SwiftKey Note review: Fast and accurate typing, but only in the app

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CNET Editors' Rating

5 stars Spectacular
  • Overall: 9.7
  • Installation and Setup: 10.0
  • Features and Support: 9.0
  • Interface: 10.0
  • Performance: 10.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good SwiftKey Note gives fast and accurate predictions, and makes it easy to add text notes to Evernote.

The Bad Because of Apple's restrictions, you can't use the predictive keyboard outside of the app.

The Bottom Line If you can accept its limitations, SwiftKey Note's robust predictive keyboard and clean design make it a must-have for taking notes.

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SwiftKey Note is a free note-taking app for iOS that marries digital organization app Evernote with SwiftKey's predictive keyboard to make taking notes on your phone or tablet faster and more accurate. The app is one of the first steps for SwiftKey to grow its presence on Apple's mobile operating system.

Unless you jailbreak your iDevice, you can't customize it in the same way you can with an Android phone or tablet. The stock Apple keyboard is the one you get, but this is SwiftKey's way around that.

SwiftKey is not the first to bring a new keyboard to iOS, as several apps such as Flesky and TouchPal X have come before it, but its predictive typing and seamless integration with Evernote make Note a cut above the rest.

SwiftKey's vision
Let's get one thing out of the way first: Though this is a note-taking app, SwiftKey isn't in the business of organizing your notes. The company's goal is to change the way you type on mobile devices, hopefully making the process easier, faster, and more accurate when you're trying to hammer out an e-mail on a five-inch screen.

SwiftKey had no trouble executing that vision on Android devices, where you can change of the default apps, including switching the system keyboard to something other than what came with your phone. On iOS, it's not as easy, as Apple puts restrictions on its operating system. That means SwiftKey had to build its own dedicated app that could show off its predictive typing prowess.

Though SwiftKey hasn't given away any details about its future plans on iOS, it's not a stretch to think that the company would work with more iOS app developers to get them to integrate its keyboard into their apps in the future. Eventually, many of your favorite apps could have SwiftKey built in. But for now, you can only use the company's impressive keyboard inside Note. That said, nothing is stopping you from copying and pasting that text into other apps on your iPhone.

Faster typing
There are two parts to SwiftKey Note, the predictive keyboard and the note-taking experience. I'll focus on the keyboard first.

At first glance, you won't notice any major changes to keyboard's layout or design -- it looks just like the stock iOS 7 model. But once you starting typing, you'll see the difference.

What sets SwiftKey's keyboard apart is that it pays attention to your typing patterns and styles so it can learn how you type. That means it's looking at how you form sentences and which keys you often tap when you're typing out a word. That makes it scary-good at predicting not only the next letter you need to type, but also the next word, sometimes even before you begin typing it.

SwiftKey understands what you're typing and gives you predictions along the way. Click to enlarge. Screenshot by Sarah Mitroff/CNET

A unique feature of Note is that if you connect your Evernote account to SwiftKey Note, the app learns your writing style from existing Evernote notes and uses that data to improve its predictions. This is just like SwiftKey for Android, which, if you allow it to, learns your typing behavior from e-mails, SMS, Twitter, Facebook and more.

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SwiftKey Note

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  • Regional specs shown for US. AU specs are unavailable.

  • Category Office and productivity
  • Compatibility iOS