The Most Useful, Niche, and Surprisingly Weird Keyboards for IPhone
Custom keyboards for iPhone were a welcome surprise when they were first released, but over time it seems like most people have given up on them . This does not mean that there are no useful keyboards on the market, and it turns out that the weirder and nicer they are, the better.
When third-party keyboards arrived in iOS 8, we covered some of the most popular and useful ones . Keyboards like Swype , SwiftKey, and Fleksy are still great if you’re looking for a replacement for the standard iPhone keyboard. But not all keyboards are meant to be replacements. Some of them are just quirky little extras that make using your iPhone a little more fun. Sometimes they are useful too, but more often they are just accessories for a standard keyboard. That’s not a bad thing at all, and perhaps these weirder niche keyboards are more useful than replacements because they just do one useful little thing, really good.
Slash Keyboard integrates many other apps into your keyboard
Slash Keyboard (free) is an interesting tool that allows you to easily search various services like YouTube, Spotify, and Google Maps from your keyboard. With Slash, you don’t have to leave the app you’re currently typing in to do some basic research.
Tap the forward slash icon on your keyboard, select the service you want to search, and then enter your search term. When you find what you are looking for on your keyboard, tap it to send. It is quite obvious that you can search on Google or search for YouTube videos. You might find yourself taking a little more niche, you can also find an article in the New York Times, grab a song from Spotify, browse nearby locations on Foursquare, and more.
If this idea sounds familiar, the previously mentioned ReBoard is a similar app, but Slash makes it better. Slash is most useful if you tend to send a lot of links to friends, but there is a wide enough set of tools here for people to find all kinds of uses.
iTranslate translates text directly from the keyboard
If you’re texting someone whose primary language is different from yours, then you know that switching between a texting app and a translator app sucks. iTranslate (free) makes this a little easier by adding a custom keyboard to the main translation app.
To translate a block of text, enter a phrase, select the languages you want to translate, then click the translate button. When iTranslate has finished translating, you can paste this phrase into the text box. Unfortunately, it’s a bit of a convoluted process for translating everything you send (you’ll have to copy, paste, and translate in reverse order), but for quick translations of the text you enter, iTranslate works great. … It’s also nice that unlike most iOS keyboards, there is a fully functional app in addition to the keyboard. This way, if you want to do more complex translation or translate by voice, you don’t need to download a separate app.
Giphy Keys – Every GIF is at your fingertips
GIFs are one of the greatest forms of communication and expression today. After trying out a number of options, Giphy Keys (Free) has become my favorite keyboard for finding GIFs to add to text messages.
The beauty of Giphy Keys lies in its simplicity and ease of use. Tap the search bar, enter the type of GIF you are looking for, scroll to find the GIF you want to use, and then send it with a quick copy and paste command.
You will also find some interesting advanced features packed into Giphy Keys. For example, you can bookmark frequently used GIFs or create your own animated text GIFs on the fly. Giphy Keys is incredibly reliable considering it’s a GIF-only keyboard. If you often switch between apps to copy and paste GIFs into a conversation, then Giphy Keys is the way to go.
Microsoft Word Flow makes it easy to type with one hand
Microsoft’s Word Flow (free) seems to be a very beloved one on Windows Phone, and the iOS keyboard does a pretty good job of bringing this to the iPhone. At first glance, the swipe-style character selection in Word Flow is no different from keyboards like Swype or SwiftKey. However, the choice of symbols is not what makes Word Flow special. This is one-handed operation.
When one-handed mode is on, Word Flow arches the keyboard at the bottom of the screen. This makes one-handed typing much easier, especially on large devices like the iPhone 6s Plus. This is a fantastic solution to the problem of one-handed typing on large phones. If you find yourself multitasking with your phone in one hand, you should take a look at Word Flow.
Hemingboard brings culinary delights at your fingertips
Do you like puns? Then Hemingboard ($ 3.99) is a keyboard made just for you. Hemingboard is a keyboard that has a thesaurus, a rhyme dictionary, and most importantly, a pun dictionary. Yeah. Puns. Just enter a word and you can search for similar words to hit it off.
Synonyms and rhymes are useful for obvious reasons, especially if you tend to send a lot of emails to spice up, or if you write lyrics to your phone. But don’t use foul language, here the main show is puns. The beauty of puns is that they still require a little thought from you. These are not pranks of the Pope, delivered by hand, waiting for a polite laugh from someone in the audience. Hemingboard simply displays words that include your search term, such as “cat” in “disaster” or “catalog.” You still need to portray this pun with the brightness needed to keep the room full of people rolling their eyes.
Most of these keyboards won’t replace the standard iPhone keyboard on a daily basis, but that’s not the point. These are great add-ons that make texting a little more fun and sometimes even a little easier.