Is Apple Screwing Up The Third Party Keyboards in iOS?

macUser2007

macrumors 65832
Original poster
May 30, 2007
1,504
201
I was so excited about finally getting third party keyboards. This had been my biggest gripe about iOS (since multitasking). I find the iOS keyboard truly primitive, compared to the competition.

Now we have third party keyboards, but it seems the ones I've seen are pale imitations of their Android counterparts.

Take Swiftkey. It's my favorite on the Android side.

It was the first app I downloaded after updating to iOS 8 and the first app on my new iPhone 6+.

Unfortunately, Swiftkey for iOS just sucks compared to the Android version:

1. No voice input.
2. No numerical input on the main keyboard screen.
3. No secondary keys (long press) as in the Android version.
4. Very minimal customization.

I am wondering if it's some sort of Apple UI restriction, rather than mere laziness on part of the third-party keyboard developers?

In addition, Apple prevents the use of third party keyboards in many of its own apps, which makes for inconsistent user experience.

BTW, I figured out that I can delete the stock iOS Keyboard by going to Edit and deleting it, so that it doesn't appear any longer at all.

Overall, iOS 8 is a large step forward, but still lagging behind Android in some significant and frustrating ways.
 
Last edited:

mgmusicman94

macrumors 6502a
Nov 16, 2008
866
238
I was so excited about finally getting third party keyboards. This had been my biggest gripe about iOS (since multitasking). I find the iOS keyboard truly primitive, compared to the competition.

Now we have third party keyboards, but it seems the ones I've seen are pale imitations of their Android counterparts.

Take Swiftkey. It's my favorite on the Android side.

It was the first app I downloaded after updating to iOS 8 and the first app on my new iPhone 6+.

Unfortunately, Swiftkey for iOS just sucks compared to the Android version:

1. No voice input.
2. No numerical input on the main keyboard screen.
3. No secondary keys (long press) as in the Android version.
4. Very minimal customization.

I am wondering if it's some sort of Apple UI restriction, rather than mere laziness on part of the third-party keyboard developers?

In addition, Apple prevents the use of third party keyboards in many of its own apps, which makes for inconsistent user experience.

BTW, I figured out that I can delete the stock iOS Keyboard by going to Edit and deleting it, so that it doesn't appear any longer at all.

Overall, iOS 8 is a large step forward, but still lagging behind Android in some significant and frustrating ways.
All the limitations you listed are on the developers of Swiftkey. They have the ability to add those functions, they just haven't (yet). Apple is giving developers the ability to do plenty of things with keyboards, but the keyboard developers have a long way to go.
 

jon2690

macrumors newbie
Sep 11, 2013
18
0
All the limitations you listed are on the developers of Swiftkey. They have the ability to add those functions, they just haven't (yet). Apple is giving developers the ability to do plenty of things with keyboards, but the keyboard developers have a long way to go.
Can you confirm that third parties will be able to a Siri button?
 

macUser2007

macrumors 65832
Original poster
May 30, 2007
1,504
201
All the limitations you listed are on the developers of Swiftkey. They have the ability to add those functions, they just haven't (yet). Apple is giving developers the ability to do plenty of things with keyboards, but the keyboard developers have a long way to go.
Wow! So, Swiftkey came up with such a limited product?!

But what about forcing the iOS keyboard in most of the iOS native apps?

Here is what the iOS (black) and the Android (white) versions of Swiftkey look like:
 

Attachments

macUser2007

macrumors 65832
Original poster
May 30, 2007
1,504
201
So, Apple is still screwing up the user experience by banning voice dictation (microphone use) and by forcing change of keyboards depending on applications.

iOS is starting to look half-baked.... :eek:
 

SolarShane

macrumors 6502
Mar 7, 2014
302
0
So, Apple is still screwing up the user experience by banning voice dictation (microphone use) and by forcing change of keyboards depending on applications.

iOS is starting to look half-baked.... :eek:
I'm glad I didn't switch back to iOS. Seriously, it's **** like this that just irritates me. Why can't Apple allow developers to have (some) freedom? Is it too much to ask? I hate Apple's "it's my way or the highway" attitude towards developers.




macUser2007 said:
BTW, I figured out that I can delete the stock iOS Keyboard by going to Edit and deleting it, so that it doesn't appear any longer at all.
LMAO.





Also: MacRumors, love the auto-censor. :)
Thanks for implementing it!
 

Shaqq

macrumors regular
Jan 17, 2014
197
1
I noticed that the 3rd party keyboards don't always go back to Apple keyboard by itself anymore. But still can't use those keyboards on quick reply from the lock screen.
 

macUser2007

macrumors 65832
Original poster
May 30, 2007
1,504
201
I noticed that the 3rd party keyboards don't always go back to Apple keyboard by itself anymore. But still can't use those keyboards on quick reply from the lock screen.
Are you on 8.0.1?

It di for me until last night, this is why I deleted the stock iOS keyboard and solved the problem.

Of course, except that Apple prevents Swiftkey from being used in a bunch of places, screwing up the UI consistency.
 

Shaqq

macrumors regular
Jan 17, 2014
197
1
Is Apple Screwing Up The Third Party Keyboards in iOS?

Are you on 8.0.1?



It di for me until last night, this is why I deleted the stock iOS keyboard and solved the problem.



Of course, except that Apple prevents Swiftkey from being used in a bunch of places, screwing up the UI consistency.

Yea I'm on 8.0.1. I hope they fix that soon.
 

macUser2007

macrumors 65832
Original poster
May 30, 2007
1,504
201
Swype has all of those except #1 which iOS isnt allowing.
Hm, really?!

Take a look at the two screenshots I've posted above and tell me if you see any of these things in the iOS version (hint: look at the top row numbers, for example).
 

bbfc

macrumors 68040
Oct 22, 2011
3,170
695
Newcastle, England.
Are you on 8.0.1?

It di for me until last night, this is why I deleted the stock iOS keyboard and solved the problem.

Of course, except that Apple prevents Swiftkey from being used in a bunch of places, screwing up the UI consistency.
It prevents it being used when typing in passwords and other sensitive info. And I thank Apple for that.
 

macUser2007

macrumors 65832
Original poster
May 30, 2007
1,504
201
Swype /= SwiftKey :rolleyes:
Ah, I see, Swype....:eek: Right you are.

I had looked at it, but saw only the light skin, which doesn't have any of these.... Just bought it, even though I don't like the dark skin much.

So, we are getting closer to Android..., hurray! But not quite there, without dictation.
 

nikicampos

macrumors 6502a
Jul 23, 2011
816
329
Hm, really?!

Take a look at the two screenshots I've posted above and tell me if you see any of these things in the iOS version (hint: look at the top row numbers, for example).
Swype and Swiftkey are two different keyboards, and yes, except for the microphone, which Apple didn't allow access to third party keyboards, Swype has all of that.
 

macUser2007

macrumors 65832
Original poster
May 30, 2007
1,504
201
Yes, and having the keyboard available on the lockscreen would be allowing a Third party application access beyond the sandbox.
Ah, the sandbox....

I can understand the reasoning for not allowing other keyboards for password entry.

But the lack of voice input is crazy.

And the fact that I cannot use other keyboards for message entries is just ridiculous. :eek:

Plus, since I deleted the stock iOS keyboard, so it doesn't keep coming back when I don't want it, now I cannot use the Message app, because it blocks the 3-rd party keyboards, but I don't have the stock iOS keyboard any longer :(

Seriously, the iOS implementation is terrible!

The stock iOS keyboard sucks for many of us who have seen what's available elsewhere. Yet Apple has made it so user-unfriendly to use 3-rd party keyboards in iOS, that most will revert back to the stock keyboard.

If it wasn't for the camera, I would just return the 6+....
 

Paddle1

macrumors 68040
May 1, 2013
3,416
1,164
Ah, the sandbox....

I can understand the reasoning for not allowing other keyboards for password entry.

But the lack of voice input is crazy.

And the fact that I cannot use other keyboards for message entries is just ridiculous. :eek:

Plus, since I deleted the stock iOS keyboard, so it doesn't keep coming back when I don't want it, now I cannot use the Message app, because it blocks the 3-rd party keyboards, but I don't have the stock iOS keyboard any longer :(

Seriously, the iOS implementation is terrible!

The stock iOS keyboard sucks for many of us who have seen what's available elsewhere. Yet Apple has made it so user-unfriendly to use 3-rd party keyboards in iOS, that most will revert back to the stock keyboard.

If it wasn't for the camera, I would just return the 6+....
Other keyboards work in the Messages app.
 

C DM

macrumors Sandy Bridge
Oct 17, 2011
48,526
17,183
So, Apple is still screwing up the user experience by banning voice dictation (microphone use) and by forcing change of keyboards depending on applications.

iOS is starting to look half-baked.... :eek:
Why change of keyboard depending on applications? Seems like you can use the same keyboard across different apps.
 

Stuntman06

macrumors 6502a
Sep 19, 2011
961
5
Metro Vancouver, B.C, Canada
iOS third party keyboards have more limited access than their Android counterparts. Also, I think that many third party keyboard developers' initial goal was to have their keyboard available on day 1. This likely meant they could only add a limited number of features to have it available quickly. I expect that there is some significant amount of work to build an iOS version of their keyboards.

I've been disappointed with the iOS version of SwiftKey due to the lack of features, but especially with the many bugs. Some of them are on SwiftKey. Some are due to apps not updated for iOS 8. Some are due to iOS 8 issues. These issues should be resolved over time. For now, I am sticking with the stock iOS keyboard due to the issues and lack of features of SwiftKey.
 

macUser2007

macrumors 65832
Original poster
May 30, 2007
1,504
201
Why change of keyboard depending on applications? Seems like you can use the same keyboard across different apps.
You can use ONLY the stock iOS keyboard across all apps.

But some of the predictive keyboards like Swype and Swiftkey are much better than the iOS one and many of us who had used those within Android have been clamoring for Apple to allow them in.

So Apple did, but it does not allow 3rd party keyboards in apps like Messages and it has banned them from utilizing voice input, which is frustrating, yet without a good reason.

I do understand the reasoning for using the stock keyboard for password input.

Overall, the user experience in iOS 8 is considerably worse so far than in Android KitKat, both because of the bugs and the limitations.
 

C DM

macrumors Sandy Bridge
Oct 17, 2011
48,526
17,183
You can use ONLY the stock iOS keyboard across all apps.

But some of the predictive keyboards like Swype and Swiftkey are much better than the iOS one and many of us who had used those within Android have been clamoring for Apple to allow them in.

So Apple did, but it does not allow 3rd party keyboards in apps like Messages and it has banned them from utilizing voice input, which is frustrating, yet without a good reason.

I do understand the reasoning for using the stock keyboard for password input.

Overall, the user experience in iOS 8 is considerably worse so far than in Android KitKat, both because of the bugs and the limitations.
As mentioned, the 3rd party keyboards can be used across all kinds of apps. I can and have been using them in apps like Messages, Mail, Safari, etc.
 

GreyOS

macrumors 68040
Apr 12, 2012
3,290
1,617
As mentioned, the 3rd party keyboards can be used across all kinds of apps. I can and have been using them in apps like Messages, Mail, Safari, etc.
Not sure what that other poster is on about, however something I've noticed is that opening the Messages app (maybe after some idle period) always defaults to the stock keyboard. Is that just me?

----------

What I find slightly annoying, and I'm not sure there's a good solution, is how certain apps and environments will bring up a slightly different themed stock keyboard, but don't for the 3rd party ones.

Three examples:
- Spotlight
- Messages app
- Skype app

These three keyboards have three different looks when you have the stock keyboard selected.

However, when you have a 3rd party keyboard selected, you get the theme you picked and there's no variation on that.

I don't know if this is because keyboard developers have not made use of all the available APIs or if this is not an API. Neither am I sure how it could work given that some users may want to override these contextual variations anyway.
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.