Before iOS 8, third-party keyboards on the App Store had to exist as standalone apps from which you could copy and paste it into Mail or Messages. However, now Apple allows third-party keyboards to be used in all applications, and it also introduced a much improved default keyboard – QuickType. Apple’s default keyboard now supports word prediction and takes context into account when showing suggestions. A day after iOS 8 was released, the keyboard app was at the top of the App Store’s list of free and paid apps. If you can’t wait to try out these apps, here’s how to install, enable, and disable various keyboards on iOS 8.

(See also: Our Favorite Third-Party Keyboard Apps for iOS 8)

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At first glance, QuickType appears to be an ordinary keyboard, but it starts to show its worth after you use it for a while. It suggests words based on your style in different apps like Messages and Mail. If someone asks you a question like “Dinner or a movie?” QuickType will automatically suggest the words dinner and movie. Here’s how to enable or disable QuickType features.

1. On your iOS device, tap Settings > General > Keyboard.

2. Now scroll down and you will see several options like AutoCorrect, AutoCapitalize, Check Spelling, Enable Caps Lock and Prediction. Tap the switch next to each to enable or disable it.

3. If you don’t see Predictive on your iOS 8 keyboard, make sure the switch next to Predictive is on.

4. You can also set keyboard shortcuts, such as typing “omw” for “on the road”. In the same menu, just click on the shortcut to configure it.

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third-party keyboard
We really like the QuickType keyboard, but some people want more features like swipe typing. That’s where new third-party keyboards come into the picture. While these keyboards offer functionality that QuickType does not, there is a risk that the application will record and store your keystrokes. All apps claim they respect user privacy, but there is no way to verify this.

At the time of writing, we also faced some issues with third-party keyboards. Lags and even crashes happen from time to time. These issues will likely be fixed in a future update, but if you don’t want to wait, here’s what you need to do to get these keyboards:

1. Go to the App Store and install your favorite keyboard app.

2. Open Settings > General > Keyboard > Keyboard.

3. Tap Add New Keyboard.

4. Select the keyboard you want to use from the list.

5. Tap Edit at the top to change the order in which the keyboards appear. The main keyboard you want to use should be at the top.

6. Now open any application that allows you to type, such as Messages or WhatsApp. Tap the icon to switch between keyboards. Some keyboards, such as Swype, require you to tap and hold the globe icon to switch between keyboards, but tapping the globe icon switches keyboards in most other apps we tried.

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Apple protects your data by not allowing full access to the keyboard unless you allow it. A keyboard without full access cannot transmit data to its servers, and therefore cannot record anything you type. Unfortunately, some keyboards will stop working if you don’t grant them full access. Here’s how to grant them full access or disable it.

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1. Go to Settings > General > Keyboard > Keyboard.

2. Select the keyboard you want to grant full access to.

3. Slide the switch next to Full Access to On. To disable it, slide this switch to Off.

4. Full Access is a keyboard-specific option, so you must enable or disable it individually for each third-party keyboard.

This includes how to use third-party keyboards on iOS 8. Do you prefer the default QuickType keyboard or use a third-party keyboard? Let us know by commenting. Be sure to visit our “How To” section for more tutorials.

By Rebecca French

Rebecca French writes books about Technology and smartwatches. Her books have received starred reviews in Technology Shout, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and Booklist. She is a New York Times and a USA Today Bestseller...