Microsoft is bringing its famed Word Flow keyboard to the iPhone

Microsoft is evidently not yet finished porting over key components like Cortana and Outlook to the iPhone. The software company is now setting its eyes on the famous Word Flow keyboard from Windows Phones too as the next port to Apple's dominate smartphone.

In an email sent to a select few Windows Insiders the company is soliciting feedback on the feature and whether people will want to participate in the beta program.

Insider Kyle Reddoch received the email about the program recently asking if he owns "an iPhone (5s or newer)? Do you think your native iOS keyboard could use improvement?" The email then boasts about Word Flow breaking a Guinness World record for fastest texting and how Microsoft is "working on extending the keyboard to other platforms, starting with iOS".

That last part sounds as if Google's Android would be next in line.

While this is great news for those on iOS (and likely Android), we are sure some Windows Phone users are none too pleased. Nonetheless, Microsoft has made no secret of their intentions of being the best software company around, and the Word Flow keyboard is a shining example of Microsoft's work.

Thanks, Kyle R./@WinPhanKyle, for the email!

Daniel Rubino
Editor-in-chief

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been here covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics and ran the projectors at movie theaters, which has done absolutely nothing for his career.

537 Comments
  • F YEAH! I really miss that feature since moving to a 6s.
  • Yea my brother in law says the same thing. Nice of Microsoft haha. Of course it's all part of Microsoft on all devices since traditional PCs sales are still declining.
  • Will this ever be brought to the Surface Pro? Window 10 desktop virtual keyboard blows.
  • Windows Feedback App is our friend :)
  • Funny, I used it a while but normal typing with word prediction (NO auto correction) works way better. First thing I liked much better after switching from iPhone to Windows phone. Always hated autocorrection on my iPhone. And the caps lock that show no caps letters. So for those on iPhone it could be an improvement.
  • With iOS 9 the default keyboard actually displays the change from upper to lower case:  
  • Now that it is evident. Windows phone keyboard is the best! Some don't always accept the fact.
  • Personally, I've found the Windows Phone keyboard to be increasingly inaccurate from 7.8 forward. I used to think the WP7.8 keyboard was psychic. Despite larger screen devices, the accuracy of assumed letters pressed gets worse - and it's so frustrating that the word prediction shifts around so I end up picking the wrong word from the list as it slides away just as I hit the screen, grrr.
  • Hahaha I used to think the same thing. I would create entire sentences just by following the suggested words that it predicted based on the prior word. I was convinced that it was reading the entire sentence and predicting the next word based off of that. Since 8.1 it seems less psychic, but it's still good. Using the Galaxy S6 keyboard on my work phone hasn't been nearly as good.
  • Can't wait for it on my Note 5.  The change from a 928 to an Icon and the slight difference in size threw me off for a bit.  But Word Flow is so much better than Swype or the Samsung keyboard.  I genuinely miss it.  So glad it's being released for other platforms.
  • the samsung keyboard is horrrribbllee. i've been using the google keyboard on my note 5. the only thing i miss from the samsung keyboard was it's auto-detection of the pen being out and then letting you write text with that.
  • Andrew, you are so right... The keyboard and predictive took a nose dive. I stopped using it because it became a major frustration
  • andrewb65: This. I had an HD7 which was a absolute mind reader. With my Titan, it wasn't so great but it got worse with my Lumia 920. This 950XL i have more is appalling; the Word Flow keyboard works accurately about 40% of the time. I can never get an "a" as it always tries to place an "s" and many other mistakes.
  • Yes wordflow was great on my 920 and 930, I have lots of errors on my 950Xl and I'm not saying it's just the getting used to bigger screen anymore, it really doesn't perform as well
  • Especially in the Edge browser. Quite frankly, it's unusable in Edge. Too many errors.
  • Wordflow doesn't work in edge at all.
  • You know it learns from you, right? In other words, the more you use it, the more it is accurate.
  • With word flow I spend as long going back over my sentence, pressing and correcting, then typing in the first place. The guy who broke that record was typing a pretty unique sentence where each word was the first predicted offering.
  • Yes completely agree. They went from perfect to meh, though it is still leap ans bounce ahead of iPhone.
  • I always felt the same. Windows phone 7 was AMAZING and then it just felt worse and worse. I know it learns from you, but out of the box, it was always way better. I really can't wait until they port it to Android. I've tried out a ton of keyboards, but none of them match up. Currently using the Google keyboard. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Agree 100%, so disappointing. I was amazed at how well predictive text worked especially when swipe keyboard was added. On WP8 it went from amazing to down right frustrating. It got much better once I upgraded to W10 except performance was slow. However over time it seems to be getting dumber just like it did in WP8. I always have to go back and correct so many incorrect words, kicker is that the suggested replacement word is always the correct one.
  • I actually thought 8/8.1 was pretty good. W10M is not nearly as good as 8.1. Not sure how they go backwards, but they have. I've actually stopped using it because it's so inaccurate on W10M.
  • Cause it isn't a fact. It's an opinion. Learn the difference Posted via the Windows Central App for Android on my Lumia 950 XL
  • I totally accept it. Used all major three OS, I always miss the keyboard when I tried other OS
  • I guess the iPhone will get word flow before I get word flow on Edge in Windows 10 Mobile. I'm guessing it's a bug, which has been going on for far too long.
  • Good point. I get they have different teams working on this stuff but they really should commit to getting this OS up to snuff and THEN consider porting. If I had a better OS right now I wouldn't be that bothered.
  • Word flow work in edge on my 1520 build 10586
  • He means in address bar. And it is horrible in edge. Missing words I see it finding the word but doesn't insert.
  • If you put a space after each word then do wordflow for the next word it works. It's like it doesn't auto insert a space properly
  • For some reason, word flow doesn't insert spaces in edge. You have to put a space after each word manually. Extremely irritating...
  • Because it's the address bar? How many spaces do you inset into web addresses?
  • It's increasingly rare that I actually type an address in the address bar these days now that most browsers also have it function as a search bar.
  • Always since MS incorporated search.
  • Also works in store now!
  • MS decided to give people one less reason to stay on windows phone. Just develop your OS faster if you have time to give the competition your goodies. I agree that iPad owners will have to get Office 365 subscriptions to use it there, but why give them word flow as well? Apple will care less to reciprocate, even they hog most of the profits in the smartphone and tablet market
  • Agree with Mihai, but this is this new terrible ceo "mobile first" politic...
  • Well I see it as a Company that is willing to share its products with other OSes also, unlike other OSes who arre selfish and does not provide their own features on other OS, neither let third party developers to provide the features.
  • I don't think there's an app or service from Apple that I care to have. Not saying they're not worth it, it's just that I never owned an Apple product and all of their first-party apps and services are mostly exclusive to their hardware.
  • switched to iPhone back in December and that is the first thing I missed!!! I have everything else I need from Microsoft..... onedrive, outlook, xbox, and office. I miss my windows phone but I'm on Verizon and wanted a new phone.
  • I'm starting to feel like a Sega Dreamcast owner at this point. I guess the 950 will be my last MS phone. MS wants us all to #switch they even format this ms store newsletters to iOS it seems. The idea of using my boring iPhone is a daunting one.
  • I know what you mean.  I'm really trying to like my 950 XL, but I've been so tempted to jump ship lately.  The only question is where do I go?  PS2, Gamecube, or that crazy new Xbox thing?
  • Gamecube definitely. PS2 and Xbox will fail for sure.
  • Brilliant!
  • The Xbox it is modable and makes a great media center ^^
  • It's sad. I was so impressed by my friend's Nexus 6P and Android that I'm fairly certain I'm getting a Nexus towards the end of next year. I can't say my 950 has been bad, but I've been let down on so many levels that 3+ years into Windows Phone I'm losing my patience.
  • In addition to the cash you've already spent, you should not have to pay for a product with patience. 3+ years is beyond patient. Move on to something that is useful to you.
  • Don't get so excited yet... It has only gotten worse on windows 10 mobile when compared to windows phone 8.1. It's nowhere close to being as good or as fast as it performed in the Guinness world records. The word flow keyboard on my Moto G2 has much more efficient word prediction and works much faster...
  • Totes agree. It's so inaccurate on W10M I've stopped using it. But I loved it on 8.1. Things like suggesting every variant of a word, except for the base, is maddening. For example, if I want "interest" and I type "inter" I get interesting, interested, interview, internet, and then interest (5th on the list). Typing "intere" gets me interesting, interested, interest (third on the list). I've typed 6 of 8 letters at that point, so not sure how that helps me. And why wouldn't interest come first with its variants to follow? This is just one example, but this happens for a lot of words. Never had this problem on 8.1.
  • They might bring Continuum to iOS too.
  • Suuuuure
  • I like it how Microsoft is infecting other mobile operating systems by introducing their good software to other platforms.  This is essentially a "trojan horse" Look it maybe Apple or Android but the software you use is Microsoft so its really a Microsoft phone :P NICE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • ^ this
  • iSheep worldwide will pick their phones up only to discover they've actually been using Windows Mobile for the past year lol
  • Ms is really playing smart with these guys. Every MS product on the apple or droid platforms means money in the bank. lets hope WP doesn't get pushed back even more.
  • Except that their own mobile platform is playing second fiddle and many of the great innovations that can be found on iOS and Android are nowhere to be found on W10M. That and W10M is a big step backwards in many ways compared to 8.1. They released a beta OS for a flagship phone. I think W10 has great potential, but Microsoft is going a **** way about rolling it out.
  • I am really missing that feature in my 6s. Quick Microsoft quick.
  • I just got a 6s last week. For work I need vpn on my phone to actually work and Windows wasn't doing it for me. There are a lot of things I miss about wp but the 6s has some nice things about it. The fingerprint reader is a nice way to unlock the phone and other secure apps.
  • Why the hell would anyone move too a 6S!?! LUMIA FOR THE WIN
  • I feel like MS is preparing to let w10m die Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Same! Really miss the WP keyboard since moving over to iOS! Would love to see it on there 
  • same. I'm using swiftkey but I find it very inaccurate in terms of understanding what words I want to type compared to experience on WP8.1.  Really happy about this as it's my biggest complaint about my 6s plus.
  • Ohh great... :(
  • Yup, it's nice to see how iPhones and Androids are getting better day by day cuz of Microsoft :)
  • Yeah, but can your iPhone do THIS? *continuums*
  • Umm who's iPhone? I was being sarcastic, I'm a loyal WP user.
  • Well,eventually Microsoft will bring that to iPhone
  • Apple will copy that feature and call it new and revolutionary...
  • I think that this is why Microsoft is porting all their windows features so that Apple doesn't get a chance to take credit for features that Microsoft already had long before Apple even thought of them, how many features have appeared on iOS that we all know were done on Windows first?
  • If it were about making sure they get credit for their work first, it would be easier (and wiser) for MS to Market it really well, to help boost sales of their hardware, which in turn would be more benefitial to them. ------------------- I believe what they are doing, is an extension of Cortana, where they gain user input.  Stats from keyoard input, helps them with Bing as well as other things.  Google does this on Android and they use a lot of the stats that come out from keyboard input, MS wants Bing to gain more marketshare and by releasing cortana as an app on other platforms, it has proven to be a successful strategy, so the Keyboard is naturally the next step, since it has proven really usefull to Google on Android.  
  • Ipad Pro is the best example of Apple copying Microsoft. I was surprised that a hardware company (apple) could copy hardware from a software company (Microsoft). Wow! Thats the irony.
  • What? Swype existed long before Wordflow.
  • Wordflow was on win mobile 6. I think that was before Swype
  • I dont know if im going crazy, but I thought I had Swype on an old Symbian phone.
  • Well Swype started on WinMo 6.1, officially launched on the Samsung Omnia 2. So another first that belongs to WinMo. http://www.geek.com/mobile/first-swype-enabled-smartphone-coming-to-veri...
  • Like the 3D touch?
  • @someone2639 Yeah, tell em! :D
  • I know... :) G.
  • With W10M being so buggy and lacking apps, it's not a bad thing to have MS's services on other platforms. I've got an Android tablet at work, and apps from MS like Word, Excel and OneNote are updated frequently. So if you're ever planning on switching platforms (I've got my eyes on the Galaxy S7) now is a great time to do it. You can have more apps and still use MS's services. Windows Phone or Windows Mobile looks to be a sinking ship as time goes by.
  • The downside being having to use android.
  • I would switch platforms BUT sliding home screens left,right,left,right is a primitive feature that I don't ever want to face again
  • What....scrolling up and down is a better thing? Nokia and then MS should have adopted the N9 pattern as well as Sailfish(Jolla phone) to have given us today the ultimate UI experience.
  • At least you scroll once and see enough info, you will not be looking at icons that bare no information. Alternatively the back button will send you back. Not even the N9 and that sailfish can give me this, this is the future
  • Yeah, but the back stack on W10M is a heaping pile of dung at the moment. It was great on 8.1.
  • Watch out iOS users! Microsoft is bringing Windows Phone to iOS.
  • This is great because I'm back on the iPhone for now, but terrible because it's ONE MORE THING that makes WM less unique. Yes, there's already stuff like this out there, but still. Cortana on iOS is less functional though, so I guess there's that...
  • The only thing unique that the average person cares about on WP anymore is the a unique lack of apps ;) A feature like this isn't a make or break thing for the platform, so why not port it? I'm stoked personally.
  • The collective feature giveaway, doesn't help. Microsoft is in love with the competition, while trying to convince everyone to be in live with Windows. Fir the love of all the fake MBA types in these forums, don't justify by quoting the phantom benefits of market share or userbase. This is another non-revenue generating offering that isn't influencing people to buy a new Surface, or to yse Bing, Azure or anything...well, it might secure people a little deeper into staying iPhone - where one finds the best that Microsoft has to offer.
  • It doesn't make sense to give all Windows Phone features to other mobile platforms and update those apps more than their platform lol. Seems like most MS employees are not using Windows phone.
  • Microsoft services on iOS and Android might make wp and win10mobile less unique, but much more useful. Living in a world were friends and family members have different phones the Microsoft services is the obvious choice for sharing photos and files. Also, even though I am a die hard Lumia enthusiast, I am also an iPad owner. I am a teacher, and when I prepare for work, I often start on the phone, continue on the iPad (in the bus), and complete it on my pc. Microsoft is not ignoring wp and win10mobile, but is making software for people in the real world
  • I understand what you mean and the Office suite was ported to get money from iPad owners. But I have yet to see Apple or Google being nearly a fraction as caring of the connectivity with the WP platform.
  • There are many flow keyboard apps in android. There nothing unique about that.
  • MS is that kind of company that supports MORE the competition rather than itself.
  • True, i guess corruption of ms managers is extremely high nowadays Try to guess how much money they get from competitors to bash ms platforms
  • No it supports itself by putting it's software on all platforms.
  • I keep my own opinion
    Thanks
  • Yes. Giving away features for free is "supporting" the company. /s
  • I guess I can vaguely understand how Microsoft wants to be a great software company, but I dont get the play here. Giving away tons of apps for free. Why would anyone want to switch to windows phone? There is absolutely no incentive. Now I personally dont really care how many people switch except that the more that do, the more quality and new apps for the windows (for me).
  • I just guess ms manager being payed a lot by competitors...
    Money make the world go round
  • Wasn't satya nadella an ex google guy?
  • I get what you're saying but it's about more than phone's they want to be everywhere.
  • With Swype style keyboards? They are going to end up nowhere with this strategy.
  • The keyboard isn't a service though unlike Office or OneDrive for example. Unless Microsoft wants to be known on making software keyboards which is actually a tough competition right now. Even Google keyboard isn't a big as established 3rd-party keyboards out there.
  • They aren't making money with a keyboard app lol. Microsoft is wasting their developers' time. They need to put more resources on Windows 10 apps.
  • Why take your money when they can just simply collect your precious, invaluable data?
  • I guess the play is it hasnt mattered what Microsoft kept exclusive it wasnt enough to sell WP. What WP major advatage is is the UI and, now continum. The UI, imo, is the best out there by a long shot. The vertical scrolling works more naturally with thumbs and the access to all your apps with a quick swipe is idea. The look and feel is beautiful. And now with continum having apps open up on a bigger screen and fit that screen is also nice. It hasnt matured a lot yet but it will. Those are the advantages W10M has over everything else. Apps are not one of them and wont be one of them for a long time. But if the store picks up a few more apps it will be good =). The advantage of having all their services and apps on all platforms is it makes those better for all of the people that use it. WP should get telemetry data from the iOS keyboard now as well making it even better. So I think this is a great play for Microsoft. If you get them mainly using your apps and you pick up a few key ones like banks and stuff, there is more reason for someone to switch because of the UI and the continium features. I think anyways...
  • I hate the WP UI, it is clunky and ugly compared to iOS and Android, though I like the iOS UI more than I like the Android UI though. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • There is incentive for someone like me. I prefer to have as few apps as necessary on my device. I setup my work Galaxy S6 with all the Microsoft apps for one of my home screens. I have all of Google on another home screen, and then Samsung's apps on another home screen. It is a pain in the ass to have to wade through a sea of apps. Lots of people went from Blackberry or iPhone to Android simply because they wanted to have a device that defaulted to the services they are already using through Google. By allowing it's users to stay on their platform of choice, and use the services of their choice, they buy time to create an OS that has all that stuff natively. Or will at least. It's taking them far too long for those of us using the platform currently, but most people just don't know it exists as an option. It's iPhone or android for the typical consumer. At least capture the audience and when the OS is ready, give them a choice.
  • That does make sense.
  •   They're not giving it "away for free". YES the app is free but everytime someone uses the keyboard to type - they are providing Microsoft with data - 1. at a simple level to improve the keyboard (trust me on this it'll eventually make it's way to Win 10 laptops and tablets - they need data before they can release it on a OS with 200M users - THEIR OS. Anything goes wrong they'll piss ppl) 2. What you type is a data mining goldmine. I can see uses for ads, improving Bing via integration into Siri which is powered by Bing, tying people into the Microsoft ecosystem.   Yeah Windows phone is not unique. THanks MS for giving away our cool features. Google does not do it for WIndoews Phone. BLAH BLAH blah blah (google actually has all well almost all it's android apps on Apple as well) . HERE's the deal people need to get - MS wants people to use it's services and ideally the OS as well. not it's devices. The devices are an added bonus - NOT THE CORE. They could care 2 hoots about the devices as long as the service is theirs and it's powered in the back end by their cloud.   Before you guys jump on me - attempting to buy the XL tomorrow at the store.  
  • Actually that makes sense, seeing as how they are focusing so hard on their cloud services including Azure. 
  • Acceptance Phase
  • Nobody was switching when all the great features about WP/W10m were completely exclusive. Trust me; I was there.
  • Bad marketing and exclusive devices don't help.
  • I agree with you here. Sort of. I always thought of windows devices, besides the Xbox brand, as a blueprint for other manufacturers to develop similar products using the windows OS. I count the band and surface as successful anomalies.
  •  As Microsoft fan I'm happy about the news, as Windows (Phone) fan I'm also happy - if you've got something good share it (with the exceptions of my wife, my car & my computing devices). :)
  • Lol
  • LOL
  • Say that to developers who lack knowledge of the Windows Phone
  • Just makes my transition that much easier if they don't come out with a flagship for 2016 worth my money.
  • I was thinking the same.
  • Hate the to say that but dah well. Lol
  • I think that is actually the point of this and the other apps they are releasing for other platforms. You may leave the platforms but can still use the ecosystem.
  • The ecosystem of free stuff that generates no revenue nor is any kind of a gateway to paid services?
  • Agree with dalydose, it's clear that some manager in ms is getting money from apple or google to destroy ms
    They are completely destroying the brand
    Porting stuff to other platforms is sign of severe weakness of ms brand in the market When ibm done this in 90 years they were sinking in the pc world and closed the PSP division Now apple and google are very powerful and maybe are corrupting politicians and managers to avoid antitrust laws
  • They know their phones wont survive, but the services will. Every unique feat of WP will be ported as an app. So when they do decide to axe windows phone, they'll still have mobile apps. Remember, they did say Cloud first, Mobile first. That doesn't exactly mean WPs... So just be prepared to jump ship. I give it a year or 2.
  • I'm guessing they'd disagree with what you think they "know" or even predict. They are wasting a lot of resources with such crystal ball knowledge.
  • I'm sure they would! Hell, I hope I'm wrong. Makes sense to me though. If they continue to make phones it'll be on the low end. They'll cut out the high end. Leaving most of us power users left out anyway.
  • The only thing that is clear is that you're delusional
  • I literally have no reason to stay with Windows Phone anymore. Sad but true.
  • I stay because I like the look and feel. It's just that they made it extremely easy to switch and extremely hard for someone to buy a windows phone. Lol
  • I'm the opposite. I have zero reasons to switch =)
  • Neither did I after 5 years starting on day 1 of WP7. Moved over to iOS a year ago and haven't looked back.
  • Maybe it's just me but the wordflow keyboard doesn't feel as fluid on my 950 as it did on my HTC One. Often the suggested word to the left appears but never goes bold indicating it's going to use it, and it doesn't. Not sure how much of that is OS/firmwareor possibly hardware but I've noticed a difference. 
  • Happens on my 930 too