As the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus go on sale today, many consumers will be getting their hands on Apple’s new mobile operating system, iOS 8, for the first time. And what are iOS 8 users downloading from the App Store? After years of strictly controlling the iOS user interface, Apple has opened things up. You can now replace the default iOS keyboard with that of your own choice, including apps from popular keyboard makers like SwiftKey and Swype, out of which the former says it has now been downloaded 1 million times, and has become the #1 free app on the App Store…
These keyboard apps are burning up the US App Store’s Top Charts, currently accounting for the 3 out of the Top 5 Paid apps (#1 Swype; #2 Fleksy; #3 Color Keyboards), as well as 3 of the Top 5 Free apps (#1 SwiftKey; #2 CooolKey #3 Kiwi). And throughout the Top 20 in both charts, other keyboard apps can found, too.
There is one problem, however – not all the apps being downloaded by iOS 8 users actually replace their keyboard.
Despite the disclaimers in the apps’ descriptions explaining they are meant as standalone apps, some pseudo-keyboard apps are being downloaded, then slammed in the reviews as “rip-offs” and “scams.”
These fake keyboard apps have been around for some time now, hoping to capitalise on user demand for iOS customisation. They operate in a grey area along with apps which claim that they can help you “pimp your homescreen,” change your lockscreen, install “live wallpaper,” or change your icons. Many of the apps, however, were never able to do what they led their users to believe – iOS was not built for customisation, previously. At best, these apps offered an illusion of customisation, but the iOS operating system itself was untouched.Of course, users didn’t read the fine print, and continued to buy the apps, regularly sending them into the top charts.
But now that iOS 8 does allow for customization – well, custom keyboards, that is – some of these fake keyboard apps are surfacing yet again. For example, #9 in the Top Free apps chart is “Pimp My Keyboard,” an app whose description reads: “Please Notice: Using this app you are able to edit the keyboard only within this application.” In other words, it does not replace your keyboard.
Caveat Emptor: Before you download some new, color-changing, emoji-filled iOS keyboard app, make sure you know what you’re getting.