Ditch the default and embrace the new in just three simple steps.
Compared to Apple's iOS platform, the Android operating system gives you a wealth of customisation options. This includes the keyboard, which can switch out to a wide array of third-party options, all available via the Google Play store.
Why would you want to do this? Well sometimes it's just about a nice change or picking a keyboard skin you like the look of to keep a theme going on your phone. But you might also want something that changes the way you use a keyboard, such as the much-lauded Swype, or Swiftkey which learns and adapts to your typing style.
I'm a fan of Swiftkey and I've been using it for a few years now, so I'm going to walk you through the simple steps to change your Android keyboard using it as an example.
I'm also doing this on the Google Pixel 2 XL. Manufacturers like to put their own overlays on Android to change the look and feel and that can mean that some settings appear a little different and have some different naming depending on your brand of phone. But regardless of subtle changes, for the most part, the process should still resemble these three simple steps.
So step zero is downloading the new keyboard app in the first place. We'll work on the idea that you've already done that.
Open your phone settings and look for Languages, Input and Gestures. You should be able to search your settings if you can't immediately find it.
Tap on Virtual Keyboard to get a list of the different keyboard options available to you based on what you've downloaded.
Tap on Swiftkey (remember that's just the one we're using for this tutorial) and you'll see a pop-up appear asking you to select your preferred keyboard. Hit Swiftkey and you're off. It really is that simple.
From there, sign into the Swiftkey app and you'll it'll start analysing your typing style and making predictions.
How to change keyboards while typing
There is an alternate way of doing this, which can be useful if you want to switch between keyboards on the fly:
When you can see your keyboard – if you're typing a message or just using a search box – you'll see a stylised representation of a keyboard down at the bottom right of your screen.
Tap that keyboard and you'll see a pop up showing you a list of available keyboard choices. Select the one you want – in this example we're moving back from Switftkey to the Gboard.
Not really a step because – voila! It's done and you're back at the original Android keyboard option.
There are a lot of great keyboard options out there and we'd encourage you to play around with some to find the style you like – the truly great thing about Android is never having to settle for the default if you don't want to!
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