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Giphy launches an iOS keyboard with quick access to GIFs

Giphy launches an iOS keyboard with quick access to GIFs

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Giphy's one and only reason for existing is delivering you GIFs, and now it's reaching a new peak in convenience by placing GIF access right on the iPhone's keyboard.

It's launching an iOS keyboard today called Giphy Keys that lets you quickly browse through GIFs, search for what exactly you want, or pull out an old favorite in an instant. It's definitely the quickest way to pull up a GIF at a moment's notice, but it probably isn't something that'll be used by anyone but the most serious GIF conversationalists (...assuming that's a real phrase that applies to real people).

iOS keyboards are still wonky to use

The problem with Giphy Keys is basically the problem with all other iOS keyboards: it still doesn't feel as natural as the default keyboard. That's partly Apple's fault, as always, but here I think it's partly Giphy's fault, too.

First, here's the good stuff: it's pretty fast to load and swipe through GIF after GIF. It remembers what you've recently used and can store favorites. It also supports some of Giphy's quirkier features, like deliver a customized GIF based on your local weather.

But there are two small frustrations that make Giphy Keys feel more like a novelty than something you'd actually consider using. For one, Giphy Keys also doesn't support autocorrect. Which, regardless of how much we all love to hate autocorrect, will quickly remind you how hard it is to type correctly on a tiny digital keyboard.

The other problem is that Giphy Keys still doesn't feel as natural as the native iOS keyboard. You have to switch to it (and make sure you don't accidentally switch back). And there isn't fully native integration between Giphy's GIFs and whatever app you're typing in. Once you've found the perfect GIF, you have to copy and paste it into your text field. It's a minor inconvenience, but I really wonder why the extra step is necessary. (It's very likely a limitation with third-party keyboards, though I'm not totally sure about that.)

Giphy Keys is fun to play around with, but — just like every other iOS keyboard — I can't see myself using it full-time. Of course, it's very possible that Giphy isn't looking for that: it may just view this keyboard as something for people to switch to now and then when they want to find the perfect GIF. That certainly seems like the best way to use Giphy Keys for now. If you try it, just try not to get too frustrated while cycling through all your keyboards. An Android is also in the works.