My real wish for iOS keyboards

Call me old fashioned, but when I want to use a tool, I want to use it consistently. It’s the confidence in knowing that what I got done last time with a tool can be repeated again and again. Lately I’ve been finding things to be less and less consistent in iOS8. Notifications coming up way after the triggering event occurred, sounds not alerting me to meetings/reminders all the time, and button/control placement for apps. The best example of my issue with button placement is the introduction of 3rd party keyboards. While I love what Apple has allowed developers to create in iOS 8 related to custom keyboards, the implementation has not been as thrilling for me.

Take for example the four keyboards [1] I currently have installed on my iPhone (from top to bottom):

  • Clean Shaven’s Clips keyboard
  • Smile Software’s TextExpander keyboard
  • iOS Emoji keyboard
  • Default iOS keyboard

I love what each of them can do for me in iOS until I have to switch from one to another. Since my primary keyboard is the default iOS keyboard, my typing habits are based on that keyboard. But switching between keyboards is starting to be a pain because the keyboard selection buttom keeps moving. I’ve lined up all the keyboards and using the default iOS keyboard as a baseline of where the keyboard switching key is placed.

Notice how the key moves around quite a bit between the four different keyboards. So when I switch from one keyboard to another, I either get an extra character from the Emoji keyboard or I press the number/alt key 3 times in TextExpander. My hope is that in iOS 8.x( or 9), the keyboard switcher is moved to the outside of the keyboard. By swapping the number/alt key with the keyboard switcher, the problem goes away.

Maybe this will prompt me to renew my developer membership and plead my case to Apple.

  1. Yes, I know, just four keyboards… how pathetic.  ↩