The keyboard app on your phone might be outdated, featureless, or worse, insecure.
You might be using the same basic stock keyboard that came with your Android phone — something that hasn’t been updated in two years. When it comes to Android keyboards, there are better, faster, and more secure options out there.
Try a Third-Party Keyboard App
Switching to another Android keyboard doesn’t cost you anything. In fact, it will only make you more productive. You’ll be able to type faster, and you’ll have quick access to emojis and GIFs.
Gboard — Google’s own Android keyboard has been rebranded as Gboard. It integrates a Google search bar, gesture typing, Emoji and GIF search, themes, text shortcuts, and more. If you’re weary of using a third-party keyboard, just go with Gboard. You can’t go wrong with Google’s official keyboard.
Swiftkey — It may lack over the top features, but when it comes to typing, Swiftkey is the best option. Swiftkey has one of the best prediction and typing engines out there (for both thumb and gesture typing).
How to Enable a New Android Keyboard
When you launch a keyboard app for the first time, it will guide you through the process of enabling a new keyboard. This has to be done from Settings. The instructions might differ based on Android versions and manufacturer skins. If you can’t find a particular menu, try searching for “keyboard” in the Settings app.
Step 1: Open the Settings app and select Language & Input.
Step 2: From this list, tap on Virtual Keyboard.
Step 3: You’ll see a list of enabled keyboards here. Tap on Manage Keyboards.
Step 4: Tap on the toggle next to the keyboard’s name to enable the particular keyboard.
You’ll notice that simply enabling a virtual keyboard in Settings doesn’t actually replace the keyboard. We need to do this manually.
How to Change Your Keyboard on Android
You can go to a particular keyboard app to enable it or you can do this right from the keyboard view.
Step 1: Go to the search bar to enable the keyboard.
Step 2: When the keyboard is visible, you’ll find a small keyboard icon in the bottom-right corner of the navigation bar. Tap on it.
Step 3: This will bring up the Change keyboard pop-up. All the enabled keyboards will show up on this list. Tap on a keyboard that you want to switch to.
And just like that, you’ve switched to a new keyboard! If you’re using Gboard or the stock Android keyboard, tap and hold on the Space bar to bring up the same pop-up.
If you’re going to use multiple keyboards, remember this button as a quick way to cycle between all enabled keyboards.
Continue Replacing Stock Apps
The Android keyboard is just one of the components that you can replace for a better experience. Try replacing the launcher with something that’s more feature rich and faster. On Android, you can even replace the Phone, Contacts, and the default Email app with something better.
What are some of your favorite third-party replacements for stock Android functionality? Share with us in the comments below.