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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 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.

  • Great news! Access to third-party keyboards was the single biggest reason I went with Android instead of iOS when I switched from BB.
  • Wow, Apple broadening their playbook for sure.
  • Welcome to 2008!!
  • 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.
  • Honestly Swype does nothing for me. I have had Android phones for jobs (Never Personal) and I cannot stand swipe.
  • "Swipe" input is certainly not for everyone, but don't discount keyboards able to do things besides swipe.
  • Wait so third party keyboards can only be used to type in WiFi passwords?? Posted via iMore App
  • 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.
  • Ah got it. Wasn't reading that in the proper context. Thanks for that. I knew my thinking didn't make sense. Lol Posted via iMore App
  • 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.
  • OMG YES!!!! I can use SwiftKey!! Best keyboard out there. used it when I had an android phone!
  • I wonder if Apple will now claim they invented it, too.
  • 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. Posted via iMore App
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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".