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What the SwiftKey performance improvements mean for you

20th November 2014

Hi everyone,

Today’s update to SwiftKey Keyboard for Android includes extensive performance improvements to several core keyboard interactions. For those of you interested in more behind-the-scenes information, we’re providing some additional details about these changes this time around.

When we introduced SwiftKey 5 in June, it featured a range of front-end and visual improvements, including the SwiftKey Store, new themes, Emoji Prediction and support for more than 800 emoji. With today’s release, we devoted specific time to improving the behind-the-scenes elements of the app, and took action on much of the feedback you’ve provided to us.

The team has worked hard to improve several areas, particularly in regards to the speed of various keyboard actions:

Keyboard appears 15-20% more quickly

For most users, the time it takes for the keyboard to appear has been reduced. We investigated and worked on performance in multiple instances when the keyboard appears; for example, the first time after installation (cold load) and subsequent loads (cached loads), among others.

5.1-Speed-keyboard-loading-v3

Keyboard leaves the screen 20-30% more quickly than the previous version

We’ve also reduced the time it takes for the keyboard to disappear within apps (e.g. after an SMS is sent) and when exiting apps (e.g. when switching apps or returning to home screen).

5.1-Speed-keyboard-quiting-v3

Switching between fields is 15-50% faster

After sending a message, the keyboard now refreshes more quickly.

5.1-message-reload-v3

Typing is 10-18% more responsive

Users should have a smoother experience when tapping keys in quick succession. However, in certain circumstances the keyboard may still feel ‘sticky’. We will continue to work hard to improve it further in future versions.

5.1-Speed-responsiveness-v3

How is your experience with this update thus far? We welcome and encourage your feedback on these changes and all future updates. Please join the conversation on our VIP forum, or just drop us a note on Twitter. To report a bug, please head to our support forum.

We appreciate your patience as we work hard to give you the best keyboard experience. Thanks for your support and for being SwiftKey users!

Cheers,
Steve Spence, VP of Engineering

Note: while most users will experience improvements to SwiftKey performance with this update, there are a number of variables at play that can impact how you experience SwiftKey. Some of these variables include the device you have, the software build you’re running and how many apps you have running in the background and the types of apps.

35 responses to “What the SwiftKey performance improvements mean for you”

  1. Bandanananana Batman says:

    yay

  2. GiulianoBR says:

    Oh God! Finally Switching between fields is 15-50% faster !!

    It was so terrible in WhatsApp/SMS typing.

    Thanks!

  3. Elfateh Siraj says:

    When will the update hit the play store

  4. MannyLegacy says:

    I ♥ SwiftKey!!…… Thank you all for continuously improving what was already a great app

  5. Johnathan Pertolick says:

    Performance is better but you still mandate that the Emoji Button must on the keyboard at all times, in all apps, no matter what. Why does my enter key have to be an emoji key? What is SwiftKey’s weird obsession with forcing all users to use emoji???

    I am not a teenage girl, nor am I attempting to emulate one, so I have no use for “emoji”. To have it forcefully tied to a heavily used button (or forcibly replace it in many apps) is lunacy, and is completely unacceptable.

    Obviously Google Keyboard does not mandate Emoji for all keyboards in all apps, so I’ll continue to use their unbroken app. In fact, no other keyboard I can find forces users to have an emoji button on screen at all times. (Which makes me wonder why SwiftKey alone has an emoji obsession)

    It’s such a damn shame that the wonderful SwiftKey keyboard is so thoroughly broken by such a useless feature. Please, please, please, give us the option to completely disable emoji.

    My 2/5 rating in the Play Store stands for this app. I lowered it from 5/5 when you rolled out Emoji and forced it onto my keyboard without asking, and gave me zero way to remove the new terrible feature. Why would you ruin an enter button? Why?

    Regardless, I stopped using the app, because emoji breaks the keyboard for those of us who aren’t “lol (: sventeen !!”

    • ingrouille says:

      Agreed. Can we just turn them off somehow?

    • Josh, SwiftKey Community Team says:

      @Johnathan Pertolick:disqus Glad to hear that performance has improved for you with the latest version of the app. Sorry to hear that you are not enjoying emoji and the key placement for it since it was rolled out some months back. This is good feedback and definitely something to consider for future iterations of the keyboard. We’d love to hear more from you in our SwiftKey VIP Community. Please do consider joining in the conversation at vip.swiftkey.net

      • Slimjim Woods says:

        It’s really nice to see you taking an active role in discussions with your users, and hopefully you are able to implement some kind of compromise with emoji keys etc. I’ve been a Swiftkey owner for a while now, and simply cannot see myself switching, your correction algorithms are second to none.

        I don’t have anything more to add, but please keep doing what you’re doing, making what seems to be the best keyboard available on Android right now.

        Actually, how about a number row option instead of the block situation we have now, it’s pretty hard to be accurate on a smaller screen such as the 2013 Moto X.

    • Kallum says:

      I have an Enter key in all the apps I use, except Facebook. Emoji is a long press more often than not. I was under the assumption this was app controlled (or more specifically, text field controlled), not keyboard controlled.
      SMS app tells SwiftKey to show Enter key, which it does.
      Reddit app tell it to display Enter, which it does.
      Forum apps tell it to display Enter, which it does.

      Just Facebook has Emoji, which is somewhat understandable for their audience.

      Maybe check the options in the apps that are causing you trouble?

    • Tv says:

      it is unfortunate that the emoji bothers you so much, although I can’t understand why exactly. I don’t use it either, but it has never been an issue – the emiji option is a long-press option on the return key with a tiny logo. Furthermore, isn’t it a bit excessive to leave such a low rating just because of a button? Does it really affect your typing that much?

      • jonski says:

        I find it a pain when i accidentally tap it. It’s a lot easier to hit by mistake than other keybpard-changing buttons such as the numpad as its in such close proximity to the delete key.

        The whole layout then alters and my instinct is to press where the delete key was, which has changed into the enter button. It wrecks my typing flow.

    • Jacob Hollon says:

      I don’t understand what you mean. You can change the default button to either emoji or return (with the opposite being a long-press).

      For example mine is always a return with emoji access by long-pressing the return button.

      • Johnathan Pertolick says:

        * I set long press delay to be short because I use long press.

        * I don’t want my ENTER key to have a long press at all. Zero functions on long press.

        * I cannot prevent ENTER from longpressing emoji

        * Some apps automatically use EMOJI with an enter long press. I cannot disable that functionality either, so I cannot use enter without longpressing the emoji key

        At the end of the day, it ruins the enter key for me because I accidentally long press instead of enter, then tap tap tap a bunch of emoji by mistake, then I have a broken message of littered emoji and have to wait for the emoji lag to go away, then delete all the random emoji, then try and figure out how to get a linebreak in my message.

        No offense, I just want a dang enter/linebreak key. Not a “Teenager Emoticons” key. A linebreak key.

    • Manoj Chandrashekar says:

      I just sent an email to support asking them for an option to turn the emoji off. Glad to know there are several others who want this to happen.

    • eesa1980 says:

      Agreed. Emoji button is annoying!

  6. Alex van den Hoogen says:

    Although I loved Swiftkey to dead and even bought it for myself, fiancee and family, even making it free didn’t really matter to me. But when you announced the material design skins and decided to make them paid (for everyone) was a deal breaker for me.

    Having a lot of apps which are currently transitioning to material design, even free apps. But still having to pay for some stupid skin to let it integrate with the rest of my Android experience is just plain dumb.

    So for me, Swiftkey is currently a no-go and I’m happily using the Google Keyboard.

    • Myk says:

      There is a bunch of free skins, so you don’t actually have to pay anything.

      • Joseph Newman says:

        That isn’t his point. The point is that a lot of things are updating for free to the new material design specs but this one you have to pay to get it to look the way google wants it to look. Which is stupid. The material design ones should be free and available to all, and make the odd ones paid.

        • Roodly Philogene says:

          SwiftKey has changed its business model. They rely on skins to get revenue to continue making the keyboard better. So you want them to give the skin for free because everyone is giving theirs for free? I don’t understand your logic. Plus, it’s only 99 cents.

          • Joseph Newman says:

            What I mean is that pretty much everything else is updating to the new standards for free, but the one we see all the time and is used across all apps we have to pay for. I don’t mind that most of the themes aren’t free. I’m not asking them to change that. I just want two of the material design themes, one light and one dark, should be free. That’s all I ask. Especially for those that paid way back when SK wasn’t free.

  7. White Razor says:

    It might have also possibly fixed the lagged Shift press after finishing a word…awesome.

  8. xkfxkfxkf says:

    Why haven’t people who purchased the app from Amazon received an update, and why is Amazon still able to sell an old version of SwiftKey at $3.99?

  9. Abhishek Shetty says:

    Can we please have an option to disable key pop up. I have sent so many requests in email, forum, google play review etc. No response. It will definitely improve performance. Hoping to see the change soon. Few lines of code, all it takes and you have ~ 10% increase in typing performance.

  10. Greg Gashton says:

    how do i disable that triangle w/ 3 bars that moves the
    keyboard to the right or left side? OMG SO ANNOYING

  11. el_smurfo says:

    They don’t mean anything to me…Swiftkey is still terrible at predicting anything for me, even after I let it ransack all of my social accounts for data. The Google Keyboard is light years ahead at predicting exactly what I swipe. I mean seriously, why would I ever type “I Cab be there in 10 minutes”?, but it picks “cab” over “can” every single time…

  12. Hoang Huynh says:

    Please fix this critical bug in your Vietnamese keyboard. Sorry for spaming but there is no way else to reach you. http://vip.swiftkey.net/index.php?/topic/9956-skipping-spaces-vietnamese-version-5/

    • Josh, SwiftKey Community Team says:

      @willtunner:disqus Thanks for surfacing this one. Per the reply on your other post this is a known issue that are team is exploring right now. Apologies for any inconvenience this causes in the meantime.

  13. Alexander says:

    It is still lagging.. Gonna turn it off and hope for you to fix it soon.. Great to have bought a product, that is now no longer worth using

  14. Brittany Fitzgerald says:

    How do I get rid of the enter key and just have the emoji?!

  15. Trisha Ann Mae Quilang says:

    When i text and press the enter key, my incomplete message automatically sends instead of entering a new blank space. This wastes my load and makes me look unprofessional. Please create an option in the settings to change the function of the enter key from *send* to *add new line.* I only notice this event in text messaging and not on fb messenger nor email.

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