animoji or your very own Memoji,” reads the feature’s description.

Auto-language detection in Dictation

The Dictation feature in iOS 13 can automatically detects which language you’re speaking, based on the keyboard languages you’ve enabled on the device (up to a maximum of four). Before iOS 13, you had to manually enable Dictation for a supported language. A list of enabled Dictation languages is in Settings → Keyboard → Dictation → Dictation Languages.

Tidibts

Users in China get adjustable handwriting keyboard height by pulling up on the tab. New predictions for Cangjie, Stroke and Handwriting keyboards bring more relevant character and emoji predictions for Cantonese users. And in the much-improved Files app, there’s a host of new keyboard shortcuts that make navigating your file even easier and almost Mac-like with many of the Finder keyboarders shortcuts now ported over to iOS.

A romanized Hindi and English bilingual keyboard is supported for users in India, including typing predictions. The Devanagari Hindi keyboard includes AI-powered typing predictions.

iOS 13 now supports all 22 Indian languages, plus 15 new Indian language keyboards. All told, the update brings a total of 38 new keyboard languages for Albanian, Assamese, Bodo, Burmese, Cantonese, Dhivehi, Dogri, Faroese, Kashmiri (Arabic, Devanagari), Kazakh, Khmer, Konkani, Kurdish (Arabic, Latin), Kyrgyz, Lao, Malay (Arabic), Manipuri (Bangla, Meetei Mayek), Maithili, Maltese, Mongolian, Nepali, Pashto, Sanskrit, Santali (Devanagari, Ol Chiki), Sindhi (Arabic, Devanagari), Sinhala, Tajik, Tongan, Turkmen, Uyghur and Uzbek (Arabic, Cyrillic, Latin).

Lastly, additional predictive typing language support brings next-word predictions to the Swedish, Dutch, Vietnamese and Arabic keyboards. Last but not least, a Thai and English bilingual dictionary and a Vietnamese and English bilingual dictionary are now available.

iOS 13 compatibility and availability

iOS 13 is compatible with the following Apple smartphone models:

  • iPhone XS
  • iPhone XS Max
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone X
  • iPhone 8
  • iPhone 8 Plus
  • iPhone 7
  • iPhone 7 Plus
  • iPhone 6s
  • iPhone 6s Plus
  • iPhone SE
  • iPod touch (7th generation)

To learn more, read Apple’s press release or visit apple.com/ios/ios-13-preview.

Have you tried out the new QuickPath keyboard in iOS 13? If so, what did you think of it?

Let us know by leaving a comment below.