Swipe Keyboards and iOS 13: How Apps Can Stay Competitive

October 3rd, 2019

Swipe Keyboards and iOS 13: How Apps Can Stay Competitive
Anh Nguyen

by Anh Nguyen

COO & Co-Founder at Gummicube, Inc

Often times, new operating systems introduce built-in functions that threaten to make third party apps redundant. For instance, Apple’s own features have been in competition with screen time and parental control apps. Now, swipe keyboard apps may have a similar concern, as iOS 13 has added its own swipe to type functionality. Fortunately, such apps can utilize App Store Optimization to remain competitive as an alternative to Apple’s built-in functionality.

iOS 13 Swipe Keyboard

The iPhone swipe keyboard is called “QuickPath.” It works with the built in iPhone keyboard, as well as the miniature floating keyboard on iPad. Users type on it by swiping from letter to letter, rather than tapping each one to type. There are also gestures for copying, pasting and so forth.

QuickPath does not require users to switch to a different keyboard app to use. It’s automatically activated when devices update to iOS 13, although users can turn it off from the device’s Settings.

Competing Apps

There are a number of swipe-to-type keyboards on the App Store. These include Google’s Gboard, SwiftKey, Fancy Key, and the Oh Fonts SwipeKeys app, which are all in the top six results for “swipe keyboard” on the App Store. While the main functionality of each of them is the same as Apple’s QuickPath, each one can still compete by leaning on any additional features they may have.

QuickPath provides swipe typing, including copy, paste, undo and redo functionality. That then becomes the baseline that other swipe keyboards must exceed in order to properly compete.

Using App Store Optimization, swipe keyboard apps can emphasize their top differentiating features while appearing in searches for high-volume terms like “swipe keyboard” and “swipe to type.” After targeting these terms in their metadata, screenshots, videos and descriptions can call out what unique features they have to make them different from each other and a worthwhile alternative to the built in QuickPath.

For instance, Fancy Key provides a customized keyboard. Users can design their personal keyboard with visual effects, stickers, emoji, animations and more. The app’s page calls these out in its creatives and description to let users know they’re getting more than just a swipe keyboard, although it does still make it clear that swiping is part of the app.

Similarly, Gboard’s screenshots highlight several of its keyboard features, such as built-in Google Search, Gif keyboard and emojis, alongside its “Glide Typing” function. Users searching for keyboard apps will be able to quickly see that it not only offers swipe typing, but also other functionality that can make it appealing.

There are a number of features that swipe keyboard apps can offer that help them stand out. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Customization
  • Adaptive predictive text
  • Gif keyboards
  • Unique themes and layouts
  • Multiple language support
  • Search functionality
  • Unique fonts
  • Improved privacy
  • Distinct gesture controls

The key to competing with Apple’s built-in functionality lies in highlighting these differentiating features and appealing to users with them. Good App Store Optimization can ensure an app appears in searches for all its key functionality, its creatives show off its unique selling points and it presents the value propositions that make it an appealing alternative to Apple’s built-in swipe keyboard.

Apple has raised the bar for swipe keyboards, and QuickPath is the benchmark they must exceed. By researching competitor strategies in the swipe keyboard space and following ASO best practices, developers can set themselves apart from QuickPath and their competition in the App Store.

Want more information regarding App Store Optimization? Contact Gummicube and we’ll help get your strategy started.

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