You don’t have to accept your Android phone’s default keyboard as the only choice. The Google Play Store features a large selection of customizable third-party keyboards to better suit your needs and writing habits. That said, choose carefully. Beware of keyboard apps that may pose security threats to your device, and download only keyboards sold by the Google Play Store. Also, be aware of whether your new keyboard app asks for network connectivity. Unless you specifically set a cloud-based backup or your free keyboard uses banner ads, a keyboard shouldn’t need internet access. Avoid free keyboard adware that can take over the app every time you use it or send you annoying notifications. Before you install a third-party keyboard, check out our list of the best apps on Android, plus our guides to Android security, the best Android security apps, and the best Android VPNs.
Whether you’re looking for support for other languages, fun emoji, or anything in between, the Google Play store has the right keyboard for you. Here are some of the top options available today.
Always a great favorite among Android users, Gboard may not be the flashiest app, but it’s first-class if you’re looking for Android and Google integration as well as a guarantee of privacy. Google’s lightweight keyboard app may already be your default app, in which case you need to look no further for extensive language and built-in emoji support for hundreds of useful symbols and emoticons. You can swipe around the keyboard to type, but the main draw is the ability to query Google without having to leave a conversation — just tap the Google icon to search the web. There are plenty of customization options too, such as adding a number row, and there are other extra features, like a one-handed mode and voice input. Since it is developed by Google, you know there is no need to worry about malware, adware, or any other nasty stuff. Your personal dictionary is tied to your Google account, so you can have it ready for whatever device you install Gboard on.
Microsoft SwiftKey (free)
ai.type Keyboard Plus + Emoji ($3)
This beautiful and efficient app lets you design custom keyboard layouts; swap themes, colors, and fonts; and access some 800 emoji for the ultimate in self-expression. It offers thousands of themes to use and share, emoji and graphical character support, auto suggestions, next-word prediction, completion, auto-correction, swiping for faster typing, dynamic keyboard resizing, customizable top and bottom rows, and search. The voice narration feature dictates words as you type them while your text stays encrypted and private.
Facemoji Emoji Keyboard
Emoji addicts — this one’s for you. If you habitually use emoji, memes, or GIFs, Facemoji provides thousands of appealing stickers, emoji, and emoticons for arguably the most fun keyboard experience ever. You can even combine different emoji to create unique images for use on posts or chats on Snapchat, Tiktok, Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp, or Facebook. Make your own keyboard wallpaper with your favorite photos and share it with your buddies to use. But it’s not all fun and games. The app also facilitates faster typing with gestures, smart autocorrect, and speech to text.
Multiling O Keyboard (free)
This highly customizable keyboard is a must-have for our international readers who find it difficult to get third-party keyboards that support their native language. The Multiling O Keyboard supports more than 200 languages. It allows you to choose the layout and look of the keyboard and also supports swiping and emoji. It offers four- and five-row layouts, letting you switch between QWERTY, DVORAK, AZERTY, or even design your own layout. It doesn’t match the predictive qualities of other keyboards, but for multilingual support and customization options, it’s tough to beat.
If you regularly use GIFs, emoji, emoticons, memes, stickers, and themes, we suggest considering the Ginger keyboard. This unique application applies artificial intelligence (A.I.) to examine and predict your individual writing style. The more you work with Ginger, the better its A.I. features indicate what you want to communicate. On top of suggesting auto-corrections for each word, Ginger will also review entire sentences using a contextual grammar inspector and spell examiner. Additionally, you’ll receive emoji, emoji art, stickers, animated GIFs, word prediction for both text and emoji, high-level sentence rephrasing, translation, and a variety of other beneficial features.