How to customize the color, background, and theme of your iPhone keyboard

Learn how to customize the color, background, and theme of your iPhone keyboard with these simple steps, and make it unique to your style.

Four iPhone mockups showing keyboards of various colors, themes, and backgrounds

Though there isn’t a simple option to change the default keyboard color on your iPhone, you can use a couple of easy workarounds to stop using the standard white iOS keyboard, and spice it up with colors, or even a background picture.

Option 1: Use iOS Dark Mode

You already know this if you’re a long-time iPhone or iPad user. But if you’re new to iOS, follow these steps to turn on Dark Mode, which will change the color of your keyboard from white to gray/black:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap Display & Brightness.
  3. Tap the box for Dark appearance.
  4. Now, open Notes, Messages, or an app where you can type. You will notice that, along with the other elements, the keyboard has also switched its look from white to dark.
Dark keyboard on iPhone

For more details, we have a separate tutorial that can tell you all about Dark Mode and some quick ways to enable or disable it.

Option 2. Use a third-party keyboard

Since the stock Apple keyboard doesn’t offer any visual customization (apart from the one we mentioned above), you will have to rely on third-party keyboard apps, which will allow you to change the color, use a picture background, or set beautiful keyboard themes as the background.

The App Store has many keyboard apps, but SwiftKey and Gboard are the finest when it comes to having the best typing experience, along with excellent customizations. So, in this tutorial, we will show you how to change the keyboard background using these two apps. Let’s begin!

  1. Start by downloading Microsoft SwiftKey or Google’s Gboard for free from the iPhone App Store.
  2. Once the download completes, open the app and finish their basic setup. If you need help, we have explained the process in this tutorial.
  3. Once that’s done, follow the steps below for SwiftKey or Gboard to use custom themes and backgrounds.


  1. Open the SwiftKey app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap Themes.
  3. Pick one of the pre-made options from here. You will find keyboards of various colors, background patterns, color gradients, and more.
  4. To use a picture from your Photos app as the keyboard background, tap the plus button (+) next to My Theme. After that, select an image, drag & zoom to adjust it. Finally, set the background brightness, key pop-up color, and key background. With all done, tap Save, and now this is your iPhone keyboard with the custom photo.
Keyboard colors and themes in SwiftKey on iPhone


  1. Go inside the Gboard app and tap Themes.
  2. Choose from the default white and black options, or pick one under Landscape, Light gradient, or Dark gradient.
  3. Tap the plus button (+) under the Custom heading to set your photo as the keyboard background. Now pick an image and customize it precisely as per your preference. Finally, tap Done.
Custom theme and color settings for Gboard on iPhone

What next?

Once you have set the desired keyboard inside the keyboard app, all that remains is to use it. For that, you have two options:

1) Open Notes, Messages, or any app where the keyboard comes up. Now, touch & hold the globe icon and pick SwiftKey or Gboard as your keyboard going forward.

You will see the customized colorful keyboard on the screen and type using it.

Tap and hold the globe icon to switch to other keyboard on iPhone

2) If you start loving SwiftKey or Gboard or are annoyed with the stock iOS keyboard coming up on the screen, you can follow the easy steps to set the desired third-party app as the default iPhone keyboard. After this, the un-customizable iOS keyboard won’t disturb you by appearing on the screen out of nowhere.

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