Custom keyboard keep switching back to default? Here's the fix!

There is a lot of controversy over Apple's acceptance (or lack thereof) of third-party keyboards. Despite all odds, some great keyboards have been made available for us to use. It does take a few steps to get set up, but once enabled, you are free to use any third-party keyboard that you want.

Unfortunately, without a bit of further setup, your new default keyboard will switch back to Apple's standard one without cause (especially in the Messages app and Safari). There is a way to stop this from happening, a way to keep the top keyboard as your default all of the time.

With one exception! When you are entering a password, the keyboard will still automatically default to Apple's standard one. It will, however, switch back to your chosen third-party keyboard after you exit the password field.

Here's how to stop your keyboard from switching back to Apple's standard one.

How to Stop your keyboard from switching back to Apple's

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Tap Keyboard.

  1. Tap Keyboards.
  2. Tap Edit.
  3. Tap the Delete icon next to the English (or whatever language you have selected for Apple's standard keyboard).

  1. Tap Delete.
  2. Tap Done.

With Apple's standard keyboard off your list, you will never experience random switching back again.

Remember, third-party keyboards do not work in password fields. It will revert to the Apple one temporarily.

Lory is a renaissance woman, writing news, reviews, and how-to guides for iMore. She also fancies herself a bit of a rock star in her town and spends too much time reading comic books.  If she's not typing away at her keyboard, you can probably find her at Disneyland or watching Star Wars (or both).

42 Comments
  • If the Apple's standard keyboard is removed, you won't be able to reply messages in the lock screen since 3rd party keyboards cannot be used in the lock screen. And you will be left with other Apple stock keyboards (e.g. emoji and other language keyboards).
  • If you remove the Apple standard keyboard you still would be able to reply from the lock screen. Just tested it out. If you remove the emoji keyboard then you won't be able to reply with emojis from the lock screen. Tested this out on 9.3
  • Good to know! because it wasn't the case in iOS 8! Thanks!
  • How would this work for password entry? Would it just use apples keyboard anyway?
  • Yes, it says this in the article. Due to the security nature of passwords, Apple forces you to use their keyboard no matter what, which I believe is the right thing to do
  • Not true. I deleted the stock Apple keyboard yesterday, and I've replied to plenty of texts on the lock screen, since. In fact, I just texted it again, because I thought I lost my marbles after reading the comment. Just like password fields, though, Apple still forces the stock keyboard on the lock screen. Gboard rocks!
  • "Gboard rocks!" ... but, keylogger.
  • It can't be a keylogger unless you allow Full Access
  • Except for almost all of the additional features are unavailable without Full Access also... So, to recap: Gboard is a keylogger with Full Access, and has a crippled feature set without. That said, I'm still using it without Full Access. That's how bad we need home-grown Apple gesture typing.
  • Lol its funny how I figured this out yesterday by accident. I love "Gboard" and was getting annoyed by the default popping back up. Totally understand them not allowing the 3ed party keyboards for passwords though. Love the site! Sent from the iMore App
  • Don't you need the standard keyboard if you want to use dictation?
  • Yeah, and also the ability to use the keyboard as a force touch cursor. But I can leave without both on my end.
  • Ahh, yes. I see that as well. I too can live without dictation, but I do find the force touch cursor pretty useful.
  • You can slide your finger along the space bar to move the cursor if you're using Gboard.
  • Thanks! Great tip. Sent from the iMore App
  • Thanks for this, great tip!!
  • The problem I have with this approach is that it will disable autocorrect and quicktype when replying to messages from the lock screen, so while you can still do it, it's much slower.
  • I've been doing this for months. It works great.
  • Love Gboard and this article has helped me keep it front and center. Sent from the iMore App
  • Oh, I love Swiftkey. It's the best so far with all the prediction it has learned and even for Hinglish :D
  • Just wondering if I delete the stock keyboard, is there a way to add it back later if I choose? Though the add keyboard just like adding a custom keyboard?
  • Yes. It's quite easy. Just go to Settings > General > Keyboard and add a new one. English (or your default language) will be at the top as a suggested keyboard. Sent from the iMore App
  • Love this article! Having to re initiate the Google keyboard was making me nuts! Sent from the iMore App
  • The third party keyboards are missing two key things from the Apple one. Siri (voice to text) and force touch "mouse pad" ... Until they get access to those features they always feel incomplete cause I have to keep popping back to the apple keyboard to use those. Sent from the iMore App
  • Right? the "Mouse Pad" feature is too good to give up. it's one of my favorite features in general. Also, The stock keyboard is so good that you can actually type with one hand without looking and it gives you the correct words/sentences.
  • Probably the only force touch feature I regularly use. Sent from the iMore App
  • Probably the only force touch feature I regularly use. Sent from the iMore App
  • WordFlow doesn't have voice dictation but it definitely has the force touch cursor. I am using it right now in ios10. Sent from the iMore App
  • How do you get it back once it's deleted?
  • Just go on "Add new", it'll be in the list
  • Awesome, never thought to do this and it regularly goes back to the default Apple keyboard instead of Swiftkey and is such an irritation. And have never used the force touch mousepad thing on the default keyboard so no loss for me. Thanks for the tip :).
  • I am still getting kicked back to default when not in a password field occasionally. I was just in messages and had it happen. I have GBoard as my only option...
  • As a new Apple user, I'm loving all these articles! Thanks a bunch! Sent from the iMore App
  • This is an old article, but happy you guys brought it back up. It helped me out. GRACIAS!
  • After almost 7 years away from iPhone, I'm so glad to read this article. I was wondering about keyboards and a feature I enjoyed on other platforms (swipe). This article led me down the rabbit hole of custom keyboards. I am loving Microsoft Word Flow. Thanks for the tip!
  • I'm quite a fan of Google's G Board, though Wordflow is a solid keyboard as well. Not sure it's as good at swipe input though. Sent from the iMore App
  • Yes but 's implantation on the lock screen is subpar. Since it essentially uses the password keyboard, voice dictation, spell-check, smart words, etc are disabled and you're left with a very rudimentary keyboard only good for very short texts. Sent from the iMore App
  • I honestly think this is only because Apple really doesn't want you to use the keyboards. They allow you to install the keyboards, but make it painful to use. I can't think of another reason it would randomly revert back to the Apple one so often.
  • I don't think that's the case, but there's no "default" keyboard setting when you have multiple keyboards installed which is the bigger problem. It should be impossible for the Apple keyboard to show up if you've removed it, the only time it will display is on password fields and the lock screen. Not sure why it appears on the lock screen, but on password fields it's to ensure security
  • Actually, one could argue the security thing is nothing. I don't allow my keyboard full access, and would gladly disallow all internet access. If one does that, there is no security benefit. I've followed this "guide" and yet today the Apple keyboard showed up on my messages. Couldn't even swap back. Had to swipe the messages app up and reopen to get my Swype back. Sent from the iMore App
  • There's the rare possibility that a keyboard app could exploit iOS to allow it access to things when it shouldn't be able to have access, so when typing in password fields the custom keyboard is terminated completely, despite the fact that it's pretty rare that would happen. You can never be too careful with security
  • **Sorry for the long reply, just bored tbh** Right, *but* there's the possibility any app could do that. This is the reason to open source all the things. iOS could be sending passwords back, and people would never know. It could batch it back only when connected to the internet, so you can't analyze the data the phone is sending out. Not *that* difficult to simply blacklist the keyboard from the internet. As long as you are using a keyboard app from a reputable company, you should be ok. This still glitches out on me, even after removing the Apple keyboard. I don't blame Swype, I blame Apple. I really think it's intentional. I open iMessage, and Apple still shows their keyboard, with no option to switch back. I have to open "multi-tasking" and go back to the app to get my better keyboard back. Apple could fix this. Could easily be a flag that says "This app never uses passwords, so we will never need to use our keyboard if the preference is set in a different way." Beyond that, Apple could allow select password managers to go through the default keyboard. I don't like iCloud Keychain, so I use something else, I shouldn't get treated like a 2nd class user because I don't put everything with Apple, but that's what it seems Apple is doing.