How to use SwiftKey with physical/external Bluetooth keyboards on Android

SwiftKey works with some physical (Bluetooth) keyboards, but with hundreds of different models available functionality will vary.

Once you've successfully paired your keyboard to your device you'll be able to access the physical keyboard settings from within SwiftKey.

  1. How to pair your Bluetooth keyboard
  2. How to change physical keyboard layout settings
  3. Language settings
  4. How to configure SwiftKey Physical Keyboard settings
  5. How to use Keyboard shortcuts
  6. Troubleshooting

1 - How to pair your Bluetooth keyboard

  1. Enable Bluetooth on your device
  2. Power on your physical keyboard
  3. Open your 'Bluetooth' settings and tap on the keyboard you want to add. You might be asked to type a code on your keyboard to confirm the pairing.
  4. After a successful pairing, a Notification may appear that prompts you to configure the keyboard. If this doesn't happen you can go your device's 'Languages & Input' menu and tap 'Physical keyboard'. You'll need this to set your language settings as explained below.

universal-mobile-keyboard.jpg  configure-physical-notification.jpg  

2 - Change physical keyboard layout settings

Your physical keyboard doesn't inherit SwiftKey's layout settings. Instead you have to set them separately.

To do this:

  1. Open your device's 'Settings' menu. Now look for 'Languages & Input' (depending on your model this might be worded slightly differently). 
  2. Select 'Physical Keyboard'.
  3. Find your keyboard model, and tap on 'SwiftKey Keyboard'.
  4. Choose the layout you want your physical keyboard to type with. 

  Screenshot_20170526-115232.png device-physical-settings.jpg  physical-layouts.jpg

3 - Language settings

You're still able to select up to five languages for use through the SwiftKey 'Languages' menu.

While typing you can switch between languages by either:

  • Tapping the 'Globe' icon and selecting a language from the list

Screenshot_20170927-145118.png

Or

  • On your physical keyboard press 'Ctrl+Shift' to cycle through your available options

 Screenshot_20170928-130027.png

4 - Configure SwiftKey Physical Keyboard settings

SwiftKey also has its own 'Physical keyboard' settings. To access these, either:

  1. Open the SwiftKey app from your device
  2. Tap 'Typing'
  3. Tap 'Voice & Other input'
  4. Adjust the physical keyboard settings as necessary

  Typing_Voice.png  swiftkey-physical.jpg

Or:

  1. Open the SwiftKey Hub by tapping the 'hamburger' menu
  2. Select 'More'
  3. Toggle 'Physical keyboard autocorrect' on or off

Screenshot_20170927-154602.png

5 - Keyboard shortcuts

We've added a number of keyboard shortcuts to SwiftKey when using an external keyboard.

  • Press 'Ctrl+up/down' arrow key to expand/shrink the prediction bar when using Asian languages.
  • Press 'Ctrl' followed by a number (1-9) to insert the respective prediction.
  • Press 'Ctrl+Shift' to switch between languages

From Android 7.0 onwards your device will also have its own selection of shortcuts available. To see a full list tap on the 'Keyboard shortcuts helper' prompt in the Android Keyboard assistance menu.

6 - Troubleshooting

If your Bluetooth keyboard experience looks different or your keyboard shortcuts aren't working, please ensure you're using the latest version of SwiftKey available in the Google Play Store.

To hide the onscreen SwiftKey Keyboard please see this article.

Using a BlackBerry? These keyboards don't fall into our Bluetooth/physical keyboard classification and therefore can't be used in this way.

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