Big Shift Keyboard 5 update makes typing easier on ALL Apple Watches

Shift Keyboard Graphic
Shift Keyboard Graphic (Image credit: Adam Foot)

What you need to know

  • Shift Keyboard 5 is available for download from the App Store now.
  • This update includes new smart autocorrect and suggestions algorithms for easier text entry.
  • An improved swipe keyboard is part of the new update.

Launching a big update to your Apple Watch keyboard in the days of Apple Watch Series 7 might not seem like the best thing to do, but that's the situation developer Adam Foot finds himself in with Shift Keyboard 5. And while Apple has added its own keyboard to Apple Watch Series 7, that's the only place it will be. Shift Keyboard, by contrast, works everywhere. And you should give it a try right now.

Designed to make it easier and faster to type on your Apple Watch, Shift Keyboard now supports the latest watchOS 8 features while also building on functionality that was already there. This new update includes new smart autocorrect and suggestions algorithms for easier text entry, for example. An improved layout means those with smaller watches will be able to type more easily, and more accurately, too.

Going back to those watchOS 8 features for a moment, Foot says that Shift Keyboard now dims itself instead of just showing the time when you move your wrist.

watchOS 8 added the ability for developers to hide content in their app when an Apple Watch is facing down and the app is still open, instead of just showing the time as per watchOS 7. Shift Keyboard takes advantage of this by hiding the current typed message when the Apple Watch is dimmed.

There are a bunch more changes, too.

  • Improved swipe keyboard that will more accurately accept swipes and predict what you were typing.
  • Added the ability to add your own custom words to the dictionary.
  • Devices running watchOS 8 or higher and have an Always-On display, will have their current message blurred out when their wrist is down.
  • Improved corrections picker when you turn the Digital Crown.
  • Improved access to numbers, symbols and global characters.
  • Improved accessibility for visually impaired users who rely on VoiceOver.
  • Shift Keyboard is now localised in additional languages including British English, Hebrew, Korean, Romanian & Vietnamese.

That isn't all of it, either. Newly updated complications fit existing watch faces better and even the app icon has changed. More importantly, Shift Keyboard works on any Apple Watch running watchOS 7 or newer, so you can use it on your old Apple Watch. The new watch might be the best Apple Watch ever, but you don't need it if you want a keyboard, that's for sure.

You can download Shift Keyboard and take it for a spin right now and it's priced at $2.99.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.