Fleksy offers sneak peek of its third-party keyboard running on Apple's iOS 8

Posted:
in iPhone edited June 2014
Popular alternative keyboard Fleksy is already running on the first beta of Apple's forthcoming iOS 8, and developers can sign up now to be among the first to test it out.




The company posted a picture to Twitter on Wednesday revealing that it already has Fleksy running on an iPhone with iOS 8. The image shows the third-party keyboard being used with Apple's native Messages application.

Developers who want to test out Fleksy can sign up at the company's website. No release date has been given, though Fleksy said it plans to be "one of the first third-party keyboards to be available" on Apple's forthcoming software update.

Fleksy will join SwiftKey and Swype, both of which have also confirmed that they plan to support the new alternative keyboard support in iOS 8.

Prior to Apple's announcement of official third-party keyboard support system-wide in iOS 8, Fleksy was already aggressively promoting its keyboard as a potential alternative for iOS developers earlier this year. Without sanctioned support for non-Apple keyboards in iOS 7, Fleksy was forced to offer a keyboard SDK to all iOS developers, giving them the option to include their keyboard on an app-by-app basis.



But starting with iOS 8, users will be able to install their own keyboards if they are not satisfied with Apple's solution. Apple has also improved its own keyboard in iOS 8 with a new feature called QuickType, which suggests words to users and adapts to their language over time.

Apple has said that security is a top priority for the company in finally allowing third-party keyboards on iOS. Before installing a keyboard in iOS 8, users are warned with the following:

"Full access allows the developer to transmit anything you type, including things you have previously typed with this keyboard. This could include sensitive information such as your credit card number or street address."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 55
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,712member
    I just want to use a Swype keyboard. Thats the one thing I really liked when I had my Android phones.
  • Reply 2 of 55
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    I stil have concerns about security with a systemwide 3rd-party keyboard. Has Apple detailed how they plan to prevent key logging?
  • Reply 3 of 55
    macvictamacvicta Posts: 346member
    What the hell, they can watch everything we type? Is that the same with third party keyboards on all platforms or an iOS-only thing?
  • Reply 4 of 55
    jason98jason98 Posts: 761member
    "Full access allows the developer to transmit anything you type, including things you have previously typed with this keyboard. This could include sensitive information such as your credit card number or street address."

    WOW. Who on earth would install a 3rd party keyboard after seeing this warning?

    Apple should have designed a much better way of making sure that anything typed stays in the phone - for example by preventing network access for custom keyboard apps.
  • Reply 5 of 55
    michael scripmichael scrip Posts: 1,912member
    jason98 wrote: »
    WOW. Who on earth would install a 3rd party keyboard after seeing this warning?

    Apple should have designed a much better way of making sure that anything typed stays in the phone - for example by preventing network access for custom keyboard apps.

    I thought that's what they said in the keynote?
  • Reply 6 of 55
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    macvicta wrote: »
    What the hell, they can watch everything we type?

    Huh? Are you talking about the suggesting being displayed at the top of the keyboard? If so, that is all done on locally on the device, just like the previous suggestion options that were done in the text field. This is not being sent to Apple's servers like with the Siri-based dictation feature.

    Or are you talking about the boilerplate warning from Apple? That's not saying the developer will record and transmit anything you type to their servers but it's certainly possible unless Apple builds in protections, which it doesn't look like they do. I'd have thought Apple would have created a special system for keyboards that would not allow such things but that warnings makes it clear that they haven't.
  • Reply 7 of 55
    morkymorky Posts: 171member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jason98 View Post





    WOW. Who on earth would install a 3rd party keyboard after seeing this warning?



    Apple should have designed a much better way of making sure that anything typed stays in the phone - for example by preventing network access for custom keyboard apps.

     

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Michael Scrip View Post





    I thought that's what they said in the keynote?

     

    Yes, that's exactly what he said in the keynote, except you can opt to allow network access after receiving the scary warning.

  • Reply 8 of 55
    redhotfuzzredhotfuzz Posts: 278member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MacVicta View Post



    What the hell, they can watch everything we type?

     

    Welcome to Android.

  • Reply 9 of 55
    I don't believe you get that scary warning right away. By default keyboards have no access to resources including network. On the screen where you allow network access is where the big scary warning is. So default settings are secure, but if you want to turn the safeguards off, Apple gives you a scary warning. In my opinion the best of both worlds.
  • Reply 10 of 55
    macvictamacvicta Posts: 346member
    solipsismx wrote: »

    Or are you talking about the boilerplate warning from Apple? That's not saying the developer will record and transmit anything you type to their servers but it's certainly possible unless Apple builds in protections, which it doesn't look like they do. I'd have thought Apple would have created a special system for keyboards that would not allow such things but that warnings makes it clear that they haven't.

    Bingo.
  • Reply 11 of 55
    oomuoomu Posts: 127member
    a third party keyboard (as on android or anything else) is a software.

    That software could do ANYTHING with what your type and try to manipulate bugs of the operating system or whatever reviews.

    for iOS 8, the system will warm if a keyboard want to use internet (for remote treatment for example, to load new kind of dictionaries, or whatever) and ask if you authorize or not.

    But yes, you should be careful like with ANY software and be sure it's from a well known developer with no weird history.
  • Reply 12 of 55
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    Craig Federighi said everything is local to the device unless you chose otherwise.
  • Reply 13 of 55
    michael scripmichael scrip Posts: 1,912member
    morky wrote: »
    Yes, that's exactly what he said in the keynote, except you can opt to allow network access after receiving the scary warning.

    Gotcha.

    Yeah I just watched the keynote again. I like how he said "by default, it runs in the most restricted sandbox"

    At least Apple is thinking about it! Plus... any 3rd-party keyboard would have to pass Apple's app approval process. That's good.

    Just curious though... what sort of stuff would you gain by letting a keyboard have network access?
  • Reply 14 of 55
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 1,793member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post





    Or are you talking about the boilerplate warning from Apple? That's not saying the developer will record and transmit anything you type to their servers but it's certainly possible unless Apple builds in protections, which it doesn't look like they do. I'd have thought Apple would have created a special system for keyboards that would not allow such things but that warnings makes it clear that they haven't.

     

    What are you talking about? That's EXACTLY what Apple did here. It's not a "boilerplate" warning it's an access dialog - the user has to give explicit permission to grant the keyboard access to the network.

  • Reply 15 of 55
    genovellegenovelle Posts: 809member
    solipsismx wrote: »
    Huh? Are you talking about the suggesting being displayed at the top of the keyboard? If so, that is all done on locally on the device, just like the previous suggestion options that were done in the text field. This is not being sent to Apple's servers like with the Siri-based dictation feature.

    Or are you talking about the boilerplate warning from Apple? That's not saying the developer will record and transmit anything you type to their servers but it's certainly possible unless Apple builds in protections, which it doesn't look like they do. I'd have thought Apple would have created a special system for keyboards that would not allow such things but that warnings makes it clear that they haven't.
    People don't pay attention to warnings. After market keyboard like these process on their own servers that has always been the case. That's how keep their code out of the eyes of their competitors. So everything you type goes across the internet and may be sitting on someone's poorly secured server somewhere or the in the case of android the server of the hacker that pirated the game and put it on the Play store until someone figures it out and notifies Google.
  • Reply 16 of 55
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,085member

    Don't see why the hell a KB needs network access in the 1st place?

  • Reply 17 of 55
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    mjtomlin wrote: »
    What are you talking about? That's EXACTLY what Apple did here. It's not a "boilerplate" warning it's an access dialog - the user has to give explicit permission to grant the keyboard access to the network.

    That really isn't a lot of information. What if I install a 3rd-party keyboard and give it access to grab a special dictionary. Will it always then have internet access all the time or will that network access be immediately revoked after that task is complete, without me having to go into Settings and manually disable network access?

    How has Apple sandboxed this keyboard from other apps. For instance, does allowing it to be used for Contacts also give it access to its contacts? I assume not, but again I haven't seen anything detailing how it's compartmentalizing it's functionality.
  • Reply 18 of 55
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post



    I stil have concerns about security with a systemwide 3rd-party keyboard. Has Apple detailed how they plan to prevent key logging?

     

    Yes, they have. The keyboard is strictly sandboxed, can only access keystrokes, is not aware of what's going on in the app beyond those characters, and has no network connection to send data anywhere. If certain keyboards use a "cloud brain" for somethign valid, they can request network access via a one-time popup--and then it's in your control whether to allow it or not. I'd pass on a keyboard like that, personally.

     

    While Android pushes half-baked "First!" features out the door into the wild west and lets users suffer the mess, Apple quietly builds the security infrastructure to do them right and safely. Android is about the sizzle... Apple is about the steak. And this week, with relatively little sizzle, a lot of steak was served!

     

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post





    That really isn't a lot of information. What if I install a 3rd-party keyboard and give it access to grab a special dictionary. Will it always then have internet access all the time or will that network access be immediately revoked after that task is complete, without me having to go into Settings and manually disable network access?


     

    Some good ideas--but I think you've invented kind of a complex system there, and complexity, in practice, is the enemy of security. We don't know all the details yet of course, but you can expect that if you want a "middle ground" where network access is only temporary, you will have to choose to turn it back off in Settings. That's a real edge case though, and one more simply solved by the developer including the needed dictionaries right in the original store download.

     

    Remember that iOS 8 details (still in flux) are under NDA until fall. We'll have to await later reviews.

  • Reply 19 of 55
    pazuzupazuzu Posts: 1,728member
    KeyBeats by Dr Dre.
  • Reply 20 of 55
    jason98jason98 Posts: 761member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post

     

    Don't see why the hell a KB needs network access in the 1st place?


     

    Exactly, network should be disabled all time. All extra dictionary and bundles could be just installed along with an app - not after.

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