How to Use the Google Keyboard on an iPhone

This guide will take you step by step through the process of installing, setting up and using the Google Keyboard on your iPhone or iPad.

Background

Privacy is obviously important. Some of the ‘warning’ messages that Apple displays in iOS can make users a bit uneasy. Here’s exactly what Google has to say about privacy and the Google keyboard:

We know the things you type on your phone are personal, so we’ve designed Gboard to keep your private information private.

What Gboard sends to Google:

  • Gboard sends your searches to Google’s web servers to give you search results.
  • Gboard also sends usage statistics to Google to let us know which features are used most often and to help us understand problems if the app crashes.
  • If you use Gboard’s microphone, voice input will be sent to Google for transcription.
  • What Gboard doesn’t send to Google:

  • Other than your searches and voice inputs, Gboard doesn’t send anything you type to Google, whether it’s a password or chat with a friend.
  • To help you with spelling and to predict searches you might be interested in, Gboard will store the words you type on your device. This data is not accessible by Google or by any apps, and can be cleared at any time.
  • If you’ve turned on contacts search in Gboard search settings, this allows Gboard to search the contacts on your device so you can easily share. None of these queries are sent to Google.
  • Install and Setup the Google Keyboard in iOS

    1. Head over to the Gboard for iOS page on the App Store and download it as you would any other iOS App.
    2. Gboard on the Apple App Store

    3. Once the download and installation has completed, tap the newly added Gboard icon on your Home Screen.
    4. Gboard icon for iOS

    5. Now you’ll run through a quick setup – start by tapping the GET STARTED button.
    6. Gboard getting started wizard

    7. The first step involves turning on and granting certain permissions to the Google Keyboard. Tap the GET STARTED button again.
    8. setting up Gboard for iOS

    9. The Settings panel will open. Tap the Keyboards row.
    10. Gboard application permissions

    11. Toggle the Gboard switch to ON and then toggle the Allow Full Access switch to ON as well.
    12. keyboard toggle permissions on off

    13. When the confirmation window appears tap the Allow button.
    14. iOS permission warning message

    15. Return to the Gboard app and finish the setup by tapping the UNDERSTOOD button.
    16. finishing the Gboard setup wizard

    17. The Gboard Settings will open up now that the setup process has completed. You can close this window for now.
    18. main Gboard preferences

    Using the Google Keyboard in iOS

    1. Open an App that uses the keyboard (Notes is a good one) and tap the “Google” button that should now appear just above the keyboard itself. If the button isn’t there, proceed with step #2 – otherwise you can jump down to step #4 below.
    2. Gboard keyboard with the google icon highlighted

    3. Tap and hold the ‘globe’ icon found between the numbers key and the microphone key.
    4. the iOS keyboard with the globe icon highlighted

    5. Select Gboard from the list of options.
    6. selecting a keyboard to use on an iPhone

    7. After you’ve tapped the Google button, a search window will appear. In all likelihood a few examples will appear in the list. Select or search for Restaurants near me to test out the search feature.
    8. Gboard search results for local restaurants

    9. You’ll be prompted to allow Gboard to have access to your location. Tap the Allow While Using App button.
    10. iOS location permission confirmation window

    11. Now a bunch of restaurants near you will appear. Tap one of them.
    12. selecting a restaurant in the Google keyboard

    13. You’ll see a Copied! notification appear by the restaurant you just tapped. Now ‘tap and hold’ on a blank area within the Notes App and select Paste when the contextual menu appears. This will paste a URL for the restaurant, along with its name, address and phone number. This is super helpful when you’re emailing friends about meeting up at specific location.
    14. a copy and paste using the google keyboard

    15. Right above the ‘search bar’ within Gboard there’s a row of options. Select YouTube from that list. Now when you run a search it will search YouTube.com, and you can tap one of the results to copy and paste it as well.
    16. searching youtube within Gboard for iOS

    17. If you return to the main Gboard interface (with the keyboard visible) you’ll see a row at the top of the keyboard with a series of icons in it. Select the one with a ‘magnifying glass’ that seems to be hovering on top of a square smiley emoji.
    18. the options row for Gboard

    19. This will bring up the ‘search GIFs’ panel. From here you can search for animated GIFs.
    20. search animated gifs

    21. And of course you can copy and paste them into your current App as well.
    22. pasting an animated gif into an email on an iPhone

    23. You can also search through emojis and stickers this way.
    24. searching emojis with the google keyboard

    25. If you select the ‘pen’ icon from the bottom row, you can even draw your own pictures – and copy and paste those too!
    26. drawing a picture using the google keyboard

    27. Once again return to the main Gboard interface and this time tap the Microphone icon from the row at the top of the keyboard.
    28. the microphone option on the google keyboard

    29. iOS will prompt you to allow access to your microphone. Tap OK
    30. iOS permission window for using the microphone

    31. From here you can dictate your messages and ignore the keyboard completely :)
    32. dictation using Gboard

    33. Congrats – you’re now familiar with most of the features using the Google keyboard on iPhone. Keep ‘tapping’ around and discover more of the options. If you have any questions or concerns by all means leave a comment below!

    In case your Android device came with a different keyboard installed, you can of course install Gboard on an Android device too.


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