Latest SwiftKey Beta comes with an incomplete dark mode and revamped settings

SwiftKey has only recently received an update that made many of its fans unhappy with changes to the toolbar. A new release to the beta channel doesn’t mitigate these issues, but it packs some much-needed improvements: SwiftKey’s settings have been completely redesigned with a more conventional interface that now also supports Android 10’s dark mode. The keyboard itself doesn’t switch themes automatically yet, though, and typing stats are completely gone. Baby steps.

Left: The SwiftKey settings of old. Middle & Right: The new SwiftKey settings in their white and dark theme variants.

Previously, SwiftKey’s settings were populated by four large buttons that took you to different subsections and an area dedicated only to your typing stats. In the beta update, the top-level sections have been reorganized to be more granular from the get-go, giving you access to features that were previously mostly hidden in the typing section. For example, you can access emoji, layout, and voice input settings without extra taps now. Microsoft has also decided that it’s time to put its own name front and center following its 2016 acquisition, as the app bar title has been renamed from “SwiftKey Keyboard” to “Microsoft SwiftKey.” The app settings also already respect Android 10’s system-wide dark theme, though the keyboard itself doesn’t just yet.

The typing stats have been completely removed from the keyboard. I don’t think that’s a bad decision since the stated percentage-based improvements in writing speed must be taken with a grain of salt — after all, SwiftKey doesn’t have access to other keyboards’ writing stats on your phone it could properly compare itself against.

What’s new in v7.4.9.9

  • Your SwiftKey Keyboard now supports dark mode. Dark mode is available as an option on Android 10 (and higher).
  • Your SwiftKey Settings now offer a brand-new look. We’ve redesigned Settings to make things easier to find and your SwiftKey Keyboard easier to customize. Go check it out by pressing the ‘Cog’ icon on your Toolbar or tapping your SwiftKey app icon from your device app drawer.

It’s a bummer that keyboard themes aren’t automatically switching according to the system-wide dark or light mode yet, but Microsoft will likely add that functionality as part of another app update. The current changes are live in beta version 7.4.9.9, which you can download on the Play Store. Since it’s an extra listing, you can use the keyboard’s stable release alongside it.

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