With iOS 8, Apple now allows developers to create alternative keyboards on iPhone and iPad that can be used almost anywhere to replace the system keyboard. We told you about several third-party keyboards for iOS 8 including when the major operating system update was released last month, and a few more interesting third-party keyboards have since been released. The first is an Emoji-only keyboard called Emoji++ that makes finding the right Emoji character much faster, and the second is both a language and symbol keyboard called Character Keyboard for typing out special characters.
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The Emoji++ keyboard bills itself at the fastest way to type emoji on iOS. It achieves that by allowing you to scroll through your emoji list as a single collection rather than relying on swiping through pages of segmented collections.
You also gain the ability to “favorite” emoji characters for quick access in addition to seeing your most recently used emoji characters. The sidebar offers quick access to jumping to certain sets of emoji similar to the side scroll bar from Contacts or Music, only with Emoji and not letters. There’s also iPad support which presents even more Emoji characters all at once with the same scrolling support for fast access.
If you’re a frequent Emoji user or just find the system Emoji keyboard frustrating, check out Emoji++. Grab it for $0.99 on the App Store.
The next keyboard is both a full alphabetical and numerical keyboard as well as a keyboard loaded with special character keys including the Apple logo. In the past I’ve relied on copying and pasting many of these characters from around the Internet when I need them or setting up keyboard shortcuts for specific ones, but that’s a lot of work.
Instead, Character Keyboard provides both a full keyboard and several screens of special character keys. You can access each additional keyboard by scrolling left and right to each one. When you’re deep in a keyboard of characters and you want to quickly jump back to the alphabet, there’s an ABC button for that. There’s also a pull-right gesture that reveals quick access to specific special character keyboards by category.
Character Keyboard supports both light and dark themes. You can toggle the themes manually in the app or allow themes to change automatically based on the time of day.
I think this one will be good to have quick access to and it’s much faster than my old methods of typing special characters. Character Keyboard is available on the App Store for $1.99.
For more third-party keyboard options, check out our roundup of the best third-party keyboards for iOS 8 and let us know below if you have a favorite you’re using.