Upgrade Your iPhone's Keyboard
Since the release of iOS 8, the iPhone has had the ability to add special keyboards. Now, the App Store is rife with options for all sorts of added functionality and style. You can use third-party keyboard apps to send and search GIF or emoji files, translate text, type with one hand and more. You'll want to check out these 10 iOS keyboards.
But before you can use a third-party keyboard on your iPhone, you'll need to give the app access. Start by going to iPhone Settings > General > Keyboards > Add New Keyboard, and then select the app in question.
Google's new iOS keyboard, Gboard, employs the company's powerful search engine, as well as emoji, gif and photo search engines. The app will suggest links from previous Googling you've done, to make it easy to share Cards via iMessage. It also features Glide typing, meaning you can drag your finger around the screen to input individual keys.
SwiftKey's whole shtick is that it learns from what you type and how you type. You drag your finger around the screen to input various letters, but the autocomplete is pretty uncannily accurate. The more you use this keyboard, the better it gets. This app also features multilingual translations (37 and counting) and comes with more than 800 emojis.
Word Flow (Free)
Microsoft's Word Flow features Arc mode, which makes one-handed typing easy by putting the keyboard in a semicircle to the bottom right of the screen. It also features a predictive typing engine to improve its autocomplete suggestions. You can customize the background with your own photos or use one of the preloaded themes.
Swype (99 cents)
Learning from how and what you type, Swype supports — you guessed it — swipe typing, but it also packs an emoji keyboard and is updated constantly to incorporate trending new phrases into its autocomplete suggestions. You can manually add or delete words from your personal dictionary and use special gestures to input symbols, punctuation and caps. For your 99 cents, you'll also get the ability to customize your keyboard layout (QWERTY, QWERTZ or AZERTY).
Fleksy offers all sorts of extensions to make this keyboard app more powerful. You can add a number row or hot keys, make your spacebar a cursor controller and much more. This colorful keyboard app lets you make your own theme, or you can choose from the 35 existing options. (You can also buy more through in-app purchases.) Fleksy features hundreds of emojis and stickers, and you can add punctuation with a finger swipe.
Bitmoji Keyboard (Free)
You probably already know people who are obsessed with Bitmoji Keyboard. Through this fun app, you create your own avatar, which you can then place in various settings to create a unique message that is uniquely personalized. It also connects to the existing Bitstrips avatar you may have already created on Facebook.
GIF Keyboard (Free)
Because a static image or phrase can't always capture your true message, the GIF Keyboard gives you access to 1 million GIFs that can be entered immediately into your chats. You also can use this app to create collections of your favorite animated moments. This one connects to Facebook Messenger, iMessage, WhatsApp, Twitter and emails.
Translate Keyboard Pro ($9.99)
At $9.99, Translate Keyboard Pro is on the expensive side for iOS keyboards. But it could be a very important tool for international travelers. Using this app, you type in one language, and the text changes into one of 91 other languages. Translate Keyboard Pro works with a ton of apps (Facebook, Twitter, iMessage, email, Viber, WhatsApp, Kakao, Talk, WeChat, Instagram, Snapchat and more). It might even help you learn a new language.
FancyKey Pro (Free)
FancyKey Pro seems perfectly named. It's elaborate, decorative, gaudy and lavish. In the app, you can earn virtual currency by doing things like recommending the app to others or checking in. You then use that currency to buy themes, complete with sound effects and animations. You can also make your own. Plus, this app boasts a powerful autocorrect feature, swiping support, emojis and one-handed mode.
Do you miss the ASCII days when ¯_(ツ)_/¯ was everything? Keyboard Pro can transport you back in time by making it easy to text your emotes in old-school style. The app features 100 graphics and symbols, and can even write upside-down text. To expand your library of options, however, you'll have to make in-app purchases.