iOS 8 Tip #4: Faster Typing, Thanks to the Predictive Keyboard

Updated December 19th, 2015.

Eight for 8, Day Four.

iOS 8 Tip #4: Faster Typing, Thanks to the Predictive Keyboard

iOS 8’s keyboard looks a lot like its predecessors, except now it has a little strip across the top row. It uses that strip to present its three best guesses for what you want to type next. Tap a guess to squirt the word right in. It takes a little getting used to but it’s worth it as it’s way faster to tap on a guessed word than it is to type the word yourself. It’s built into the system so it works everywhere you can type.

It’s easy to overlook the Predictive Typing feature, and also easy to under-appreciate it by not understanding how sophisticated and groovy it is, so I am here to help you.

In the email message below I wanted to type “I saw two deer yesterday while driving home from Malibu.” In the first picture, you see (boxed in red) iOS 8’s best guesses for how I’m going to start my email.

Predictive keyboard 01

I didn’t gain anything by tapping the suggested word “I” rather than typing it on the keyboard. In fact, for the first few words, the Predictive Keyboard didn’t save me any typing at all. I had to type every letter of “I saw two deer” all by myself.

But then–

iOS 8 guessed “yesterday” after just three letters (“yes”).

Predictive keyboard 02

Then it guessed “while” after “wh”, “driving” after “d”, “home” after “h”, and “from” after “f”. That’s 34 characters (counting spaces between words) inserted into my message for 8 letters typed and 5 predicted words tapped. That’s pretty good, and it’s even better when you factor in the likelihood of me making mistakes had I typed the whole sentence myself.

Pretty neat. But it gets even better.

If you’re using Messages, and someone sends you a question with choices, the Predictive Keyboard will present those choices as its best guesses. Look at this screenshot, where a HIGHLY VALUED customer is asking me what I’d like for lunch.

Turkeysandwich or soup

I should have taken a screenshot but take my word for it, I didn’t have to type “The turkey sandwich.” iOS 8 predicted it. “The turkey sandwich,” “The soup,” and “I don’t know” were presented as choices across the top of the keyboard. (Note to iOS 8 Keyboard Design team: “Both” would be more useful than “I don’t know”.) All I had to do was tap “The turkey sandwich” and like magic, not only did the words appear but shortly so did the sandwich.

It takes a little training to remember to look at that strip of words across the top of the keyboard but it is worth it, so start using it now and you’ll be great at it in no time.

If the Predictive Keyboard doesn’t appear for you, maybe you’ve turned it off. Look in the Settings, and then General, and then Keyboard, and turn it back on.

Predictive keyboard 04

It’s also possible to turn the Predictive Keyboard off (and on) from the keyboard itself. Just tap and hold on the “Emoji” icon (a happy face) or the keyboard switcher icon (looks like a globe) and you’ll see how to switch Predictive on and off.

Predictive keyboard 05

As you can see, you’re not likely to accidentally turn the Predictive Keyboard off. There is a decent chance that you will accidentally hide it. Swiping down on the little Predictive strip will hide it, leaving a small handle. Swipe up on the handle to bring it back. See below.

Predictive keyboard 06

The iPhone and iPad save you a lot of typing, even without the Predictive Keyboard. There’s auto-correction, dictation, and text-expansion shortcuts that you can define yourself. The Predictive Keyboard takes things up a notch, and it’s well worth a try. It works for me and I’ll bet it will work for you.


Copyright 2008-2024 Christian Boyce. All rights reserved.

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