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Re­place your mo­bile key­board with Swiftkey

bit.ly/swift­droid446 bit.ly/swif­tios446 (varies) 9.3

Your smart­phone or tablet has a per­fectly us­able on-screen key­board and there’s no ur­gent need to con­sider in­stalling an al­ter­na­tive. But you’re miss­ing out on some very use­ful fea­tures – es­pe­cially where the lat­est ver­sion of Swiftkey is con­cerned.

The newly re­leased Swiftkey 7 is the first ma­jor up­date to the tool since Mi­crosoft scooped up the com­pany be­hind it for a cool £ 180m in 2016. The big­gest ad­di­tion in both the An­droid and IOS ver­sions is a handy new pop-up Tool­bar that con­tains a num­ber of use­ful short­cuts.

The Tool­bar can be en­abled or dis­abled when­ever you need it and ap­pears in a strip above the keys, pro­vid­ing quick ac­cess to emoji or GIFS, as well as let­ting you view the clip­board or se­lect al­ter­na­tive themes for Swiftkey it­self. The An­droid ver­sion comes with a num­ber of ex­tra items on the Tool­bar, in­clud­ing Swiftkey 7’s other sig­nif­i­cant new fea­ture, stick­ers – cur­rently an An­droid ex­clu­sive. Th­ese can be added to mes­sages or per­son­alised and saved to your favourites, so you can get to them again quickly.

Some of Swiftkey 7’s other new fea­tures – namely lo­ca­tion and cal­en­dar shar­ing – aren’t cur­rently avail­able in the UK ver­sion of the app. Ac­cord­ing to Mi­crosoft, th­ese are “com­ing soon”.

One of Swiftkey’s on­go­ing ben­e­fits is that it’s bet­ter at pre­dic­tive text and au­to­cor­rect than many of its ri­vals. It does this by mon­i­tor­ing what you type and learn­ing about your habits. Ob­vi­ously, this raises some pri­vacy con­cerns, but it’s pos­si­ble to opt out of some of its dat­a­col­lec­tion fea­tures. Also, Swiftkey is now cov­ered by Mi­crosoft’s pri­vacy pol­icy ( bit.ly/ pri­vacy446) – the same one that cov­ers Win­dows 10.

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