Third-party keyboards on iOS suck. Here’s why

I only use the default keyboard for iOS. Here’s why:

For years, [Apple] got zinged for not sharing iOS with third-party keyboard developers. Finally, with the release of iOS 8 in September 2014, Apple opened its gates. Any keyboard could be downloaded, opened, and used with Apple’s apps — even its core iOS apps like Mail, Messages, Phone, and Contacts. […]

But [no] third-party keyboards can use my favorite keyboard tool, speech-to-text dictation. This is the feature that gets triggered by the tiny microphone icon to the left of the space bar in Apple’s default keyboard. Tap it, speak, and your words get translated into text that shows up on the screen so you don’t have to walk and type with your head down. Dictation isn’t perfect, but I use it dozens of times a day and it continues to get better and better. So why isn’t Apple sharing this feature with third-party keyboards? Apple’s answer: privacy.

Apple has long been a stalwart for erring on the side of caution when it comes to keeping your data private and asking you to make sure you know you’re sharing something. The company’s policy is to not allow microphone access for extensions (like these keyboards) because iOS has no way to make it clear that the phone is listening. The thinking is that giving third-party keyboards access to the microphone could allow nefarious apps to listen in on users without their knowledge.

In other words, iOS system limitations combined with Apple’s views on privacy are preventing speech-to-text dictation features on third-party keyboards.

It’s really a shame because if only Apple would find some sort of creative workaround I would love to experiment with third-party keyboards. But, honestly, what incentive does Apple have to do so?