Is Apple Screwing Up The Third Party Keyboards in iOS?

Discussion in 'iOS 8' started by macUser2007, Sep 24, 2014.

  1. macUser2007, Sep 24, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2014

    macUser2007 macrumors 65832

    May 30, 2007
    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.
  2. mgmusicman94 macrumors 6502a

    Nov 16, 2008
    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.
  3. jon2690 macrumors newbie

    Sep 11, 2013
    Can you confirm that third parties will be able to a Siri button?
  4. macUser2007 thread starter macrumors 65832

    May 30, 2007
    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:

    Attached Files:

  5. mgmusicman94 macrumors 6502a

    Nov 16, 2008

    Actually after further research it seems apple is not giving developers access to the microphone in third party keyboards, so that won't be possible.
  6. macUser2007 thread starter macrumors 65832

    May 30, 2007
    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:
  7. SolarShane macrumors 6502

    Mar 7, 2014
    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.


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


    Jan 17, 2014
    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.
  9. macUser2007 thread starter macrumors 65832

    May 30, 2007
    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.
  10. Shaqq macrumors regular


    Jan 17, 2014
    Is Apple Screwing Up The Third Party Keyboards in iOS?

    Yea I'm on 8.0.1. I hope they fix that soon.
  11. boast macrumors 65816


    Nov 12, 2007
    Phoenix, USA
    Swype has all of those except #1 which iOS isnt allowing.
  12. macUser2007 thread starter macrumors 65832

    May 30, 2007
    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).
  13. Paddle1 macrumors 68040

    May 1, 2013
    Swype /= SwiftKey :rolleyes:
  14. bbfc macrumors 68040


    Oct 22, 2011
    Newcastle, England.
    It prevents it being used when typing in passwords and other sensitive info. And I thank Apple for that.
  15. macUser2007 thread starter macrumors 65832

    May 30, 2007
    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.
  16. nikicampos macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2011
    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.
  17. batting1000 macrumors 604

    Sep 4, 2011
    3rd party kayboards also don't slide interfaces up like the Messages app.
  18. Altimax98 macrumors 6502


    Mar 26, 2012
    Lakeland Fl
    Yes, and having the keyboard available on the lockscreen would be allowing a Third party application access beyond the sandbox.
  19. macUser2007 thread starter macrumors 65832

    May 30, 2007
    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+....
  20. Paddle1 macrumors 68040

    May 1, 2013
    Other keyboards work in the Messages app.
  21. C DM macrumors Sandy Bridge

    Oct 17, 2011
    Why change of keyboard depending on applications? Seems like you can use the same keyboard across different apps.
  22. Stuntman06 macrumors 6502a


    Sep 19, 2011
    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.
  23. macUser2007 thread starter macrumors 65832

    May 30, 2007
    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.
  24. C DM macrumors Sandy Bridge

    Oct 17, 2011
    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.
  25. GreyOS macrumors 68040


    Apr 12, 2012
    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.

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