Use ai.type Or Any Other 3rd Party Keyboard? Well…

I have long been a fan of alternative keyboards for Android and iOS. The manufacturer keyboards are usually awful, and 3rd parties usually do a better job with more features.

Even as a security guy, it’s easy to go for convenience and functionality over privacy.

I may be rethinking this approach. This latest keyboard privacy issue with ai.type might just be the one to make me go back to the brutally bad Samsung (or insert your awful phone OEM) keyboard.

Let’s get one thing straight: Every keyboard on every device has access to your personal information. That can range from keystrokes and search terms to bank info and passwords. It’s part of the deal. We want to use our smartphones as all-in-one devices, and we need to expect that the keyboards we use to do things like auto-fill, auto-correct, etc are going to keep some information and use that information.

I don’t like Apple’s keyboard. Never have. Like most things, they’re years behind the competition when it comes to features and functionality.

I don’t like Samsung’s keyboard. It’s clunky, ugly, and not as accurate as others. And Samsung’s is light years better than other Android Manufacturer’s keyboards I’ve tried.

BTW – the biggest and arguably best alternative is also problematic. Google’s keyboard is so much better than Samsung’s / LG’s / HTC’s / Apple’s, it’s not even funny… but as with everything Google, there are privacy concerns there too.

So where does that leave us? 3rd party keyboards like Fleksy, ai.type, Swiftkey, etc are better looking, have more features, and are easier to use than most vendor keyboards – but they also have some serious downside when hacks occur or when they get caught purposefully siphoning personal information (I’m looking at you, GO Keyboard!).

Life in a digital world is full of complex choices. In this case, we have to ask if the features and functionality of a keyboard are enough to make up for privacy concerns, or if we stick to lousy manufacturer / OEM keyboards where there are still privacy concerns, but the support is better and teams can respond to issues more quickly.

Ah, the 21st Century. Fun, right?

What do you think? Where do you come out on this? Comment and let me know.

 

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