iOS 8 provides support for third-party keyboards

iOS 8 provides support for third-party keyboards

iOS 8 will feature support for system-wide, third-party keyboards. It will now be possible to install keyboards like SwiftKey, Fleksy, and more as your default option throughout iOS.

The demo used Swype, a keyboard that allows you to swipe your finger over the keyboard rather than lifting and tapping each letter. Keyboards will be a part a part of iOS 8's new extensibility support. They will also be sandboxed, and can only be opened up for things like network access with the permission of the user.

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Joseph Keller

Joseph Keller is a news reporter for iMore. He's also chilling out and having a sandwich.

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There are 16 comments. Add yours.

eahinrichsen says:

Great news! Access to third-party keyboards was the single biggest reason I went with Android instead of iOS when I switched from BB.

Illustrator Joe says:

Wow, Apple broadening their playbook for sure.

Analog Spirit says:

Cue Händel's Messiah. "Hallelujah!"

I've been sorely missing gesture keyboards e.g. Swype & SwiftKey since I switched from Android back to iOS. This is awesome news.

erikbock says:

Honestly Swype does nothing for me. I have had Android phones for jobs (Never Personal) and I cannot stand swipe.

TenshiNo says:

"Swipe" input is certainly not for everyone, but don't discount keyboards able to do things besides swipe.

mchockeyvette27 says:

Wait so third party keyboards can only be used to type in WiFi passwords??

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eahinrichsen says:

No, "and can only be opened up for things like network access with the permission of the user" means that the keyboard application itself will only get network access if you give it permission. Most third-party keyboards have online components so that they can learn your personal vocabulary from your social sites, and some automatically import currently trending words (proper names that are in the news, nearby location names, etc). It looks like iOS will keep those options off by default, which is as it should be.

mchockeyvette27 says:

Ah got it. Wasn't reading that in the proper context. Thanks for that. I knew my thinking didn't make sense. Lol

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Dev from tipb says:

Swype is one of the main reasons my wife is on an Android phone instead of an iOS one -- perhaps this will win her over.

mikenyc2 says:

OMG YES!!!!

I can use SwiftKey!! Best keyboard out there. used it when I had an android phone!

Ommadawn says:

I wonder if Apple will now claim they invented it, too.

WestonCory says:

Wonder how many quote 'mainstream' iOS users will actually use third party keyboard over the stock iOS keyboard. I'm guessing probably not many. It's going to be reserved for the few that switched from Android to iOS or from iOS to Android and back to iOS.

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Rollingrock says:

I'm willing to bet that the majority of iOS users that get a taste of swipe texting will use it and it'll be game over for the stock keyboard.

TenshiNo says:

Forget "swipe". Anytime I have to type anything on a friend's iPhone, I wonder how they get anything done with the stock iOS keyboard. Just simple stuff like long-press for symbols and numbers is a huge time saver.

TenshiNo says:

I wonder if this means that Apple will be amending their app policy, where it says that apps are not allowed to "replicate functionality already found in iOS". Seems like they would have to remove that clause, or at least make keyboards a "special case".