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How to change your default keyboard on Android
Android keyboards have come a long way from being a simple typing tool. Both native and third-party options support multiple languages, different input methods, dedicated sections for emojis, GIFs, and stickers, and built-in translate functions. While native keyboards are powerful, you might want to mix things up depending on your needs. Here’s how to change your keyboard on Android.
Read more: The best keyboards on Android
To change your keyboard on Android, go to Settings > System settings > Keyboard and input method > Current keyboard and choose the keyboard (the steps might differ a little depending on your phone). You can download third-party keyboards from the Google Play Store.
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What are your keyboard options on Android?
The native keyboard on your Android might be different, depending on the phone you have. Let’s take a closer look at two of the standard native keyboards on Android.
Google’s Gboard app is the stock keyboard on Pixels, OnePlus devices, and others. You can also download it as a third-party option from the Google Play Store on phones that don’t have it as the default.
Gboard is a well-rounded keyboard with plenty of input options. You can use voice typing, glide typing, and handwriting if simply tapping keys gets boring. You can quickly find and use stickers, Bitmoji, GIFs, and emojis on the keyboard. But one of Gboard’s best features is direct access to Google Translate. Tap the translate button in the top bar, type in the language of your choice, and see the translated text appear.
Samsung’s native keyboard is quite similar to Gboard. You can use voice input and enable swipe to type, and predictive text goes to the next level with sticker suggestions. The Samsung keyboard includes more stickers, GIFs, animated emojis, the ability to create custom emojis, and the option to download more with the tap of a button.
You can also set up Smart content on the keyboard. This includes Bitmoji stickers, Google Translate, Grammarly, and even the option to add links to Spotify music and YouTube videos directly. It’s as feature-packed as any third-party Android keyboard, so you won’t have to change the native keyboard if you have a Samsung phone.
Plenty of third-party keyboards are available on the Google Play Store, from the minimalistic to the feature-packed. Don’t forget to check out our top recommendations, but here are a couple worth featuring.
Many users change their Android keyboards to Swiftkey as soon as they get their phones. The keyboard is excellent for swipe typing, and if you enable the required permissions, it’s one of the best options for predictive texting and lets you build a personal dictionary. You can use Swiftkey on multiple devices, and the app will learn from usage and typing patterns to continuously improve its text predictions.
Microsoft bought Swiftkey in 2016, so it’s no surprise that there are some additional integrations. You can create task lists on the keyboard if you sign in with a Microsoft account, and it comes with direct access to Microsoft Translate. Like other Android keyboards, you can also use emojis, GIFs, and stickers. It also comes with various themes and customization options to make the keyboard experience your own.
The Grammarly keyboard is much more simplistic than the other options on this list, at least as far as customizations go. You can’t change the look much compared to other Android keyboards, except for adjusting the height and choosing between a dark or light theme. If you’ve used the Grammarly extension on your computer to help with your typing, you know what the Grammarly keyboard will be the best at.
The Grammarly keyboard is probably best for Grammarly users, especially if you have a premium account and would like to enjoy the convenience of the app on your phone. Yes, other keyboards are excellent for predictive texting and auto-correct. But Grammarly also checks your grammar, punctuation, and sentence conciseness. If you have a premium account, you will also get additional features like sentence rewrites, tone adjustments, synonym suggestions, and more.
How to change the keyboard on any Android phone
You can download third-party keyboards like Microsoft Swiftkey, Grammarly, and Gboard (on phones where it isn’t the default option) from the Google Play Store. Once you’ve downloaded the apps, go to Settings > System settings > Keyboard and input method and tap on Current keyboard to change your keyboard.
Remember that the steps will be a little different depending on your phone. On a Samsung phone running Android 12, go to Settings > General management > Keyboard list and default > Default keyboard to change it.
You can also change the keyboard while typing. Tap on the keyboard icon at the bottom left or right of your keyboard to bring up the Choose input method menu. If you don’t see this icon, you can also long-press the space bar on some phones.
How to customize an Android keyboard
There are a lot of native and third-party keyboards on Android that offer a variety of customization options. Here, we’ll look at how to customize Gboard, the keyboard that is available natively on a lot of Android phones.
To access keyboard settings, go to Settings > System settings > Keyboard and input method and tap on Gboard in the Available keyboards section. Here’s a quick breakdown of some customization settings available with Gboard.
Gboard supports 916 languages, including multiple scripts and regional and national dialects. Go to Languages > Add keyboard in the Gboard settings menu to change your Android keyboard to the correct language. If the language uses a different script, tap on its name in the Languages section to choose between a keyboard in that script or an English keyboard that automatically changes what you type to the correct script. Remember that this isn’t a translation feature, though.
You can change the layout to what suits you best, including QWERTY (the default), QWERTZ, AZERTY, and more. If you prefer handwriting, Gboard includes a handwriting keyboard with 97 languages. You will see the Handwriting option in the layout section if your language is supported.
Preferences include adding or removing a number row, including a dedicated emoji key, or adding a language switch key (if you have multiple languages set up). You can also set up a one-handed mode and make changes to the height of your Android keyboard. You can also use this section to set the sound and haptic feedback with a key press.
Gboard themes include setting it to a dark or light theme or choosing between multiple colors, landscape photos, light gradients, and dark gradients. You can also download third-party Gboard themes and add them by tapping the + icon under My themes.
This section is all about making your typing experience easier. You can enable next-word suggestions, Smart Compose, auto-correction, auto-capitalization, spell checks, grammar checks, and block offensive words. You can also add or remove the suggestion strip on the keyboard.
Emoji, stickers, and GIFs
These settings let you add an emoji fast-access row and a recently-used emojis row to your keyboard. You can also set up a button for the emoji keyboard and enable predictive searches for GIFs, emojis, and stickers.
Gboard also lets you enable and disable Glide typing and Voice typing. There’s a built-in Clipboard that will allow you quickly access copied text. Finally, you can also set up a Personal dictionary, so auto-correct doesn’t keep changing what you’re trying to say.
How to turn predictive text on and off on an Android device
With different keyboards available, the setting to turn predictive text on and off depends on the keyboard you use. We’ll look at enabling or disabling this feature on Gboard, Samsung Keyboard, Microsoft Swiftkey, and Grammarly Keyboard.
You’ll find the keyboard settings by going to Settings > System settings > Keyboard and input method and tapping on Gboard in the Available keyboard section.
Open Gboard settings and go to Text correction. Toggle Next-word suggestions on or off to enable or disable predictive text. You can turn off the Show suggestion strip option if you want to remove all suggestions.
On your Samsung phone, enable or disable predictive text on the keyboard by going to Settings > General management > Samsung Keyboard settings.
Predictive text is an integral part of the Swiftkey experience. Unfortunately, you can’t disable the prediction bar at the top of the keyboard. Open the Swiftkey settings (Settings > System settings > Keyboard and input method and tap Swiftkey in the Available keyboard section or by launching the Swiftkey app).
Go to Typing and disable the Quick prediction insert option so that the predictions don’t get in the way. You can also disable auto-correct to remove all suggestions.
Go to Settings > System settings > Keyboard and input method and tap Grammarly in the Available keyboard section. Toggle Predictive text on or off.