You can send messages right from your wrist using an Apple Watch. But unlike Apple’s larger touchscreen devices, text input is done a bit differently.
For one, there isn’t a keyboard on the Apple Watch. Instead, users have to rely on voice dictation or Scribble to input text. Based on the Watch’s screen size, that makes sense. But if you’ve ever wanted an actual keyboard on the Apple Watch, there’s now an app for that.
The app is called Shift Keyboard and it was created by developer Adam Foot. And it essentially just adds full keyboard to the watchOS ecosystem, complete with all of the letters, numbers and other characters you may need.
But if the idea of having a keyboard on such a tiny screen seems unintuitive, don’t sorry. Shift Keyboard has a few more tricks up its sleeve.
There are two types of displayable keyboards in Shift: Full and Precise.
The latter of the two options displays characters in large size, which you can scroll through with a tap or the Digital Crown. You can even tweak the layout of the keyboard to alphabetical order or QWERTY.
The Full keyboard is where Shift will really shine for most users. It pretty much displays an entire iOS-style keyboard on the Apple Watch.
As you can probably imagine, each key is pretty small on an Apple Watch display. So Shift uses predictive text features and word suggestions to make it easier to tap out a quick message.
Of course, Shift is a relatively new app on a relatively nascent platform (watchOS has only had standalone apps for about a year, for example). There are some limitations with the watchOS developer toolset, which ultimately results in Shift only being compatible with the native Messages app.
With all of that in mind, Shift could still be a decent option for users who need to send a message form their wrist without using Siri or Scribble. And, if Apple opens up the watchOS ecosystem just a bit more, Shift and other apps like it could bring additional functionality to the wearable.
The app is currently $1.99 on the App Store and you’ll need an Apple Watch running watchOS 6 or later.