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The best third-party keyboards for iPhone and iPad

Michael Simon | June 29, 2016
Let’s face it: Third-party keyboards have left Apple’s iOS keyboard in the dust. Here are our favorite picks.

Keyboard caveats, and how we tested 

I tested dozens of keyboards for this article, and slide-typing as an option was the one feature that was a must to be considered as a finalist. That beyond said, all sliding keyboards are not created equally. Since Apple doesn’t provide access to its autocorrection algorithm or dictionary, the results vary greatly between models. Even the two winners here, from companies with tremendous resources and lengthy histories of working with type, don’t quite measure up to Apple’s abilities to fix and predict words. But the gap is small enough where they can comfortably be recommended as full-time replacements.

There are a couple of caveats to going all-in with a third-party keyboard—many might feel buggy at times, and some are noticeably quicker and load more reliably than others)—but that is due in part to iOS itself, particularly when you have several keyboards installed at once. Often, iOS may not recall the last one you were using, and at times the one trying to launch can hang long enough where quitting the app is the only way to resume typing.

To unlock the best features, you’ll generally need to switch on the Allow Full Access toggle. It comes with a scary warning from Apple about your sensitive information being visible to prying eyes, but for the most part, the privacy risks are minimal. Any password or credit card field in an app or browser automatically brings up Apple’s secure keyboard (even if it’s been removed), and developers are mostly pretty transparent about how they’re using your data.

 

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