Apple is considering bringing a long-time favorite feature among Android fans to the iOS platform — and it could be a major win for security on top of convenience.
Earlier this week, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman published a slew of details about Apple’s upcoming software updates. One of the rumored additions to iOS 13 is a new and native swipe-to-text keyboard.
Basically, users will be able to swipe their finger across multiple letters on a keyboard in one motion to type out words.
According to Gurman, who cited sources familiar with Apple’s plans, the company is merely “testing” the new keyboard option. Gurman adds that Apple could choose to keep the feature internal for now.
But if Apple does decide to add the swipe-to-text feature to iOS, it would fill a gap in native functionality that has long been available on Android.
How Will Swipe-to-Text Improve My iPhone’s Security?
It’s worth noting that there are several third-party keyboards that have swipe-to-text capabilities baked in. Some popular options include Microsoft’s SwiftKey and Google’s Gboard.
Users who are privacy-conscious have long chosen to avoid those third-party platforms because of keystroke or data logging concerns.
While malicious apps are rare on the App Store, Apple does allow third-party to collect certain types of data (with some types of data being more sensitive than others).
Third-party keyboard apps explicitly require users to opt-in to data collection, many developers encourage that users grant “full access” to the data they type. That could include extremely sensitive data like street addresses, social security numbers and credit card information.
Apple does ask developers not to store this data except to “provide services that are obvious to the user.” On the other hand, once keystroke data is sent off to a third-party server, there isn’t a lot Apple can do to enforce its guidelines.
This likely wouldn’t be as much of a problem with a built-in iOS keyboard, since most of the data that Apple devices collect is stored and analyzed locally or is anonymized.
iOS 13, with or without the swipe-to-text keyboard, will probably be debuted at Apple’s WWDC event in early June. WWDC will likely kick off with a keynote address on Monday, June 3. In the past, Apple’s keynotes have been held at or around 10 a.m.