Creating keyboards

I do a lot of scientific writing. I would like to create a keyboard or two that contain characters I need to write. For example, I use the Greek keyboard a lot, but there are many other symbols in Unicode that I would like to use in my writing, and creating a custom keyboard seems to be the solution.

All instructions on creating custom keyboards usually come back to using XCode or Swift. I do not want to have to use a laptop or desktop to create a keyboard; I would like to do all this work on my iPhone, or occasionally on my iPad, and share the keyboards between my iPhone and iPad. I have found a version of Swift that downloads to my iPhone, but have no idea how to proceed from there. Note that I have decades of experience as a programmer, but I need a way to get started quickly by creating simple keyboards that encode Unicode characters, and don't want to spend a lot of time searching for how to do this. What tutorial should I read to find how to create a keyboard in, say, less than an hour, using only my iPhone and nothing else? What do I read to see how to share this keyboard with my iPad?

You can’t, you need a Mac. You have to use Xcode to make software for iOS.

Any discussion about how to actually make a custom keyboard app is best directed to the Apple Developer Forums.

As Benjamin Mayo said, you can't do this, you'll need a Mac with Xcode installed. Here is a guide for creating a custom keyboard:

I tried the Apple Developer Forums, and they want $98/year to let me post. The solution is not worth $98 to me.

I found versions of swift that run on iPhones, which suggests that it is not necessary to have Xcode on IOS to make programs.

Weird, it should be free to just post.

You need a free developer account to post on the forums.

Depends on what you define as a "program." Keyboard extensions have to be compiled into executables, suitably signed and certified, before they can be installed into the system input handler chain. The only way you can do that is to use Xcode on a Mac. If you define a "program" as writing Swift in some sandbox like Sedona, or Swift Playgrounds on an iPad, you can write and execute such programs (which are really interpreted, not compiled) within the environment of that sandbox. However, you can't build a program using such a sandbox into a signed, certified executable that can be installed as system extension (keyboard, network, etc.) from within that environment, as far as I know. With the release of the Apple Silicon Macs, this may change, but, as of today, I know of no other method to build signed, certified executables that can be installed as keyboard extensions without using Xcode and a Mac, with an install using Xcode onto a device such as an iPhone or iPad.

1 Like

Any discussion about how to actually make a custom official keyboard app is best directed to the Apple Developer Forums.

Terms of Service

Privacy Policy

Cookie Policy