iPhone 3rd party keyboard devs: why the bug that intermittently makes them not show up is still unfixed?

Discussion in 'iOS 9' started by behrangsa, Oct 2, 2015.

  1. behrangsa macrumors newbie

    Jun 10, 2007
    iOS 8 was released on September 17, 2014. It had this infuriating bug that had made 3rd party keyboards not show up every now and then.

    This could manifest itself in many ways: swiping down to enter something in the search field, clicking on the share button in Mobile Safari to post something to Twitter, etc. and even when focusing on a text field in an app to write something (e.g. Safari's address bar, Calendar, Mail, Notes – everywhere).

    I have installed Swype, SwiftKey, and recently Next and they all have this issue.

    Is this happening due to one or more bugs in the iOS SDK? Or is this due to bugs in the code for the said keyboards?

    It's been more than a year since then and iOS 9 and this has not been fixed yet.

    I even asked about this issue here on Twitter, but the only response was from the SwiftKet guys (kudos to them) and it was this:

    We’ve spoken with Apple about various issues, so hopefully we’re both working to improve things :)

    Which was not very helpful.

    Does anybody have any "insider" information about what's causing this issue and what is preventing Apple and these 3rd party keyboard developers from fixing this?
  2. Mercenary macrumors 65816


    Sep 17, 2012
    It's a memory thing as since having my 6s swiftkey has been 100% perfect. No more no shows.
  3. belfong macrumors member


    Sep 27, 2015
    Next keyboard is free today. I'm surprise it was not retweeted or have any mentioned in forums. Is this not a popular keyboard anymore?
  4. gordon1234 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 23, 2010
    I've gotten it a couple times on the 6s. I suspect there are multiple issues at play. For instance, the Messages app has some specific problems that don't seem to occur in other apps (switching to the default keyboard every time the phone is unlocked while Messages is frontmost, for example.)

    I have a strong suspicion that the most common one we seem to see, where the keyboard just randomly fails to show up, is a timing issue related to the keyboard being a separate process that may or may not be loaded into memory at any given time. For years and years, the keyboard has been a reliable static element that is always available immediately in memory. By contrast, third-party keyboards exist as separate processes that are loaded on demand. I suspect there are a lot of deeply coded assumptions about how the keyboard is supposed to behave. It can take some time to load a third-party keyboard, especially if memory has to be freed up beforehand to allow the process to load, and especially if the phone is already under CPU load. I think if the loading takes too long, it tends to just just freak out and fail to load entirely.

    The 6s attacks these problems with brute force. More RAM means the keyboard is likely to be cached in RAM for longer, and also means the system is less likely to have to purge existing data from RAM to load it. Faster CPU and IO speeds reduce overall loading time.

    This is of course pure speculation, but I've always observed the keyboard seems to have the most problems when the phone is under heavy use - rapid switching between memory hungry apps and such.
  5. behrangsa thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 10, 2007
    What surprises me is why Apple has not found a solution to this after more than 12 months? No intention to start a flamewar here, but for a brief period of time when my iPhone 5S was stolen, I was using a low-end Moto G with Android 5.x, and 3rd party keyboards were working like a charm there.

    Apple even acquired, an independent and experienced 3rd party keyboard developer last year, yet this issue still persists.

    What is very agitating and disturbing is Apple's complete silence and disregard for this issue. If I am not wrong, somewhere I read many millions of dollars have been spent by iOS users on 3rd party keyboards and that by itself should have made Apple make fixing this issue a very high priority.

    I have bought Swift Key, Swype, and Next and I literally feel that I am ripped off.
  6. Jigga macrumors 6502

    Jun 11, 2009
    Yeah it stinks but those apps are free...
  7. behrangsa thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 10, 2007
    When I bought them they were not free.

    I paid $1.29 AUD for Swype 1.2, $4.99 AUD for Next, and a few bucks for SwiftKey too. Since then they have become free I guess. I also paid $2.5 for a skin! o_O

    Oh, and I still don't understand the hype around Next. It is in no way better than Apple's in-built keyboard. And its curvy logo mislead me into thinking it is a Swype-like keyboard.
  8. zosokm macrumors regular

    Sep 29, 2012
    I find that after the latest iOS 9 public beta and swift keys latest update the keyboards are much better. Still not fully reliable but keyboard not popping up is much less . Earlier when I used to go to the messages app third party keyboards would just not show up. Now the default keyboard always shows up in the messages app irrespective of which keyboard I was using in other apps. Not perfect but better than having no keyboard pop up and having to force close the app!

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7 October 2, 2015