Apple to allow third-party keyboards onto iOS?

Developers are eagerly anticipating Monday, when Apple will debut the next iteration of iOS to the world. According to All Things D, many believe that Apple will open iOS in unprecidented ways, including allowing third-party keyboards like SwiftKey to come to Apple devices.

Among those eagerly hoping for good news is TouchType, the maker of the popular SwiftKey software keyboard for Android phones.

Customization of system features such as the keyboard has long been a hallmark of Android, with iOS developers who wanted to make custom keyboards limited to bolting on special toolbars over the iOS keyboard. But comments made by Apple CEO Tim Cook last week at the D11 conference indicated that third-party access to iOS would increase in the future. Other developers have speculated that Apple could give developers more access to the lock screen, more Passbook features, or the push notification system for features like notification syncing.

We'll find out exactly what Apple has in store for developers with iOS 7 at next week at WWDC.

Source: All Things D, via: Android Central

Joseph Keller

Joseph Keller is the former Editor in Chief of iMore. An Apple user for almost 20 years, he spends his time learning the ins and outs of iOS and macOS, always finding ways of getting the most out of his iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac.

  • That would be a great improvement. Swiftkey and Swype are great keyboards. But, personally, I am fine with the iOS keyboard. Though it would be nice to see Apple open up just a little.
  • If Apple were to obviate my never having to use an Android device again with giving me unprecedented customization... that might be interesting. I tried using an Android device and I was horribly, horribly disappointed in the Android OS as a whole. Looks like I'll be iOS-only now. :)
  • May I ask what was wrong with android.. I jumped from ios (iPhone 4) to android (gs2) and have never looked back..For me ios was too restrictive where as on android am free to do what I want.. Ie use it as a simple an ios ie just have a grid of apps or take advantage of the customisation... Not trying to make a. Fanboy war I really am just asking why you disliked it and what device you use.. That's the bad and good thing about android that there are plenty of choices for a phone but depending on what device you pick can impact your experience.
  • Fwiw, my wife had an android phone, an htc, and I hated it. It was buggy as hell, I found it confusing to navigate, it would randomly disconnect from wifi and connect over 3G and just drain data while not in use. Pictures that she took would just disappear somewhere into the phone and randomly resurface. It was just a weird, and very disappointing device.
    Then she got a nexus 7 and its great. Had none of the issues that we saw on the htc, it's smooth, everything winds up in the spot where it's expected, there's no 3G so there is no issue there, but when it connects to wifi, it stays connected. Only gripe about it is the battery dies pretty quickly and takes for freaking ever to recharge. It's not quite enough to get me to ditch my iPad for a nexus tab, but it's getting close. If the next iPhone / iOS version, isn't something different, I honestly think I'm going to get one of the "pure android" phones that are coming out. I don't think there's anything wrong with the iPhone, but after 5 years, I feel like I have the exact same phone, I'm just getting bored with it. In answer to your question, I think at this point, the biggest issue facing android is the inconsistency. Someone who goes and checks out that htc that we had is going to have a bad taste in their mouth from android and might not ever check it out again whereas someone, like you, who gets a galaxy loves it out of the box and doesn't face the same issues will sing its praises. It all goes back to the fragmentation issue, in this case the fragmentation is giving different perceptions to different users depending on the platform and skin they get as opposed to what another user gets, but in the end, they are all branded as android devices.
  • Agree 100% with your last paragraph,exactly my thoughts which is why I don't like the idea of everything being put under the android name..yes they run android as a base but they have been modified heavily that they are essentially there own OS.. Just like with Linux where there are other os built off it are not called Linux I think the Same should be for android, tw, sense etc are basically there own is imo and they should be seen as that.. It annoys me when I read comments saying android is rubbish which is true but at the same time amdroid is amazing, its just sad that due to fragmentation that all depends on the device you have.
    As for the nexus 7 I like mines, thought not a fan of the on screen buttons and feel that the tegra 3 chip is rather weak.battery for me is great but as always with android tablets, the apps just are not there like they are with the brother has the iPad and when I use its a huge jump in app experience. my only issue with the iPad is that holding it for long period time gets annoying due to the weight but rumours suggest that will not be an issue with the next versions.for me personally I think the 7-8" size is perfect..thankfully I just use my tablet for browsing,gaming and video therefore I can enjoy the nexus 7 but for those expecting more need to look elsewhere.
  • 1) I had high expectations for Android, having heard over and over and over how amazing Android is, and then I get this Nexus 7 and I feel totally ripped off and have no end of issues with it. And #2 is the apps just aren't there to the level that they are on iOS. I can get any number of apps that aren't just phone apps on a tablet like the iPad, but I cannot say that about the Android ecosystem.
  • Swiftkey is one of the primary apps I miss while using iOS in place of Android.
  • Yes, I love the way my iPhone, iPad and MacBook Air all sync perfectly.
    However, I have always hated the small keyboard of the iPhone, and love the way Swiftkey and Swype work.
  • I hope this is true. The keyboard on iOS is so bad, especially the autocorrect and auto suggestion.
  • It's funny that you say that, as most reviews say that it is one of the best typing experiences available on any smartphone.
  • The typing experience is fine. The autocorrect and the autosuggest are way better with an app like Swiftkey. Apple waits to suggest a word until you're like two letters away from completing it. Why bother?
  • If I had swiftkey on my iPhone it would probably eliminate the itch I feel to buy a Google edition GS4 or HTC One.
  • All I want in iOS right now is: - keyboard shortcut that ALWAYS work and dont randomly stop working (bug) - turn off notifications so they don't keep blaring in my ear while I'm on a phone call (feature request)
  • I like the ios keyboard and I probably won't change but I'm all for openness and to allow tweaking of features like that. Its the one area where Android is way better than IOS in my opinion. You can allow freedom without opening the gate to all kinds of problems. I hope Apple has finally seen that and will let devs and people tinker a bit.
  • Swiftkey is great, i would download it in a flash, love my ip5 but the one thing i would love to change is the keyboard , it is like something from the 80s
  • Hope im not in the minority but I LOVE the Ios keyboard. although having others on Ios would be cool!
  • I want this keyboard on my iPhone
  • Why not just jailbreak and install ColorKeyboard?
  • I would LOVE to see iOS open up a little and keep up to date with Android's innovation. In saying that, Im lucky enough to work in an industry I carry with me two paid for smartphones, an iPhone 5 and a Galaxy S4 and using them both on a daily basis, I find myself keep going back to the iOS. The Android platform is visually stunning, customization is awesome and it's open OS is so nice to have, BUT I find it glitchy, and the OS is nowhere near the "fluid-ness" of the iOS. I guess the smoothness of navigating through the device has spoiled me on my iPhone. If Apple could just open up a little to keep fresh, iOS will be back as #1. Overall, I still think they are.
  • There are tons of things that need to be addressed with iOS and adding swift key should definitely be last on the list.
  • Tomorrow's iOS = Today's Android
  • I hope they do. it is always good to have other options and the stock keyboard is kind of lacking in some regards so this would be a welcome addition to IOS7
  • The title of this post, even though a question, is extremely misleading.
  • Would love to see SwiftKey or Swipe on the iPhone. Sent from the iMore App
  • People should try swiftkey before saying they don't need it.
    My iphone 5 is an amazing phone , and if we are able to change
    The keyboard ,it would make it super amazing. Don't be close
    Minded to say that you are not gonna change your
    Keyboard without trying something else.I have used
    Swiftkey in the past , and I can tell you , it is the best
    Phone keyboard in the market.
  • Did it format that post for you?
  • I was in the minority when I used Android & from reading these comments, it looks like I'll be in the minority now that I'm iOS-only on the keyboard issue. I always hated Swipe/SwiftKey/etc & am more than content with the regular keyboard with autocorrect/complete. I can understand 100% how people love 'em, but just never worked out for me. Def great to have options tho