One of the major unmentioned benefits of iOS 8.2 is vastly improved stability for third party keyboards. All previous versions iOS 8 would find a way to crash keyboards within 20–30 minutes of my using them, which would start a frustrating chain of restarting apps in order to get the bloody input method back.
I’m really, really happy to report that this no longer seems to be the case. Third party keyboards are working much more consistently, and I’v only experienced one or two crashes in the last four days.
The only confusing portion for some people might be the way that keyboards switch up as you move between chats in iMessage. However, that seems to be a feature, not a bug.
If you’ve been intrigued by third party keyboards but couldn’t stand all the instability, now is the time to try them again. I would highly suggest Fleksy and Nintype as particularly good iPad-friendly options.
Apple released iOS 8.2 for the iPhone, iPod and iPad this week. The release notes indicate the bulk of the update is aimed at support for apple Watch and improvements to the Heath App. In addition, the new software provides increased stability and bug fixes for your iOS devices. The software update registers in at 565 MB for the iPhone, but on the iPad it is much smaller–a mere 256 MB.
Obviously with the announcement of the Apple Watch these week, the main focus of the update is the interaction between the iPhone and Apple Watch. In addition, when you update your iPhone an Apple Watch companion app will also be downloaded with the software update that will make it possible to manipulate settings on the new watch as well as personalize the Home screen from your phone. The Apple Watch is not compatible with the iPad, though, so this is most likely why 8.2 is half the size on your iPad. As long as your aren’t still rocking a first gen iPad, this update is compatible on your device.
Other additional enhancements in the update not related to Apple Watch still make this update important for iPad users who value improved stability and everyone’s favorite–bug fixes. Here are some of the notable highlights that affect iPad owners…
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This the keyboard view I had when trying to start up a new game in Football Manager Handheld on my iPad Air 2 the other night.
I had the Swype keyboard selected at the time and apparently iOS 8 wasn’t too thrilled with my choice at that time. I ended up having to quit the app, open the built-in Notes app, and swap to the built-in keyboard to get things back to normal and be able to fill in the fields to start a new game.
Yup, it’s just great to have 3rd party keyboards support on iOS 8.
Because third party keyboards are still so inexplicably unstable on iOS 8.1.2, I’m trying to see if I can just use Apple’s own QuickType keyboard. I liked using Fleksy and Nintype because they saved me keystrokes by predicting my words, or by correcting me in such a way that I don’t need to focus on accuracy while typing.
QuickType seems to do a bit of both, and it can be satisfying to watch the animations play above the keyboard as the system tries to guess what I’m going to say next. However, I find I’m so used to typing on touch devices that I often out-pace QuickType’s attempts to help me out. My fingers just end up flying faster than the animations can play out.
So I’m trying a different approach for a little while in an effort to retrain the way I operate on a software keyboard.
- I now type a little slower so that the software can guess what I’ll say next
- For words shorter than five characters, I’ll just type them out fully.
- For words over five characters, I’ll type the first four or five letters and let QuickType suggest options for me
It’s the early days yet, but this seems like a happy medium while I wait for Apple to make third party keyboards a viable option. That has to happen someday…right?
My colleague Thomas wrote a good post a couple months back, on the sad state of 3rd party keyboards in iOS8.
So I suppose it’s a little sad to report that iOS8 and its handling of keyboards – 3rd party or otherwise – is still buggy as heck, even months after release.
Check out the screenshot above for one basic ‘fail’ issue that I see fairly often on my iPad Air2. It’s the Spotlight Search bar, and I’ve already tapped the search bar to place the cursor there. That should instantly invoke the on-screen keyboard – but it doesn’t. And when this happens, I’ll tend to find that I get the same result in a notes app, or the App Store, or elsewhere.
It sometimes takes just a sleep and wake of the iPad to get past it, other times it needs a restart. But the fact is, I don’t recall ever seeing this prior to iOS 8.
I was looking forward to support for 3rd party keyboards and swipe typing in iOS8 as much as anyone possibly could (as I love using these on Android devices) – but so far the experience on iOS 8 has been nothing been disappointing.
Here’s hoping it will improve very soon.