There is no shortage of options when it comes to replacement keyboards on Android. Here are some of the best to choose from.There are plenty of ways to type on Android. Third-party keyboards were once one of the standout features of Android. The ability to get rid of the software keyboard which came pre-installed on your phone and replace it with something that better has previously been a luxury. So let’s talk about some of the best keyboards for Android or keyboard apps for android free download.
These days, third-party keyboards can be found on iOS as well. A recent trend in software keyboards includes packing in tons of features, themes and even search functionality into the lovely keyboard as best keyboards for Android.
Here are the best keyboards for Android.
1. Google Keyboard
You may have noted that not every Android smartphone comes with Google’s own keyboard enabled by default. For a number of reasons, smartphone OEMs often opt to install their own keyboard. If the Google Keyboard is missing from your device, you can find it for free in the Google Play Store. The latest version of Google Keyboard features a handful of themes and more in-depth customizations, such as enabling a long press to reveal symbols or pressing Alt on a hardware keyboard to reveal emoji.
Despite all the third-party offerings in the Google Play Store, the Google Keyboard for Android is still one of the best and most reliable around.
2. Chrooma Keyboard
If you find the Google Keyboard doesn’t have quite enough customization, try Chrooma Keyboard. It’s very similar to Google Keyboard both in usability and design. But it comes packed with a ton of customizations, such as a split mode for thumb typing, night mode and standard emoji, not those hideous Android ones.
Unlike Google Keyboard, the number row at the top of Chrooma Keyboard can be swiped left or right to access clipboard controls or frequently used emoji. And if you purchase the premium unlocks, you can customize everything just a little bit more. If you’re fine with the included features, Chrooma is free to use.
3. Swype Keyboard
One of the oldest options for third-party keyboards is Swype. It’s been around since the days of Windows Mobile, but it has evolved a long way since then. There is a store full of premium themes, and it offers cloud synchronization along with backup of your words, personalization using Twitter and the ability to adjust the size of the on-screen keyboard. What sets Swype apart from all the other gesture typing keyboards is its in-built dictation software, which is powered by Nuance’s Dragon Dictation instead of Google’s.
Swype values $0.99 (£ 0.75 in the UK or AU$1.31 in Australia) in Google Play with a variety of free and premium themes available in the Swype Store.
4. SwiftKey Keyboard
SwiftKey, again a keyboard veteran, is another fan favorite and is one of Swype’s biggest competitors. Like Google Keyboard and Swype Keyboard, SwiftKey uses gesture typing for easier and faster input. It also possesses an aggressive and artificially intelligent autocorrect engine that learns the way you type and gets better at correcting your typos over time.
Something that sets SwiftKey apart is its floating keyboard. You can undock the keyboard, resize it and drag it anywhere on the screen to type, as well as enable a one-handed mode or turn it into a split thumb keyboard. These features are particularly useful on a larger device, such as a tablet.
SwiftKey is available at no cost, with both free and premium themes which can be downloaded through in-app purchases.
Minuum is certainly one of the most strange keyboards, and the only one that breaks from the traditional QWERTY layout. It’s based on the QWERTY layout, but it condenses everything to a single row and banks on context along with a strong autocorrect engine to figure out what you’re trying to type. Moreover, you can pull up on the suggestions bar to expand into a full QWERTY keyboard. There are a number of themes to choose from and under the Experimental & Advanced menu in Minuum settings, you will find bonus panels for emoji, cursor control, clipboard controls, search and share as well as typing speed. It has a built-in dictionary and thesaurus, and it includes a great feature: inline emoji search.
Minuum takes a lot of getting used to, but after the learning curve, it packs a ton of features into a very compact package. It’s currently $3.99 (£2.20 or AU$3.99) in Google Play. There is also a trial version, which is good for 30 days.
Without gesture typing, Fleksy also relies on strong autocorrect software to correct your sloppy typing. And Fleksy’s autocorrect is one of the best in the business. Like Minuum’s experimental panels, Fleksy has an extensions bar above the keyboard. Extensions are customizable and range from GIF search to a launcher and clipboard controls.
Not only is Fleksy free, the developers recently made all the included themes free, as well. The only in-app purchase you will find now is an unlock for additional extensions. You can add up to four for free, but additional slots will cost you $0.99 (£0.75 or AU$1.31) each.
7. Slash Keyboard
Another keyboard based on extensions, or slashes, is Slash Keyboard. It gives you a built-in search for Google, Giphy, emoji, Google Maps, Youtube, Amazon, Spotify, Facebook, Twitter, SoundCloud and many more services. Hit the Slash button to the left of the space bar to immediately begin searching something like Product Hunt. Tapping on one of the search results will automatically paste it in the text field you’re typing in.
Slash Keyboard is entirely free, and it’s very unique. However, it lacks the strong autocorrect of other keyboards, as well as gesture typing, which can make it boring to use at times.
8. Microsoft Hub Keyboard
If you take what Slash Keyboard has and reduce it to local contact search, thesaurus and Microsoft’s services — Bing, Office 365 and One Drive — you have Microsoft’s Hub Keyboard. It’s helpful for adding or sharing documents without leaving the app you’re in, and it integrates quite well with Microsoft’s services.
Hub Keyboard is also lacking powerful autocorrect and gesture input, so it may not be your daily driver. That said, if you find yourself using Office 365 or sharing documents from your phone often, you will likely find this keyboard very useful, and it may be faster or easier to switch to this keyboard than opening an entirely new app to share a document.
9. Ginger Keyboard
Ginger Keyboard has it all — themes, emoji, gesture typing, solid autocorrect, shortcuts to helpful apps (like creating a new note or task in your prefered app) and even search. Something else that Ginger Keyboard has that you won’t find in many other keyboards is games. You can play classics like Snake or something a little newer, like 2048, without ever leaving the app you’re in. It seems odd, sure. But why not?
Ginger Keyboard also has a spell checker, which is a little different than autocorrect. However, while Ginger Keyboard is free, it limits the corrections it makes to just eight. After that, you will need to purchase a monthly subscription for $0.99 (£0.75 or AU$1.31) or annually for $8.99 (£6.82 or AU$11.90).
10. TouchPal Keyboard
TouchPal is another keyboard which seemingly has it all. It has built-in GIF support, emoticons and emoji, emoji art, a host of free and premium themes, customizable fonts, dialect dictionaries and even news headlines built into the app. You can gesture type, resize the keyboard or switch to a split keyboard, access your clipboard history and play games.
This keyboard is a bunch full of features, including an app locker to password protect certain apps.
It’s also free to download with a $4.99 per year subscription, which unlocks all the premium content and is considered in best keyboards for Android.
11. GIF Keyboard
If all you’re looking to do is share some GIFs, GIF Keyboard is what your hands should be on for Android. It has quick access to commonly themed GIFs, trending GIFs, a search tool and a shortcut which will take you back to your normal keyboard. Depending on which app you’re in, tapping to select a GIF will either paste the GIF URL in the text input field or automatically send the embedded GIF. Best of all, GIF Keyboard is entirely free so is one of the best keyboards for Android.