With all of the new iOS 8 keyboard apps, we’re seeing new functions, languages and features.Custom Keyboard (US$0.99) gives the standard iOS keyboard a completely new look based on whatyou want. It’s appearing in the App Store today.
Custom Keyboard provides control of backgrounds, colors, fonts, shadows and even animations for key pop-ups. It’s easy to use, and is quite effective. Like all keyboard utilities, you run the app, save the results, and then switch to the customized iOS keyboard from your current keyboard by tapping the “globe” icon.
You can see some of the controls and variety of colors below in my screen captures. The app supports more than 40 languages, and also lets you customize key click sounds. You can also use a photo as a background to the keyboard.
Originally, I thought the app was just a way to make some outlandishly colored keyboards that were fun but not very useful. With a little effort, I could actually design keyboards that were easier on the eyes than the stock Apple design, with more pleasing fonts. I also liked the option to have the numeric keys on the same keyboard as the character keys, making typing faster. The little touches like double tapping the space bar for a period are retained with these keyboards, or can be turned off in preferences.
Of course, the keyboard you design appears in any app where a keyboard is used, and you can easily switch back to the stock keyboard or another keyboard you may have installed. Of course the keyboards look nice, but then I miss using Swype and some of the other functions I get with third-party keyboards. It would be nice to be able to combine features of multiple custom keyboards for a really tailored experience.
I liked Custom Keyboard and will continue to use the design I worked out with the app. Custom Keyboard requires iOS 8, and it’s universal. I’ve tested it on both an iPad Air and an iPhone 6 and saw no issues.