In the comments to the article about the transition from Android to iOS, the keyboard was indicated as one of the complaints against iPhone – there is not enough swipe, quick access to symbols and a digital block. At the same time, I have not met people who use a third-party keyboard on iOS, although there is such an opportunity. I just heard that they work poorly, but it is not clear why. So I decided to experiment and test on iPhone XR my favorite Fleksy keyboard, which I have used for years on Android.
To make the experiment more convincing, I decided to write this text entirely from the smartphone keyboard. At the same time, I did not limit myself to Fleksy and tried Google Keyboard with everyone's favorite swipe.
In general, third-party keyboards for iOS work the same way as in Android. You need to download the application with the keyboard from the App Store and enable it in the settings – you need to go to 'General' → 'Keyboard'. There you need to activate the new keyboard and remove the standard one.
The only difference from Android is that in iOS, when entering passwords, only the standard keyboard will be displayed. This is due to concerns about security, supposedly third-party developers can steal important data. Passwords rarely need to be entered, so this is not a problem.
When installing a third-party keyboard in iOS, it is immediately clear that it is non-standard. The keyboard stands out from the overall design of the system, has no transparency and does not adapt to the background. Whereas the standard keyboard always looks organic. For me, appearance is not critical, therefore, on the design point, there are no complaints about Fleksy on iOS.
Alternatively, Fleksy has a paid Chameleon theme, but reviews suggest that it doesn't always pick the right keyboard colors and has a delay. Therefore, I did not spend money.
On the other hand, a third-party keyboard has many advantages. I'm still used to Android that you can delete an entire word by swiping from right to left, and this is missing in iOS. Another big plus of Fleksy is a separate button for emoji, and in the standard keyboard, the tab with emoji is considered a separate language, and you have to jump over it. This is terribly infuriating. A separate line on the keyboard with numbers and quick access to symbols are also pleasing – you can make two swipes from left to right and scroll up to select other symbols. There is also a separate button with a dot. In iOS to enter numbers or symbols, you need to open an additional menu.
Fleksy even tried to copy cursor control from the standard keyboard for iOS – you need to hold down the 'space' and move your finger left or right. But with this keyboard, the cursor does not follow the finger with the same precision as in the standard one, due to the slight delay. In addition, the cursor moves only along the line, and not throughout the text. Therefore, a large paragraph will have to be skipped for a long time or poked at the right word with your finger. Also, you cannot select text using a space. So in this regard, the third-party keyboard loses.
I also noticed that Fleksy sometimes takes a little delay to open. This happens 2-3 times a day, but it can be annoying for some. From other observations, I can note bugs that appear when erasing text. Sometimes in Fleksy, instead of deleting one character, the whole word disappears or it moves a few characters to the left. This appears only when I edit already prepared text, this was not the case with a standard keyboard.
Otherwise, I did not notice any problems with typing on a third-party keyboard in iOS. For now I plan to stay on Fleksy, but I really miss normal cursor control.
To expand the experiment a bit, I installed a different Google Keyboard. It has swipe input, which so many people like, but I prefer to knock on buttons, and at the same time I have no problems with speed. But this is an experiment, so I also wrote the next part of the text using a swipe.
What I didn’t like about Google Keyboard was that the search button could not be removed. I have no idea why she is needed. Another point is that this keyboard has terrible text navigation – you also need to hold down the 'space' and move your finger to the sides, controlling the cursor. Only it works twitchingly and at an incomprehensible speed: first slowly, then sharply quickly, and then generally scrolls the whole word.
Otherwise, Google's keyboard works well – stable and without crashes. The company regularly releases updates and does not abandon development, even for a competitive system.
You can live with a third-party keyboard in iOS, especially for fans of swiping and other alternative ways of entering text. That being said, the standard keyboard works well too, even after switching from Android. Therefore, it is rare to find a person who puts himself a third-party keyboard on iPhone.
But here is an important point that I tested the keyboards on the new smartphone. In App Store reviews, you can often find complaints that the keyboard is buggy or crashes on old ones iPhone. Therefore, everything needs to be checked for yourself.
Although there are also complaints about the standard keyboard. The main one is the terrible implementation of the emoji tab, which is considered a separate language. It also lacks a quick way to delete an entire word and an additional row with numbers. Why then increase the height of the phone screen if the system does not use it in any way? But I won't get tired of praising iOS for the convenient cursor control. Write in the comments which keyboard you use on your smartphone, be it iOS or Android.