How to install a third-party keyboard on an iPhone or iPad running iOS 8

Posted:
in iPhone edited August 2015
With iOS 8 now available for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, users can for the first time ever install third-party keyboards that can be utilized system-wide for new ways of inputting text and other characters.







Custom keyboards are now available for download on the iOS App Store. These keyboard extensions function like regular apps, adding an icon to the user's home screen, though enabling the keyboard systemwide requires a few more steps.

After installing a keyboard from the App Store, users must launch the Settings application, then choose General, then scroll down to Keyboard. Select Keyboards, and then choose "Add New Keyboard," and third-party keyboards are presented in their own separate section.

Apple warns users that using third-party keyboards gives developers access to all of the data the user types. Tapping on the keyboard name adds it to the list of currently available input methods.

Users can tap the keyboard name from here and check a box for "Allow Full Access." Doing so presents the user with another prompt that reads:

"Full access allows the developer of this keyboard 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."

If the user chooses to accept this prompt and allow the keyboard, it can now be accessed systemwide. When the virtual keyboard pops up, simply tap the globe icon in the bottom left corner to cycle through available keyboards, or hold down on the icon to pop up a list.

Keyboards can be uninstalled at any time from the Keyboards section of the Settings app. Choose the Edit option in the upper right corner to bring up the ability to delete keyboards, including Apple's own default option with QuickType.

As of Wednesday's launch of iOS 8, third-party keyboards available on the App Store include TouchPal (shown here, free), Swype ($0.99), TextExpander ($4.99), Fleksy ($0.99), and SwiftKey (free).


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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 55
    malaxmalax Posts: 1,598member
    Anyone who clicks "ok" after reading a warning like that deserves to have their identities stolen. Thanks for this article; no thanks for add-in keyboards.
  • Reply 2 of 55
    With the addition of voice text, I'll be using the keyboard a lot less. But I was still considering a 3rd party keyboard, mainly because I can now. However, after reading this article and the warning you get when you add a keyboard, I can safely say I'll be sticking with the stock keyboard. I am not into giving out info to 3rd parties.
  • Reply 3 of 55
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by malax View Post



    Anyone who clicks "ok" after reading a warning like that deserves to have their identities stolen. Thanks for this article; no thanks for add-in keyboards.

     

    I agree--I'd have to REALLY trust a company first (and that could happen eventually) before allowing "full access."

     

    But that's not ALL add-on keyboards. I'd like a list of those that do NOT require "full access." Those are the ones I'll be looking at.

     

    I know full access allows cloud AI and other legitimate things, but it's not worth it to me--not for simply customizing my keyboard.

  • Reply 4 of 55
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,471member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by malax View Post



    Anyone who clicks "ok" after reading a warning like that deserves to have their identities stolen. Thanks for this article; no thanks for add-in keyboards.

     

    And when something bad happens who will get the blame? It won’t be the third party keyboard developer that’s for sure. 

  • Reply 5 of 55
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,317member
    Just tried the touchpal keyboard on my iPad. It's trash.
  • Reply 6 of 55
    droidftwdroidftw Posts: 1,009member
    slurpy wrote: »
    Just tried the touchpal keyboard on my iPad. It's trash.
    SwiftKey is probably the best 3rd party keyboard on Android. Give that a try and forget about the rest.
  • Reply 7 of 55
    add a heyboard and get a malicious keylogger too! YEAH

    I remember when I was younger and I got my first Macintosh, I'd spend many hours trying out every different font, feature, background pattern, you name it. After a few years as I matured I lost my fascination with every bell and whistle. Seems most Android nerds haven't grown out of that stage. They will eventually until then we have to put up with the obnoxious whipper snappers!

    We could play a new game , which is every time a new feature comes out that copies Android we can brag about it like its new and Apple invented it first, just to annoy them. Oh look a big screen whoa that new!
  • Reply 8 of 55

    I just installed iOS 8 and went to look for the new keyboards. Searching for "Swype" or "Swype Nuance" and Swift or "SwiftKey" or "SwiftKey Keyboard" is not helpful. The result is for items that aren't made by Nuance or SwiftKey. That's bad news and is going to give the legit keyboards a bad reputation.

  • Reply 9 of 55

    Just tried SwiftKey and Fleksy.  Neither would work until I gave them full access.  Subsequently removing this access prevented them working again.  Both removed, my foray into the world of replaceable keyboards is done.  

  • Reply 10 of 55
    I’m testing the new Swiftkey keyboard…

    [SIZE=7]????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
    [/SIZE]


    edit: Oops. My mistake, that's the Taylor Swift keyboard.
  • Reply 11 of 55
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 9,233member

    Call me old fashioned, but the plain old default Apple keyboard suits me just fine.

     

    Some of those third party keyboards look confusing.

     

    I don't need any word suggestions from an app as to what to type. I have a brain and I also have fingers that can be used to convey my thoughts into keystrokes, and I am quite good at it, and quite quick at it too, just using the regular Apple keyboard. I'm not a fan of those swyping keyboards, but if other people want to use them, now they can, so go right ahead!

  • Reply 12 of 55
    droidftwdroidftw Posts: 1,009member
    I don't understand the apprehension to 3rd party keyboards. In the past everyone has trusted Apple's ecosystem and their app approval screening process. So now some people no longer trust these safety measures?
  • Reply 13 of 55
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,896member

    Huge disappointment

     

    Why did it take until now for this information to surface?

  • Reply 14 of 55

    Any word on why the stock iOS keyboard doesn't support gestures?

     

    I really liked Swype when it came out, but then the stock Google keyboard added gesture typing, and it works really well, so I don't have to think about the security any more.

     

    That said, Nuance is completely trustworthy, IMO. I'm an engineer for a major defense contractor, and have worked with Nuance on many projects -- they are not going to be collecting keystrokes from anyone. That was also the company that did the voice recognition for Siri, right?

  • Reply 15 of 55
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,896member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DroidFTW View Post



    I don't understand the apprehension to 3rd party keyboards. In the past everyone has trusted Apple's ecosystem and their app approval screening process. So now some people no longer trust these safety measures?

    Oh, we trust the safety measures. We don't trust inactivating the safety measures. Giving third parties "Full Access" is b.s.

     

    In fine print at the very bottom, Fleksy's configuration page reads, "Keyboard apps require full access to sync your preferences." Well, I don't want my preferences synced, at the risk of revealing everything I type to a third party. None of Fleksy's preferences can be changed without enabling full access. And that is just complete B.S.

  • Reply 16 of 55
    droidftw wrote: »
    I don't understand the apprehension to 3rd party keyboards. In the past everyone has trusted Apple's ecosystem and their app approval screening process. So now some people no longer trust these safety measures?

    I do not believe it is anything to do with the process and the ecosystem but more the fact that some of these keyboards behave like a keylogger. I just find it incredibly disturbing that there is no way for that stuff to be encrypted why does the developer need it? And I have to seriously question it because Apple cares so much about security. Like how is this okay with them?

    Also think about the people who might be authors and use their iPads to write their novels and other work. Imagine some third-party developer would have a new best seller before it's even released in all its draft formats? I just don't know how anybody would be comfortable enough to give some third-party app developer a copy of every single bit of input you type on your phone.

    I'm fairly happy with things the way they've been. And when I had android way back when I never felt the need to get any other extra keyboards so really it's never been my thing. However I did give flecksy a try a couple months ago. The experience wasn't memorable it was deleted quickly. Maybe because I saw that it needed full access and I said screw this?
  • Reply 17 of 55
    Originally Posted by Cpsro View Post

    Why did it take until now for this information to surface?



    What’s a disappointment? What to surface? We’ve known about the keylogger aspect since the announcement of iOS 8.

  • Reply 18 of 55
    lkrupp wrote: »
    And when something bad happens who will get the blame? It won’t be the third party keyboard developer that’s for sure. 

    Seeing as how the whole iCloud thing happened without 3rd party keyboards, how bad could it get?
  • Reply 19 of 55
    cpsro wrote: »
    [SIZE=24px]Huge disappointment[/SIZE]

    Why did it take until now for this information to surface?

    You obviously weren't paying attention. All this was discussed before. Missing from this article is the fact that when the user is typing sensitive information (CC numbers, and passwords) the system switches to the stock keyboard. I think Apple has thought this through, and wouldn't have allowed the keyboards if they weren't sure of a user's security in using one.
  • Reply 20 of 55
    ryannej wrote: »
    I do not believe it is anything to do with the process and the ecosystem but more the fact that some of these keyboards behave like a keylogger. I just find it incredibly disturbing that there is no way for that stuff to be encrypted why does the developer need it? And I have to seriously question it because Apple cares so much about security. Like how is this okay with them?

    Also think about the people who might be authors and use their iPads to write their novels and other work. Imagine some third-party developer would have a new best seller before it's even released in all its draft formats? I just don't know how anybody would be comfortable enough to give some third-party app developer a copy of every single bit of input you type on your phone.

    I'm fairly happy with things the way they've been. And when I had android way back when I never felt the need to get any other extra keyboards so really it's never been my thing. However I did give flecksy a try a couple months ago. The experience wasn't memorable it was deleted quickly. Maybe because I saw that it needed full access and I said screw this?

    They're not getting a copy of every single thing you type.

    http://swiftkey.com/en/privacy/
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