There was a time when Apple allowed other software makers to create their own “keyboard” for iOS devices. It was as though it was yesterday because I was utterly frustrated that as much as the functionalities that they bring, it was buggy and sometimes downright completely useless. Then came Gboard for iOS. A keyboard, made by Google for iOS devices.
I installed it firstly on my iPhone 7 Plus two weeks back and have been using it. So far, I have only encountered one bug. It happens whenever I try to type in a location for a calendar invite I am sending out only to not have the keyboard popping out. Other than that, I never once did think of switching back to the original iOS keyboard.
Initially, the Gboard was available only for users who had a US based iTunes account. That meant it was for US users only. Recently, the good folks here in Malaysia started receiving access and ironically enough, Google has released a version for Android as well.
So what makes this functional?
- Google has specifically mentioned that they will only take search related data and not the data which you type on the keyboard. Hey, let’s be specific here. On your phone, you would probably typed in passwords for multiple sites which can include e-commerce as well as banking sites.
- It doesn’t come up when entering passwords (iOS will default back to the iOS keyboard)
- You can’t use dictation on it
- It has a search function which allows you to search for stuff and insert it in (very useful when sending information to friends)
- I also like it because it can also search for gifs as well, particularly useful when you are quite active in various chat applications.
- For those of you who moved over from Android to iOS, this keyboard also lets you swipe for text.
- Gboard lets you search for emoji’s as well. If you think that isn’t important, check out the movie trailer below.
3rd party keyboards have been around since the last iOS version but over time they have gotten to be better. Initially, a keyboard functioned just as a keyboard, it is utility in nature and had to be responsive. Previously I hated those 3rd party keyboards because they were slow and buggy. Gboard, on the other hand, has proven to be quite useful and responsive. It hasn’t hung once since I used it and have played a key role in my day-to-day needs.
Overall the Gboard has defaulted to be my only keyboard on my iPhone and seems to be functioning well. If you are looking for an alternative, I would highly recommend Gboard.