A Look at Microsoft's Upcoming Word Flow Keyboard, Now in Closed Beta Testing

Rumors in January suggested Microsoft was working to bring its Word Flow Windows Phone keyboard to iOS, and now the company's keyboard project has entered a private beta testing phase. Starting this week, a limited number of testers have been given access to the Word Flow iOS keyboard.

MacRumors reader Ruben has shared some images and information with us, giving us our first look at the design and the features Microsoft plans to implement. According to Ruben, the keyboard is "incredibly reliable for a beta," with features like sounds, themes, and the much-anticipated one-handed "Arc" mode, accessed with a drag gesture.


In its default mode, the Word Flow keyboard looks a lot like a standard iOS keyboard, but its one-handed mode sets it apart from other offerings. With one-handed mode turned on, the keyboard morphs into a half-moon shape, arranging the letters to one side of the device for easy thumb access. The Word Flow keyboard supports both standard typing and swipe-based typing, as is one on third-party keyboards like Swipe and SwiftKey.

wordflowkeyboard1
Standard keyboard features like auto correction and word prediction are included, with options to enable or disable a word learning feature that improves word predictions by sending keyboard usage information to Microsoft. Multiple Word Flow themes are included, including light and dark options, and there are also tools for creating custom themes based on images taken from the iPhone's Photo Library.

wordflowkeyboard2
Additional information shared by iMore yesterday covers other features like quick access to Contacts through autofill and a free built-in image library that Microsoft plans to add to over time.

Microsoft has not yet publicly announced the Word Flow keyboard or shared details on when it might see a release.



Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
29 months ago

Could someone explain the reason that the app needs to send data to Microsoft in order for it to learn my typing habits and have better word predictions? Can the app not do it itself directly from within the app?

Could be worse. There could be a paperclip 'Looks like you're writing a letter'
Rating: 18 Votes
Avatar
29 months ago
I note that Pages hasn't been updated for five months.

Perhaps watch bands are more important.
Rating: 11 Votes
Avatar
29 months ago

Could someone explain the reason that the app needs to send data to Microsoft in order for it to learn my typing habits and have better word predictions? Can the app not do it itself directly from within the app?


Server side processing is faster, and it's easier to make changes/perform maintenance without having to push updates for the app. Additionally, they use this data to improve their service. Apple does the same with Siri.
Rating: 8 Votes
Avatar
29 months ago

I note that Pages hasn't been updated for five months.

Perhaps watch bands are more important.

Aaaaand now I'm sad.
Rating: 4 Votes
Avatar
29 months ago
Could someone explain the reason that the app needs to send data to Microsoft in order for it to learn my typing habits and have better word predictions? Can the app not do it itself directly from within the app?
Rating: 4 Votes
Avatar
29 months ago
I just want to have an option to choose the black apple keyboard :(
Rating: 3 Votes
Avatar
29 months ago
This is actually quite a neat and unique keyboard. Can't wait to try it out, and Microsoft is usually good at updates (at least IMO) so they should improve it over time.
Rating: 3 Votes
Avatar
29 months ago

Swiftkey and Swype work without sending their data to a server, so that doesn't sound like a good excuse.
Neither does comparing speech analysis to typing analysis.


And Microsoft's keyboard's better than either of those, so it's okay.
Rating: 2 Votes
Avatar
28 months ago

But can you still swipe words like in Swype without full access? Or is it similar to Swiftkey (also nowadays from Microsoft) that needs full access on in order to swipe words (aside from sound feedback and other things).


I turned it off and it's swiping fine.
Rating: 2 Votes
Avatar
29 months ago

Where does I claim that typing data is sent to Microsoft? This hasn't even been officially announced nor do we know if it truly exists. So how can we assume that data is being shared?


Look at the pictures a little more carefully. Specifically, the last one.
Rating: 2 Votes
[ Read All Comments ]