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Upgraded keys – how to install a custom keyboard

The iOS keyboard is just fine most of the time. But what about when just fine isn’t enough?

One solution is to install a custom keyboard. That could be a keyboard like Grammarly that checks your spelling and grammar as you type and makes suggestions based on the context of whatever you’re writing, or it could be a keyboard like SwiftKey that claims to have better predictive text than the built-in iOS keyboard.

Maybe you like the look of Bitmoji’s personalized emoji keyboard, or TextExpander’s ability to type snippets of text at the tap of a key. There are lots of reasons to install and use a custom keyboard. Here’s how to do it.

1. Head to the App Store and search for the custom keyboard you want. We recommend trying out one of the keyboards we mentioned earlier – tap below for any of those. They’re all free to download and use, though some offer extra features as in-app purchases.

Get Grammarly

Get SwiftKey

Get Bitmoji

Get TextExpander

2. When it’s downloaded, tap Open to launch the app. Depending on the keyboard, it may ask you to create an account, or sign in using Google or Facebook. Decide whether you want to do that and follow the instructions.

3. Next, go to the Settings app, find the name of the keyboard you downloaded in the apps sections and tap it. Some keyboards may display a link on screen that takes you directly there from the set-up screen.

Keyboard Settings

4. Tap Keyboards. Toggle the keyboard on.

5. You’ll see another option appear. It allows the keyboard full access to all the data you type. Toggling it on will enable the keyboard to use personal data to improve the experience of using it – for example to enable word predictions – but your data will be transmitted to its servers. It’s up to you whether you switch it on or not. One option is to leave it switched off and start using the keyboard. If you’re happy with the user experience as it is, leave it switched off. Some keyboards require this access to work at all, though.

6. Open any app that uses text. When the keyboard appears, tap and hold the globe button next to the space bar and choose your new keyboard. Start typing.

Select a keyboard

7. To switch back to the regular keyboard, tap and hold the globe again and choose the top keyboard to return to your default language.

You can switch between keyboards anytime you like by tapping and holding the globe button and selecting a keyboard.