Next: Beautifully-Designed Third-Party Keyboard for iOS

Most of our activities on mobile devices revolve around the keyboard. While Apple has already allowed users to add third-party keyboards to improve its stock keyboards, many of the options are not good enough. Tiny Heart, the developer behind several top-selling iOS apps, decided to build a perfect keyboard for iOS. And they wanted to involve the users by starting the project in Kickstarter.

The project has become the most funded app on Kickstarter, and the result is Next: the perfect keyboard for iPhone.

After downloading and installing the app from the iTunes App Store, you can begin by opening up the app. You will be greeted with the welcome screen and a list of quick-start steps to start. For security reasons, installing a keyboard app in iOS doesn’t automatically activate it.

Next iOS Keyboard -mte- 01 - Start

To add the Next keyboard, open “Settings” and go to “General -> Keyboard.”

Next iOS Keyboard -mte- 02 - Settings

Select “Keyboards -> Add New Keyboard.” You can see all the keyboards that have been installed on your iOS device.

Next iOS Keyboard -mte- 03 - Add Keyboard

On the next screen you can pick one from all the available keyboards. Don’t forget to give the keyboard full access by tapping it in the keyboard list window.

Next iOS Keyboard -mte- 04 - Allow Full Access

Now that your Next keyboard is active, you can start using it in any application that requires typing. If you already have more than one active keyboards, you can select which one to use by tapping the Globe icon. Usually it’s located next to the Spacebar. For the Next keyboard, beside the Spacebar is the access to “Options.” There are three choices here: “Switch Keyboard,” “Change Theme,” and “Settings.”

Next iOS Keyboard -mte- 05 - Keyboard Settings

Inside Settings you can enable/disable Auto-Correction, Emojis, Auto-Capitalisation, Sound, etc. You can also choose a language and reset your dictionary. At the moment of writing, English is the only available dictionary. Hopefully the developer will add more in the future.

The Next keyboard will learn your most-used words and add them to your dictionary, so it will get smarter with time. It will display the words it learns in the word suggestions, and your typing will also get faster.

If you only need one reason to get Next, the Quick Cursor feature is it. This feature eliminates the text editing nightmare where you have to tap your finger and wait for the magnifying glass to appear to get to the part of the text where you need to edit.

With quick cursor, you just slide your finger in the Spacebar to move the cursor to where you need to be. The function is similar to the arrow key on a desktop computer.

Trying to be the perfect keyboard doesn’t mean that Next has to be all serious. There are several fun things that you can do with Next.

The first one is doing predictive emojis. You can quickly insert an emoji without having to go to the emoji window. You can type the emoji name, and it will show up in the word suggestion. For example, to insert the smile emoji, type “Smile” and tap it to insert.

The next one is using stickers in your text. Tap the emoji icon on the top right corner of the keyboard pane to go to the emoji window, then slide left to go to the stickers window. Tap one to insert it into your text.

Next iOS Keyboard -mte- 06 - Stickers

More stickers are accessible via the Next application. Some of the stickers are free, and others will be available after you tweet them.

Other items that are available via the Next application are themes. Similar to stickers, some themes are free, while some are available as a paid upgrade.

Next iOS Keyboard -mte- 07 - Keyboard Store

The free themes are all beautiful, maybe the most goodlooking keyboard themes among third-party keyboards. You don’t need to buy more themes, but you can do it to support the developer.

If you have time to spare, you can have a fun and meaningless conversation with the Next keyboard by tapping Test and typing away.

To conclude, Next is probably one of the best third-party keyboards for iOS today. It’s beautiful, highly functional, and fun to use. The only thing that might keep you from trying it is that it doesn’t have dictionaries in languages other than English. For non-English speaking users, it means that Next needs longer time to pick up their most-used words and more effort on the user’s side to manually correct the typing. That’s more time and effort that not all users are willing to take. It’s easier for some just to use another keyboard.

Have you tried the Next keyboard? Please share your experience in the comment below.

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