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Why we set SwiftKey free

11th June 2014

Hi everyone,

We revealed some exciting news earlier today about a major update to SwiftKey Keyboard with many new features, most of which were a direct result of your feedback. A big part of this news is that the app is now free to download for all Google Play users. We want to take a moment to give you a bit more information and explain some of the thinking behind this change.

We’ve come an incredibly long way these past six years, from two university friends with an ambitious idea, to becoming the global best-selling app on Google Play the past two years running. We founded SwiftKey to make it easier for everyone to create and communicate on their mobile devices, and as a company we’re working hard to reach that goal.

This is why we’ve made SwiftKey free. We believe this change is the best way to achieve our global vision, as we can now reach many more people around the world without price as a barrier. That said, we want to reassure you that the SwiftKey features you have come to know and love will remain yours. If you’ve previously bought SwiftKey, we also hope you’ll enjoy the Premier Pack of 10 premium themes we’re offering you for free to say thanks for your support.

As SwiftKey users, you have played an enormous part in our journey. We would not be where we are today without each of you believing in our vision and often evangelizing on our behalf. We can’t wait to take you with us as we enter this next phase as a company.

As a final note, we’ll be running a Reddit AMA to discuss the new SwiftKey Keyboard (and anything else you might want to bring up) in the near future. We’ll announce specific time and date details in the days ahead, and really hope you’ll take part.

Thank you, again, for your continued support,

Jon Reynolds & Ben Medlock
SwiftKey co-founders

57 responses to “Why we set SwiftKey free”

  1. Amirul Fazlan says:

    Seriously, thanks a lot Jon and Ben. I’ve been using SwiftKey for three years now and it indeed the best keyboard ever.

  2. Andrew D'Ascenzo says:

    Are you planning to offer the ten themes to users who purchased SwiftKey on the Amazon Appstore? If so, when is that update scheduled to roll out?

    • Kirbee says:

      I bought mine via the Amazon App Store and went to Google Play and use that to install the latest up date. Got an error, so I uninstalled via Play and then reinstalled and got the theme pack free after logging in with my Play account. Hopefully this helps you get the update quicker.

    • George Silberstern says:

      I asked the same question via Twitter. They referred me to this KB article:

      It generated a new question for me because as I have it, if you switch an application between app stores, you must remove the version from the original store before installing the one from the new store. In this case, I would have to remove the Amazon version before installing the Google Play one. This bodes the question of how the app will know I’m entitled to the Premium Pack.

      I’m hoping to get an answer and/or the KB article updated with an explanation for those of us in that position.

      I don’t mind switching app stores, truly I don’t. It’s just a matter of not wanting to mess things up. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has this particular question.

      • Andrew D'Ascenzo says:

        It works, just go to the play store, Uninstall, and reinstall via Play. When you log in to your Google account (assuming you did before) it recognizes you then and you get your pack.

    • Brad Marsh says:

      just uninstall it and download it from Google and you will be able to get the premium pack free. (Plus updates will come faster)

    • Josh, SwiftKey Community Team says:

      @andrewdascenzo:disqus As folks have mentioned here if you’ve previously purchased the app on Amazon and then download it on Google Play you will be able to download the app without issue. Also you will be able to download the premier pack free of charge.

  3. Drooblz says:

    Now I can stop getting the “it’s not free” look when I talk about how awesome it is to people. I can think of a lot of Samsung phone users who really hate their keyboard and want something different.

  4. N3o says:

    Can i continue to use the beta version ? The beta version will have the theme’s store or not ?

  5. Anthony Dunlap says:

    Thanks for awesome keyboard and the ten free themes. I don’t even know how long I’ve been a customer but, this an awesome keyboard. Just don’t care for iOS themes but, I can’t say I didn’t see it coming.

  6. BarKa says:

    Is SwiftKey really free? It’s best Keyboard on any device and don’t make it free

  7. Kevin Chapple says:

    Still no answer as to why the key click is ‘echoing’. Reported this this morning, when the software was updated, but seems SwiftKey have lost the support they used to give! What’s happening?

    • George Silberstern says:

      Today is Release Day; that’s like Black Friday and the day after Christmas rolled into one and magnified a thousand-fold. They’re probably overwhelmed with ensuring a smooth rollout, and they’ll get to your question eventually. Besides, would you jump on a relatively minor thing like that when you have hundreds of other issues and questions tossed at you every 2 seconds? Just a rhetorical question, because I don’t work for them, but that’s how such things typically go.

      Yes, echoes of the sort are annoying, but do they render the app inoperable?

      In the meantime, if you haven’t tried it yet, allow me to make a suggestion which tends to fix 70% of app behaviour issues:

      * Go to the Application Manager under Settings.
      * Find the SwiftKey app and access its properties.
      * Tap FORCE STOP
      * Tap CLEAR CACHE
      * See if the problem cleared

      Updates sometimes end up “confused” because old cache data is present, causing all kind of weird behaviours. If the above solution fixes it, good. If not, then update your bug report to SwiftKey with your device model, Android version (and ROM info if custom), whether you’re rooted or not, and the steps you took to troubleshoot (i.e. the above procedure) so they have something to work with.

      The reason I think it’s just your device acting funky is that SK5 has been in test mode for so long now that an aberrant behaviour like that would have been detected some time ago. But that’s just my guess…

      Good luck!

      • Kevin Chapple says:

        George, Hi.
        Thanks for your response, but can you see what you’ve done?? You’ve RESPONDED!! 😉
        Okay, the update was, as far as I am aware, released this morning. I updated the app (paid version).
        I found there was an issue, initially being the missing “carriage return/line feed” icon, and then I found the key click issue.
        I reported this directly/immediately, as positive feedback for their “new product” (new release), thinking they could “nip it in the bud”. Went to their “Contact us” form, which lists the apps, but v5 was not actually listed (Remember your comment “SK5 has been in test for so long, that aberrant behaviour..would have been detected”. Using your same thoughts, that it has been in dev for so long, one would have thought the “Contact us” reporting would have v5 listed?? But no.
        Anyway. I reported the issue, and throughout the day ALL I have had back is a generic response “Are you having trouble with flowing, etc”. Generic response is no good, to a specific issue (the echo).
        EVENTUALLY, about 40 mins ago, I actually received a “positive” response, stating “Swiftkey ARE aware of the click echo, and will be fixed in the next update” (whenever that may be?). So, that’s all that was required.. An honest response, to either discount my claim (where it MAY have been my phone as you suggest, but in fact is NOT, nor is there a problem with my Tab), or an admission of a problem, which they EVENTUALLY did.
        They have also suggested a way to rectify the problem is to….. “Switch off the key clicks”!!!! Not wholly constructive!
        So, now I know it is NOT my devices that have an issue. I appreciate your comments, and feedback and I am not “having a pop”, but it so annoys me when something “relevant to the professionalism” of a product is reported, yet didn’t seem to be even acknowledged. Pity..

        • George Silberstern says:

          I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt and chalk it up to backlog. The solution of shutting off the sound is something I was going to suggest myself. It’s not ideal, but it’s a way of dealing with an annoyance (which to a degree is how the behaviour rates in the big picture). I did not though.

          Since my post, I was able to resolve some concerns regarding Amazon vs Google issues (SK5 is only on Google, and I got the app on Amazon where the rollout is in seeming limbo) and finally download it. Thereafter, I promptly ran into a what could be the sound issue you referred to, applied the suggested fix successfully (so far), and posted an update for you to look at.

          I will agree that the suggestion to kill the sound isn’t ideal; it’s also short-sighted. Some of us (and I assume you’re in the same group) rely on auditory cues when typing. Turning that off is akin to asking a blind person to go out without a cane.

          But please, give these guys a break. They’re in the UK and drowning in things to do because this is such a big release. Except for super-critical matters, I don’t expect anything less than a 24 hour wait for an actual, concrete response (if any, should they be getting oodles of similar reports).

          As for a fix: If they know what it is and what’s causing it, a patch could come within days (figure 24-48 hours for testing). More realistically, it will be in the “weeks to a month” range as it will depend on the severity and number of bugs they’re including in the same update (again, the audio bug ranks as an annoyance, not as a the-sky-is-falling condition. *grin*)

          • Kevin Chapple says:

            Hi George. Apologies for delay in responding. Busy day..
            Yes, I agree it’s an “annoyance”, but nonetheless a fundamental issue which one would have thought they’d like to know about (sooner rather than later), before fully marketing the product, to new users, who may be “put off” by this (after all, one would have thought they’d sorted this when it was in beta test, as you suggested!)
            All it needed was a HUMAN response of acknowledgment (or denial).
            The only real reason I have the key clicks on, is to give that feedback, so that one knows the key has been hit! (I’m not visually impaired, but prefer audible feedback-Toggle Keys on Windows etc!).
            No it’s NOT “as if the sky’s falling in” (grin!), but my point has already been covered above. And hey, a product may be good, but is made BETTER by the support?
            Thanks once again for your thoughts though. Appreciated.

            Oh, and by the way. Their offices are actually about 20miles away!! (makes it even worse!!!!) 🙂

    • George Silberstern says:

      Kevin Chapple – Here’s an update to my post with a suggested fix:

      Since writing this, I’ve gotten around to installing SK5 on my mobile (Galaxy S4) and after configuring the app, I discovered that the keyclick sound plays twice in rapid succession (i.e. tktk vs. tk), not an echo (tk tk vs tk). Is my description what you’re talking about?

      Either way, try the workaround I recommended, but note that it’s incomplete (I didn’t know this at the time). The full procedure is:

      * Go to the application manager under SETTINGS
      * Find the SwiftKey app and access its properties
      * Tap FORCE STOP
      * Tap CLEAR CACHE
      * Go to your input selector under SETTINGS

      * Re-select SwiftKey

      * Go try it out

      The sound doubling ceased after doing this and so far, it hasn’t returned.

      What I did notice earlier is that as I was going back and forth trying some of the new themes by way of the Alpha/Num+SwiftKey key (lower left) key, that doubling would reverse states when the menu came up.

      I’ll do some testing when I get a chance before reporting it, but I hope that you (and others reading this post) can test this. If the condition replicates, then it is a bug to be reported, and NOT to long-press the Alpha/Num key until they can fix it. Other than the functions to resize and reposition the keyboard, all other config options can be accessed in other ways. Inconvenient? Yes, but not the end of the world IMHO.

      • Kevin Chapple says:

        In a ‘strange kind of fashion’, I’m glad you were able to replicate this George (and thanks for your interest/support). Now, what were you saying about they would have not have overlooked something so obvious! (where shall I send your ‘humble pie’! ;-)).
        Seriously though, I appreciate your help. But, again, something I feel SwiftKey should have been a little more responsive to, throughout the day. Strange enough, the current k/b has stopped the ‘echo’, but if I switch to another k/b (theme), it will come back (it did earlier).
        It’s not very good PR for SwiftKey, especially as they are now marketing it as FREE, yet there are these ‘flaws’..

        Thanks again for you input.


  8. Karla Maritza Delgado says:

    I love this app, it’s great. At first I thought to myself if I wanted to really pay for this app but I did and it was worth it. Now it will be great because my friends will now know what I’m talking since it will be free. Thank you

  9. Dario · 753 a.C. . says:

    why don’t you try to make it faster?
    every keyboard is faster than swiftkey such as touchpal or aosp keyboard.

    some times swiftkey takes time to be opened and that’s not so immediate as it happens for touchpal or google keyboard.

    when i open messages google keyboard or touchpal is immediate to be opened. swiftkey takes 1 or 2 seconds more.

  10. Dario · 753 a.C. . says:

    i think you gotta add a privacy mode for when you gotta type some words you don’t want them to be learned. i guess you got what kind of websites i mean.

  11. Adria Sole says:

    I have been using 2 years this keyboard and it is the best one. Even doing prediction of three languages at the same time.

  12. Jens Engvall says:

    Such a great keyboard, nothing but love to you guys!

  13. Dinesh says:

    Hey, do you guys have any plans to opensource your core engine? It would be really nice to be able to study the technology that works behind Swiftkey.
    Edit: (and hopefully port it to other platforms… )

  14. Quan Dao says:

    Support more for Vietnamese by adding VNI type, and u’ll take much. For me, i’m sure u can defeat any Keyboard in VN which is a very large market like Apple have just said

  15. Terminal 7 ™ says:

    2 keyboard are worthy SWIFTKEY and Thumb Keyboard (set to std phone layout) i can never make a choice which is best, SWIFT it super prediction accurate but THUMB is so tactile its almost like its textured !

  16. richard britton says:

    Will it fix one annoying little issue? BA executive lounge wifi uses capital cities as passwords – but all in lower case. Swiftkey thinks this is an error and even when I override the suggestions and enter the first letter as lower case it transmits it as upper case. Result – no wifi access unless I disable Swiftkey and revert to the default keyboard on my LGG2, Frustrating

  17. Abderraoof says:

    That’s why I love this wonderful app ^^

    Something built on sincerely and satisfying users isn’t the same like the one built on making money main aim

  18. MRan says:

    Got the update today and after that enter does not send the message in wechat as before. Options correct and reboot does not help. So is an irritating bug.!!. And I paid for the app just a month back!

    Other than that the best keyboard app.

  19. tonya says:

    thank you for setting it free As I am someone who cannot afford even the slightest bit for apps however I tried to find ones that are free that are decent and I really like this one. I do have some questions though, 1 how do I get my emojis to show? 2, is there ever a chance to set a photograph as our background? that would really be nice. And 3, do you guys have any videos as tutorials?

    • Francisco Pineda Amaya says:

      It depends on your version of Android. Emoji are only available for Jelly Bean and Kit Kat (4.1+). Now about the videos I’m not sure and about the custom image for background I really doubt it will happen. Hope it helps

  20. Zarkin says:

    It’s making the mobile slow. It is also responding slowly. What to do now?

  21. Hanan-Confidence Abdul says:

    The SwiftKey keyboard is the first app I ever considered buying on Play Store. The autocorrect and predictions are simply breathtaking. I can’t believe it is now free.

    To the SwiftKey Team, thank you elephantly.

  22. Dan Anderson says:

    Simply the best keyboard, I’ve ever used… I’ve had it 4 year’s & it just keeps getting better .. Thx SWIFTKEY

  23. coachandrew says:

    Very cool, Jon and Ben! I’ve had the paid version for several years and can’t imagine my phone without it. I’m amazed by how well it predicts words based on where my sentences are going, clearly learning my writing style and stock phrases. It successfully predicts every time I’m about to cough up my phone number or email address, and has even seemingly come up with punch lines to jokes I’ve used before. You guys should be on my BlogTalkRadio show!

  24. Stephen Douglas says:

    Do us paid customers get a refund?

  25. Michael Lightbody Sr says:

    Do we get refunds if we already paid for it?

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