Hands-On Installation and Usage of TouchPal's Gesture Keyboard for iOS 8

Following Apple's announcement at its Worldwide Developers Conference earlier this month that iOS 8 would include support for third-party keyboards on a systemwide basis, a number of companies working on the technology indicated that they would be moving forward with plans to support iOS. Among those companies was TouchPal, with quickly released a video showing an early version of its sliding gesture keyboard in action.

TouchPal has now released its first alpha version of its keyboard for iOS 8 to select media outlets, giving a good look at how third-party keyboard will work on iOS 8.

touchpal_installation
Installation is straightforward, leveraging a traditional App Store app to add TouchPal as an option when adding new keyboard in the Settings app. Once TouchPal is added, users can simply rearrange their installed keyboards in their preferred order, and rotate through each one while in use by tapping the globe key. Users who have activated the emoji keyboard on their devices will be familiar with that process.

Once activated, TouchPal is available anywhere a keyboard is traditionally used, such as in Mail, Messages, Safari, Notes, iWork apps, and third-party apps.

touchpal_usage
TouchPal's keyboard is similar to the perhaps more well-known one from Swype, allowing users to drag a finger in one continuous motion as they spell out the word. Based on the pattern drawn by the user, TouchPal suggests several options for the intended word, with highest-ranked option highlighted in the middle of the suggestions bar. Hitting the space bar or touching the word accepts the suggestion.

Numbers and common punctuation marks are input right from the main keyboard screen simply by flicking up or down on the proper key. Additional punctuation marks and emoticons are available by tapping the "12#" key at the lower left.

In our testing, there were definitely some glitches, particularly when switching between keyboards, but it is still early in the development process and Apple and third-party keyboard companies will continue to refine their implementations in the coming months leading up to the public release of iOS 8 this fall.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
83 months ago
Don't know why, but I never seemed interested in this feature.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
83 months ago

Don't know why, but I never seemed interested in this feature.


Then honestly, you have no idea what you are missing. Once you get used to it, old school single key typing seems prehistoric.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
83 months ago
Had this on Android. Worked well, used it twice. Never used it again. Feels unnatural.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
83 months ago

Then honestly, you have no idea what you are missing. Once you get used to it, old school single key typing seems prehistoric.


Agreed. Swype is probably one of the coolest features of Android.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
83 months ago

about freaking time! but i hate that it requires to download an actual "app" (even if its an obvious choice by apple) i hate the thought of having all those "apps" on my springboard just to get a feature activated and no longer actually need the "icon". wonder if the keyboard would stick even if i delete the app "icon" from the springboard?


If you delete the app, it stops working. An entry for it remains in the Settings section for keyboards, but it's blank and you can't use the keyboard.

At least that's how it currently works through beta.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
83 months ago

about freaking time! but i hate that it requires to download an actual "app" (even if its an obvious choice by apple) i hate the thought of having all those "apps" on my springboard just to get a feature activated and no longer actually need the "icon". wonder if the keyboard would stick even if i delete the app "icon" from the springboard?

You can probably delete those apps after installing the keyboard, as was the case with Emoji.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Early iPhone 12 Tests Show Ceramic Shield is Stronger and More Scratch Resistant Than iPhone 11 Glass

Friday October 23, 2020 1:21 pm PDT by
Apple's new iPhone 12 models are protected by a Ceramic Shield cover glass that has nano-ceramic crystals infused right into the glass to improve durability. According to Apple, Ceramic Shield offers four times better drop protection than the glass used for the iPhone 11 models. YouTube channel MobileReviewsEh conducted some tests on the iPhone 12 using a force meter to compare its performance ...

iPhone 12 Pro Allows You to Measure Someone's Height Instantly Using LiDAR Scanner

Saturday October 24, 2020 11:12 am PDT by
iPhone 12 Pro models feature a new LiDAR Scanner for enhanced augmented reality experiences, but the sensor also enables another unique feature: the ability to measure a person's height instantly using the Measure app. You can even measure the seated height of a person in a chair, according to Apple. When the Measure app detects a person in the viewfinder, it automatically measures their...

Google Reportedly Pays Apple $8-12 Billion Per Year to be Default iOS Search Engine

Sunday October 25, 2020 2:59 pm PDT by
The United States Justice Department is targeting a lucrative deal between Apple and Google as part of one of the U.S. government's largest antitrust cases, reports The New York Times. On Tuesday, the Justice Department filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google, claiming the Mountain View-based company used anticompetitive and exclusionary practices in the search and advertising markets to ...

Apple References Unreleased 2020 16-Inch MacBook Pro in Boot Camp Update

Monday October 26, 2020 8:42 am PDT by
Last week, Apple released an update for Boot Camp, its utility for running Windows on a Mac. While this update would typically be unremarkable, several of our readers noticed that the release notes reference an unreleased 2020 model of the 16-inch MacBook Pro. While this could easily be a mistake, the 16-inch MacBook Pro is nearly a year old, so it is certainly a worthy candidate for a...

Apple Warns MagSafe Charger Can Leave Circular Imprints on Leather Cases

Friday October 23, 2020 3:23 pm PDT by
If you keep your iPhone in a leather case while charging with Apple's new MagSafe Charger, the case might show circular imprints from contact with the accessory, according to a new Apple support document published today. Apple's leather cases for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro are not available until November 6, but a MacRumors reader has already shared a photo of a circular imprint on...

iPhone 11 Pro Outlasts iPhone 12 and 12 Pro in Extensive Battery Life Test

Friday October 23, 2020 8:36 am PDT by
Arun Maini today shared a new side-by-side iPhone battery life video test on his YouTube channel Mrwhosetheboss, timing how long the new iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro models last on a single charge compared to older models, with equal brightness, settings, battery health, and usage. All of the devices are running iOS 14 without a SIM card inserted. In the test, the iPhone 11 Pro outlasted both ...

PSA: Non-iPhone 12 Models Charge Super Slowly With MagSafe Charger

Friday October 23, 2020 4:11 pm PDT by
Alongside the iPhone 12 models, Apple introduced a new $39 MagSafe Charger that's meant to work with the magnets in the iPhone 12 Pro models to charge them up at a maximum of 15W. The MagSafe Charger is technically able to be used with older iPhones, but it's not a good idea because the charging with non-iPhone 12 devices is so slow. We did two tests with the iPhone XS Max, draining the...

MagSafe Charger Teardown Reveals Simple Design With Magnets and Charging Coil Encircling a Small Circuit Board

Friday October 23, 2020 7:50 am PDT by
iFixit has today shared a teardown of Apple's new MagSafe charger for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro. An X-ray of the MagSafe charger courtesy of Creative Electron reveals the internal charging coil surrounded by a circular arrangement of magnets within the puck. The only seam that iFixit was able to leverage to open the device was where the white rubber circle meets the metal rim,...

Apple VP Kaiann Drance Interview Addresses Battery Life, MagSafe, and Power Adapter Concerns

Friday October 23, 2020 3:37 am PDT by
Apple's Vice President of iPhone Marketing, Kaiann Drance, has provided a new interview to Rich DeMuro on the Rich on Tech Podcast, to discuss the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro. Although much of the interview repeated points from Apple's "Hi, Speed" event, there were a number of interesting tidbits regarding the affect of 5G on battery life, MagSafe concerns, and the lack of a power adapter in...

iFixit Shares Full iPhone 12 and 12 Pro Teardown Revealing Interchangeable Displays and Batteries

Saturday October 24, 2020 1:48 pm PDT by
After live streaming a teardown of the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro earlier this week, iFixit today provided a more in-depth teardown that goes through all of the components in the new devices, revealing several similarities between the two. Early testing conducted by iFixit shows that the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro displays are interchangeable and can be swapped without issue, though the max...