An app to brighten up your basic keyboard
By Brittney MacDonald, Life & Style Editor
We love our smartphones, but sometimes we want a little more customization options. I mean, who wants to look at the same boring screen every time you want to send a text? Recently, I’ve been looking at fun, easy apps to install that will make my phone a little more “me.” I mean, wallpapers and home screens are great, but how much time do you really spend looking at them?
That surfing the app store is how I found FancyKey. Available on both iOS and Android, FancyKey is an app that allows you to create your own, custom keyboard. When I first downloaded the app, it allowed me to choose from a variety of pre-made, themed keyboards to install and use for texts, Internet surfing, search dialogues, and pretty much everything else that you use the regular keyboard for. With their most recent update, FancyKey allows you to create your own theme, meaning you can choose the background image, the button/key type, the colours, and even the visual affect that occurs when you press a letter.
Beyond the aesthetic, I found that FancyKey had some practical uses as well. The FancyKey keyboards have a menu at the top of them that allows you to easily access emojis. Normally, if you were using the default keyboard, the emojis are found in a separate keyboard, so you have to switch to that one, search through the emojis for the one you want, and click it. FancyKey simplifies that process. It takes some getting used to, but it does save time. Frequently used emojis and words will also appear in a temporary top-side menu as you are typing, so instead of searching for that perfect smiley, you can just type in “happy” and FancyKey will give you the option to switch the text to your most commonly used emoji associated with that keyword.
If you’re looking to expand your emoticon arsenal, FancyKey also has a built-in kamoji category already inside of it. Previous to FancyKey, I didn’t have any kamoji keyboards installed, so this is an added benefit. It’s not entirely useful, but it is fun for those times you just want to send your friends something quick to let them know you’re thinking of them.
So now we come down to it. What’s the cost? FancyKey itself is free, and creating your own custom keyboards is free as well. Micro-transactions come in when you want to download some of FancyKey’s more elite, pre-made keyboards, or if you want to add to your limited menu of customization options. “Diamonds,” the app’s currency, can be used to purchase various sounds, visual effects, button and key designs, etc.—but you can also earn diamonds by showing off your creations on social media.
Personally, I feel that the customization options are enough that I don’t really have any desire to unlock any more of them. I created a pretty sweet Garrus Vakarian (Mass Effect) keyboard with just the free stuff available.
There is a downside. Custom button clicks are not available unless you acknowledge FancyKey as an all access keyboard. This is not a good idea because it means that the app can keep a record of everything you type while using one of their keyboards or any keyboard you have made with the app. This means that sensitive financial information, private texts, passwords, or anything else you’d rather just keep to yourself will be known to the FancyKey staff, or there will at least be a record of it. Just installing a keyboard won’t trigger this—there is a specific process you have to go through to do it, and your phone’s security settings will warn you.