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September 7, 2017

The best keyboards for Android will have you texting faster than a 13-year-old

by John_A

Sometimes the keyboard app that comes with your phone just doesn’t cut it. Luckily, there are thousands of keyboards to choose from on the Google Play Store with fun themes, new features, and support for other languages. It’s also important, however, to know the risks of keyloggers and other malware when using a third-party input device, which is why Apple resisted third-party keyboard support for such a long time. Still, these days a third-party keyboard feels like a necessity for staying up to date on the latest features, including stickers, emojis, predictive text writing, and more.

That’s where we come in. We’ve gone ahead and done the research for you to find the best keyboards for Android that not only offer great features and look great, but have a strong history of user security and robust privacy policies so you can rest easy when typing away. If you decide to go with a lesser-known or new keyboard app, we’ve also included precautions for you to consider to protect your information — not just for keyboard apps, but any apps from the Google Play Store and beyond.

Best keyboard apps

SwiftKey (free)

SwiftKey comes highly rated on the Google Play Store, and the legions of faithful fans will boast of excellent suggestive typing, high accuracy rates, and predictive emoji. It also lets you switch effortlessly between languages mid sentence, which is great for bilingual folks. SwiftKey has a robust privacy policy that carefully differentiates between data to help the keyboard learn your typing habits, while protecting sensitive data like login information and credit cards. It leaves control of that data in your hands, allowing you to easily opt into cloud services or remove your info. It also offers tons of themes and other features.

Download now from:

Google Play

Google Keyboard (free)

It’s not the flashiest of the bunch, but if you want top-notch Android integration and assurance of total privacy, you can’t go wrong with Google’s own lightweight keyboard. Depending on your device, this may be the stock keyboard already. The keyboard offers tons of languages and dictionaries. If you’re running Android 4.4 or later, you’ll also get built-in emoji support for hundreds of useful symbols and emoticons, as well as a number of different shortcuts from voice commands to space-aware gesture support. Since it’s developed by Google, you know there is no need to worry about malware, adware, or any nasty stuff on this app.

Download now from:

Google Play

Fleksy Keyboard (free)

The Fleksy keyboard was used to set the world record for fastest texting twice, so if snappy response times and customization for speed are your thing, this is the keyboard for you. It’s also free, and it doesn’t come with any annoying adware. Rather than swiping or drawing the letters, you’ll tap just like you used to, and use gestures to delete words or select auto-correct options. You can shrink or grow the keyboard for your needs, as well as change the colors and layout. Fleksy’s privacy policy is sturdy, too, and clearly outlines what information the keyboard is able to see. It even allows you to opt out of any programs that you find uncomfortable.

Download now from:

Google Play

Swype Keyboard ($1)

If you’ve ever typed an entire word on your phone’s keyboard without lifting a finger, you have Swype to thank. More than five years ago Swype started the hype with drawing your sentences out, rather than pecking them out on the keyboard. There’s a free version, but the paid version is only $1. To type, you draw a line through all of the letters, and then the app uses auto-correct to figure out which letters were the important ones. It’s extremely accurate and intuitive to use. Swype also boasts bilingual support, audio-response typing, and gestures. You can even change the theme to match your favorite sports team, or set the key size for the perfect fit to your fingers, and save settings across multiple devices.

Download now from:

Google Play

TouchPal (free)

TouchPal has also been around for nearly 10 years. First off, its status as a longstanding app ensures a robust security and privacy policy. The free app also features voice recognition, emojis, stickers, one-touch writing, and other nifty tricks. It handles add-ons through an internal store, which also includes a miniature app store for advertising purposes. You do need to watch out, though, as the app is riddled with some full-screen ads if you don’t pony up for an annual subscription ($5). At least it doesn’t feature any adware or other apps that will take over your device.

Download now from:

Google Play

Minuum ($4)

The biggest feature of Minuum is its focus on being small. The Minuum keyboard is condensed down to rely more heavily on auto-correct to figure out what word you typed. It’s especially helpful if you own the iPhone SE or other small devices with a 4-inch or smaller screen. Whenever screen real estate is especially valuable, this is the keyboard you need. You can adjust the size of the keyboard, condensing the extra rows of letters into small sections, similar to the way numeric keyboards put multiple letters on each key. The interface is so efficient, it even works on smartwatches and Google Glass. Minuum has a comprehensive privacy policy that lets you contribute usage data anonymously or keep it all to yourself.

Download now from:

Google Play

Microsoft Keyboard for Excel (free)

Here’s something a little more niche. Eschewing the current trend for flashy additions, Microsoft’s Keyboard for Excel is just that — a keyboard that’s focused on making Excel usage on phones that much easier. Optimized for number entry, and lacking in features like autocorrect and gestures, the description admits that this is an experimental keyboard, created by Microsoft’s experimental Garage division. It’s definitely not something you’re likely to stick with if you don’t do a lot of number work — but if you do, this might be the keyboard you install.

Download now from:

Google Play

Chrooma Keyboard (free)

Looking for a free, lightweight, easy-to-use keyboard with one-touch typing? Chrooma Keyboard has you covered. It’s a straightforward, simple, fast keyboard with a colorful twist. Every time you change the app, it tries to replicate the colors with a Google-esque aesthetic, thus ensuring a stylish way to type.

Download now from:

Google Play

Go Keyboard (free)

If you’re someone who enjoys having a lot — and we mean a lot — of keyboards to choose from, then Go Keyboard is the way to go. It offers thousands of custom themes, thus allowing you to show off your favorite sports teams, school colors, or just pick something that suits your style. Along with the core typing experience and themes, you also get access to emojis and other fun extras. Just keep in mind that the Go Keyboard has a fair amount of ads, including some that appear on top of the keyboard, which isn’t so cool.

Download now from:

Google Play

Hacker’s Keyboard (free)

Ever tried remotely accessing a computer or Linux terminal from your Android device? You might notice how much trouble it is to try and enter commands, such as control-alt-delete, without all the different keys on a typical PC keyboard. Despite the menacing name, Hacker’s Keyboard gives you an easy way to enter all those complicated commands from your Android device by emulating the same keyboard you have on your desktop. It’s especially useful when trying to use ALT, arrow keys, or function keys you’d otherwise not have access to, and it’s a must-have for anyone using TeamViewer or a terminal emulator.

Download now from:

Google Play

GIF Keyboard (free)

Do you love GIFs in an almost criminal way? Then you’ll probably want an easy way to find and share your favorite GIFs via Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and a host of other social platforms. This isn’t necessarily a traditional keyboard, but more of an app that you can load on the fly to search for your favorite GIFs. Then, mix them up with custom filters before sending them out alongside your messages and chats.

Download now from:

Google Play

Google Handwriting Input (free)

Some folks might own a Samsung Galaxy Note or other smartphone with a dedicated stylus. If that’s the case, you might really enjoy the experience of writing with your own pen just as you would with a notepad. Google’s dedicated handwriting app is great for this. It offers the ability to write entire phrases at a time, emojis, and more. Plus, being a Google app, you can rest easy knowing that you’re using the best handwriting recognition software available — and one that’s also void of adware.

Download now from:

Google Play

Ginger Keyboard (free)

For another all-in-one option, Ginger Keyboard is worthy of your consideration. It comes with all the extras you’d expect from a keyboard app, including spell-checkers, emojis, and predictive text — but it also rocks a grammar checker, translation options, and even has the option to add apps to a smart bar, so you can switch seamlessly. We’re a bit confused by the addition of games to a keyboard, but if that sounds like your bag then give Ginger Keyboard a try!

Download now from:

Google Play

Cheetah Keyboard (free)

After something stylish and fun? Then look no further than the 3D reactions of Cheetah Keyboard. With thousands of free themes to browse and collect, Cheetah Keyboard also supports DIY themes — hundreds of of different fonts, sounds, and backgrounds can be put together to create your own personal theme. And it’s not style without substance — Cheetah boasts all the usual predictive text, swipe typing, and autocorrect features you’d expect from one of its more famous brethren.

Download now from:

Google Play

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