Downloadable Keyboard Apps: the complete guide to smartphone keyboards

October 7, 2021
Everything you ever wanted to know about smartphone keyboards, aka downloadable keyboards, keyboard apps or virtual keyboards

Here at Typewise we are keyboard crazy. We love smartphone keyboards so much that we built our own unique, virtual keyboard (which has now become quite popular with over 1.5 million downloads). So we keep a close eye on everything keyboard app related.


In this guide you’ll find everything you ever wanted to know about smartphone keyboards, also known as downloadable keyboards, keyboard apps or virtual keyboards. (FYI – we’re not talking about piano keyboards here – that’s a different and unrelated subject).


If you have a question about keyboard apps that’s not answered here – please contact us and we’ll try our best to help.

What is a keyboard app?


A keyboard app, or downloadable keyboard, is a virtual or software keyboard for your smartphone (or tablet). Many people don’t realise that the pre-installed keyboard that comes on your phone is an app that can be changed for an alternative.

A downloadable keyboard app is a virtual keyboard that allows you to type on your smartphone or tablet


What are common examples of keyboard apps?


Smartphones come out of the box with a ready to use keyboard. Android phones tend to come preloaded with Google’s Gboard, and iPhones come preloaded with Apple Keyboard. Microsoft SwiftKey is another common keyboard app.


Why should I use an alternative keyboard app?


Many people are happy enough with the keyboard that comes preinstalled with their phone. Which is generally Gboard for Android devices, and Apple Keyboard for iPhones. However, there are a lot of alternative keyboards for smartphones which are also worth considering.


Depending on what you value most, there may well be a better keyboard for your phone than the one you are currently using. Some keyboards (like Typewise) offer a more private and secure typing experience, along with faster typing speeds and higher accuracy autocorrect and text prediction.


Or perhaps you want to type in specific languages and your current keyboard isn’t great at supporting those. Or maybe you love themes and customising your keyboard so are looking for one which does that better. It’s worth downloading some alternative keyboard apps and trying them youself to see if there are some which provide you with a better typing experience.


Are third party keyboard apps secure and private?


The privacy and security of any keyboard app (“third party” or otherwise) completely depends on the specific app. For example, Typewise is a 100% private and secure keyboard app which offers greater privacy than Gboard, Apple Keyboard, or Swiftkey. But not all keyboard apps are secure or private. Indeed, some have been previously removed from app stores because they were found to be breaking app store and play store rules by harvesting users’ data and typing information. So – be sure to carefully check any keyboard app’s privacy policy before installing.


Which smartphone keyboard app has the best autocorrect?


Comparing autocorrect efficiency between different keyboard apps is complex as there are a variety of different factors that can be used in such a comparison. One of the problems commonly seen is over aggressive autocorrect – ie – ‘correcting’ words that are actually already correct. This ranks as perhaps the most irritating issue with autocorrect. When compared to Gboard, SwiftKey and Apple keyboard, Typewise has the best autocorrect functionality.


What’s the best keyboard app for fat fingers?


The best keyboard app for so called ‘fat fingers’ is one with larger-than-normal keys. Typewise’s unique hexagonal keys offer a larger key surface which is easier to hit, increasing typing accuracy and reducing frustration from ‘larger fingered’ individuals, making it a popular choice for such users.

Do you have 'fat fingers'? Photo by Andrik Langfield on Unsplash


Can I use Apple Keyboard on my Android device?


While you can download Google’s Gboard for your iPhone, the Apple smartphone keyboard is not available for download on your Android device. You can use Typewise keyboard app for both your Apple and Android device though.

Apple Keyboard is not available for Android devices


Can I use Google’s Gboard on my iPhone?


Yes, the Gboard keyboard app is available for both iPhone and Android phones. But Apple Keyboard is not available for Android phones.


How to learn a keyboard app?


Typing on a smartphone is very different from typing on a physical keyboard (see: Typing vs Texting). And if you’re new to it, you may find it frustrating at first. That’s because a smartphone keyboard is much, much smaller than a typical physical keyboard for a laptop, or a virtual keyboard on an iPad or tablet. But practise makes perfect. Some keyboard apps (like Typewise) come with games to help you learn how to use the keyboard and type faster. You can also use our smartphone speed typing test to measure your typing speed and see how you improve.

How to download a keyboard app for Android?


To download a keyboard app for your Android phone, visit the Google play store, search for the keyboard app you want, and click the install button.


How to download a keyboard app for iPhone?


To download a keyboard app for your iPhone, visit the Applie app store, search for a keyboard app you want, and click the install button.


How to activate a keyboard app on Android?


Once you have installed a new keyboard app on your Android phone, you can start using it by going to:

Settings -> System & updates -> Language & input

From there, select the keyboard you want to use.

How to activate a keyboard app on iPhone?


Once you have installed a new keyboard app on your iPhone, you can start using it by going to:

Settings -> General -> Keyboard -> Keyboards -> Add New Keyboard

From there, select the keyboard you want to use.

Do keyboard apps transfer your typing data?


Some keyboard apps transfer some data to their own cloud servers. The type of data transferred entirely depends on the specific keyboard app. Typewise keyboard is 100% private and transfers no typing data whatsoever. But Gboard, SwiftKey, Apple Keyboard and many other keyboards do transfer your typing data to the cloud.

Many keyboad apps transfer your typing data to the cloud. Typewise does not.

What is SwiftKey keyboard app?


Swiftkey is a downloadable keyboard app for Android and iPhone. It was developed by a company called TouchType and the first version was released in 2010. In 2016, the company was bought by Microsoft, who rebranded it Microsoft SwiftKey.

What is the best downloadable keyboard app for Android?


The best downloadable keyboard app for Android depends on what features you value most. We believe Typewise is the best keyboard for Android because it offers faster typing, more accurate typing, seamless transition between typing in one language and another, and 100% privacy. Typewise is available as a free or PRO version, so users can try it out for free.

What is the best downloadable keyboard app for iPhone?


The best downloadable keyboard app for iPhone depends on what features you value most. We believe Typewise is the best keyboard for iPhone because it offers faster typing, more accurate typing, seamless transition between typing in one language and another, and 100% privacy. Typewise is available as a free or PRO version, so users can try it out for free.