Tag Archives: SwiftKey

Top Emoji Keyboards for Android and iOS

By Tracey Dowdy 

If you’ve ever scrolled through your emoji and wished for a little more variety, you’re in luck. There’s no need to be stuck in a rut – there are scores of emoji keyboards users can download for both operating systems with everything from animated emoji to gifs to stickers to themes. 

Here are a few emoji keyboards for iPhone and Android users to check out and change up their text messaging. Enjoy! 

Bitmoji will be familiar to Snapchat users but is compatible with other apps as well. Users can create a cartoon avatar that looks just like you and adds another personalization level as your Bitmoji is incorporated into most stickers. For Android, you have the option to install it manually or through the Bitmoji app. Once you sign up within the app, tap the Globe icon to open the Keyboard tab and follow the prompts to enable the keyboard. To manually set it up, install the app and go to Settings. From there, tap Languages and input > Virtual (or On-screen keyboard) > Manage Keyboards > toggle on Bitmoji Keyboard. Free for iOS and Android.

Kika’s keyboard offers a jillion – okay, maybe just thousands – of emoji, fonts, gifs, stickers, and custom keyboard themes. It even has Kika predictive emoji and an emoji dictionary. The gifs work on social media platforms, and users can upload photos as the background to your keyboard. For Android, go to Settings > Languages and input > Virtual (or On-screen keyboard) > Manage Keyboards. For iOS, download the app, then choose Settings > General > Keyboard > Turn on Kika. You’ll also need to allow full access to use all the keyboard’s features. Free for iOS and Android.

Gboard (free for Android and iOS) lets you search for specific emoji, track your most-used emoji, add stickers to your texts, and use gifs and old-fashioned emoticons. To use Gboard, download it from the App Store or Google Play. Go into your Settings and tap Enable (Android) or Get Started (iOS). Note, Apple is notoriously proprietary about third-party apps, so you’ll need to manually enable permissions to use most of the features. 

The most intuitive keyboard on this list, Microsoft’s SwiftKey learns your writing style, including slang, nicknames, and favorite emoji. It’s also the most customizable. Users can add themes, features emoji prediction (that can be turned on and off in Settings), and “type with swipe” capability and seamlessly type in up to five languages without switching settings. Choose from 400+ supported languages. On Android, go to Settings > Language & input > SwiftKey. For iOS, tap General > Keyboard > Add New Keyboard. You’ll see all the keyboards you have installed on your device; choose SwiftKey to enable. If you want it to be your default keyboard, click Edit, then drag it to the top of the list.

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits, and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.

Best Free Apps for New iPhone Users

By Tracey Dowdy

If you’re a new iPhone user, transferring email, contacts and your calendar is as simple as adding a new account, or you can use an app like Copy My Data. Photos, videos, books, music and documents are easily transferred as well.

The one thing that won’t transfer is your apps but not to worry – many of the same apps are available for iOS that you loved on your Android phone. In fact, one of the perks of being an iPhone user is that new apps are often introduced before they are available for Android devices, and some stay exclusive to the iOS platform.

So if you’re new to iPhone, these are some of the best apps for new users. Many of these are likely to be familiar to you and others are iOS exclusive, but best of all – they’re free!

Facebook Paper
Facebook Paper is designed to make your feed have more of a magazine or newspaper feel. Designed specifically for the iPhone (no iPad version), content is posted in a grid so it doesn’t feel as cluttered and is easier to read. Content isn’t limited only to what’s been posted by your friends but is curated by a team of Facebook staff to include what’s trending across social media.

The Spotify streaming music service allows you to search by artist, album, genre, playlist, or record label to create custom playlists of your favorite music from a vast catalog.  Accounts can be integrated with your Facebook and Twitter accounts and premium accounts are ad free. Spotify radio lets you choose by decade or genre and, unlike Pandora, you can skip as many tracks as you like.

Onavo Extend
Onavo Extend works in the background compressing incoming images to help limit your data use. The app automatically turns itself off when Wi-Fi is available and tracks data usage so you can see what apps or activities are using the most data. It’s especially convenient if you travel outside the U.S. when every mega-byte counts.

Pocket allows users to save articles or webpages to a list that can then be read later offline. Pocket syncs across devices so an article you saw on your phone during your morning commute can be read later on your laptop or iPad.

Brewster combines all your contacts from across your networks into one address book. You don’t have to download an app – simply authorize Brewster through your Google or iCloud account and contacts will automatically be synced. Now when you start to type in an email or text, Brewster will auto-fill the field based on your contacts.

SwiftKey is an onscreen keyboard that intuitively picks up on your commonly used words, typos, and even the emojis you use most often. Sign up through Facebook or Google Plus and the app discerns your writing style based on your posts and email. The more you use it, the more accurate and customized it gets.

Flipboard follows the trend of magazine style layouts to provide users with an uncluttered view of RSS feeds and social media pages. Create an account with Flipboard, then choose which social media account you want to pull content from. Choose from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Instagram, Google+, and YouTube. You can customize the layout and create a “magazine” of preferred content.

Of course, apps like DropBox, Google Maps, Skype and Evernote have virtually become smartphone essentials. Needless to say, with over 1.2 million apps available, you’ll have no trouble making your new iPhone unique to you.

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Toronto, ON. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances and researches on subjects from family and education to pop culture and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.