My New Favorite Input Method–Nintype

I have a new love in the list of input methods for my iPad. It’s a third-party installable keyboard called Nintype.

I’ve tried other swiping style keyboards. Nintype stands out due to its flexibility (none of the others permits switching between typing and swiping at will.) No other keyboard permits dual swiping. None of the others puts almost all the punctuation into main screen shortcuts so that I need not switch to the number keyboard just to get a hashtag or semicolon.

And yet… It’s one of these annoying programs that’s so customizable that you could spend a year fiddling with all its variations. Right out of the box I had to turn off animations. Not only do they run down the battery, but they also drive me crazy. Some people love them, though.

For me, with proper customization, it’s become an instant shorthand pad. It works with a stylus just fine, and after I shrank the keyboard on my iPad, I could get 20+ WPM without a lot of practice, as such things go. (That’s using my personal testing protocol as described in Text Input Methods.)

Don’t expect such efficiency immediately, though. Nintype has a built-in tutorial that it pays to run through more than once. After I decided that I was highly unlikely to use it as anything but a shorthand pad, I practiced up with the tutorial to work up some speed. 

It’s an amazing keyboard. It’s the only third-party installable keyboard in the App Store that rates higher than four stars. All third-party keyboards suffer in the ratings due to a combination of restrictions that Apple still puts on them (no access to the dictation button, for example) and bugs in iOS itself (several of the Apple-provided apps work poorly with third-party keyboards, including the app store app.) If you’re interested in such a keyboard, and spend a little time reading ratings, you’ll see the same problems reported over and over in all the different keyboards–those are Apple’s problem, not the fault of the keyboard developers.

In conclusion, if you like swiping-style keyboards or are interested in a way to input text to an iOS device in what is effectively shorthand, Nintype is worth a look.

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