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How to set SwiftKey, Gboard, or any third-party app as the default keyboard on iPhone and iPad

2023 February 3
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This tutorial will show you how to change the default keyboard on your iPhone or iPad by using a third-party keyboard such as SwiftKey or Gboard. We will also go over three specific situations when the iOS keyboard will force itself on the screen.

The App Store has excellent third-party keyboard options like Microsoft SwiftKey, Google’s Gboard, and Grammarly. You can install one and set it up on your iPhone or iPad to use as your regular keyboard.

However, you may have noticed that your iPhone’s built-in iOS keyboard appears on the screen at times, in lieu of your third-party keyboard. To address this, you will have to make the third-party keyboard your default iPhone keyboard.

How to make SwiftKey, Gboard, or any third-party keyboard the default on iPhone

Step 1: Add the third-party keyboard

  1. Install the keyboard app like SwiftKey, Gboard, Grammarly, etc., on your iPhone or iPad. Next, open the app and finish its initial installation.
  2. During the set up, the app will take you to the right location in the Settings app. But if not, manually go to Settings > General > Keyboard > Keyboards > Add New Keyboard and select the third-party keyboard.
  3. Now, tap the keyboard name and Allow Full Access. After this, the keyboard can start offering typing suggestions and work to its fullest.

Allow Full Access to third-party iOS keyboard

Step 2: Remove the built-in iOS keyboard

  1. Go to Settings > General > Keyboard > Keyboards.
  2. Here, you’ll see all the keyboards you have added to your iPhone. Swipe left on the built-in keyboard name and hit Delete. Repeat this step to remove all stock Apple keyboards, except the Emoji one, as I think it’s helpful to have it.
  3. Now, you’ll be left with just the Emoji and your third-party keyboard. Tap Edit and use the hamburger icon (three-short-lines) to drag the third-party keyboard above the Emoji keyboard.

Set third-party keyboard as default on iPhone

You can now exit the Settings app. From now on, only the third-party keyboard will show up whenever you type on your iPhone, and the default Apple keyboard won’t pop up uninvited.

But hold on, because you can’t permanently do away with the iOS keyboard, and that’s for good measure.

Situations when you have no choice but to use the built-in Apple keyboard

After following the above steps, you’ll have gotten rid of the stock iOS keyboard for the most part. But still, even after removing Apple’s keyboard from the list of added keyboards, it will spring up for security reasons in the following situations:

1) On the Lock Screen: iOS keyboard will always come up when you’re typing on your unlocked iPhone. For example, when replying to a text message from the Lock Screen and your iPhone’s Face ID has not automatically unlocked the device.

2) Typing passwords: When entering passwords and sensitive things like credit card information, your iPhone will bring up the iOS keyboard and won’t allow third-party keyboards on the screen. This works in most apps and browsers.

3) If third-party keyboard app fails or freezes: If for any reason, such as the app freezing, or if it takes a long time for the third-party keyboard to show, then the iOS keyboard will fill the gap and come up instead. This ensures you’re not left without a keyboard on screen when you need to type.

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