iPad + Bluetooth Keyboard + SwiftKey = Problem

For those using a Bluetooth keyboard with their iPads and also have the alternative virtual keyboard called SwiftKey installed, there is a notable gotcha to watch for. Here's the problem and the solution.


As all iOS users know, whenever an iOS application senses the need for keyboard input, a virtual, on-screen keyboard pops up. If, however, you need to manually dismiss/hide that keyboard, there is a key on the bottom right that will make it go away. (See the screen shot below.) So far, so good.

Standard iOS on-screen keyboard

However, when we attach a physical, external keyboard, connected with Bluetooth, things change slightly. The Bluetooth keyboard also has the ability to hide or show the on-screen keyboard. Most of the time you want the on-screen keyboard to be hidden, providing more room on the display for text.

External keyboards will typically have a special key that controls that function.

  • Apple Wireless Keyboard - Eject key on upper right
  • Third party keyboards - typically function key with a small keyboard icon.

Typically, a function key with keyboard icon controls hide/show.


The problem arises if you're using an alternative iOS virtual keyboard called SwiftKey. It turns out, there's a known bug in version 1.2 of SwiftKey that prevents the applicable Bluetooth keyboard key from hiding the on-screen keyboard. At first, one may think that the function key is defective, but that's not the case. I notified SwiftKey about that, and it turns out to be known issue. SwiftKey responded within a few hours.

The SwiftKey on-screen keyboard (iPad Air shown).

Thank you for contacting SwiftKey Support! We are sorry to hear you're experiencing this issue. Please be assured that we are aware of it, and are currently investigating as a matter of priority. We hope to get this resolved as soon as possible.

The workaround is to go back to using the Apple standard on-screen keyboard if you have an external BT keyboard connected. Because you're using an external keyboard, it really doesn't matter which on-screen keyboard you've selected.

When I hear from SwiftKey about a fix, I'll update this article.