When was the last time a keyboard made you laugh out loud? If you’re thinking “never” then you haven’t tried PopKey, a new keyboard for your iPhone that will give a new meaning to your message.
PopKey lets you add short GIF video images to your messages, kind of like live emoticons. Let’s face it, sometimes the written word doesn’t do the best job of conveying what you’re trying to say. Yes, you can add a 🙂 or 😉 to replace the tone of your voice, but why not take emoticons to the next level?
If a picture says a thousand words, then PopKey says Fun, plus about ten thousand other words!
This video shows you PopKey in action:
iOS 8 brought us the ability to add third-party keyboards to our iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. I confess, I’m a horrible typist on a glass screen so I had every intention of immediately grabbing a new keyboard such as SwiftKey to make typing easier for me as soon as I updated to iOS 8.
But a funny thing happened on the way to the iTunes App Store: I discovered PopKey. I’ve been having so much fun with this keyboard that I haven’t bothered getting another keyboard for my iPhone that, you know, actually helps me type better.
I recently spoke with Adrian Salamunovic, the Co-founder of PopKey who told me that the popularity of his keyboard has exceeded the team’s wildest expectations. When I told him that I was very impressed with his app and how many GIFs the app offered at launch, he explained they have been working very hard on the app and to fill it with GIFs.
What Is PopKey
PopKey lets you insert GIFs into email and text messages from your iDevice. PopKey is like an emoticon keyboard except instead of smiley faces 😀 you get hundreds of short video clips called GIFs that are a few seconds long. You can find the GIF you want by category of emotion, such as happy, cool, lol, clapping and aww. Each category has GIFs that bring new meaning to your words.
Careful, you can get so lost in finding fun GIFs that you forgot what you were writing!
You can personalize your keyboard so you don’t have to search each time you want to use a GIF. PopKey lets you save favorites and add your own GIF to the keyboard.
How to Set Up PopKey
After you download PopKey from the App Store, activate the keyboard by going to
Settings => General => Keyboards => Keyboards => Add New Keyboard => PopKey => Allow Full Access
Did I mention a picture says a thousand words?
You also set up an account with PopKey so you can save favorite, upload GIFs. You’ll also be able to use your custom settings on different iDevices and reload the app with those settings if you ever lose or break your phone.
How to Use PopKey
Tap on the Globe symbol on the bottom left side of your keyboard. If you have more than one other keyboard, keep tapping until you see the PopKey keyboard.
You’ll see a menu at the bottom of the keyboard. Choose from:
- My GIFs
Start with Popular and then choose the category of emotion you want to share. You can pick from the classics, such as happy, yes, thumbs up and wow, to the more offbeat, such as face palm, chill and fist bump.
After you tap on the category you’re shown tiny thumbnail images of the GIFs. The GIFs won’t be animated yet when you’re trying to decide which one to use.
Copy and paste the image to add it to your message: tap on the image and a pink bar will appear over the image as it’s being copied. After you’ve copied the message, the video will start playing in the thumbnail image.
Tap on the message and then tap Paste. Your GIF will be appear in the message. You won’t see the animation in the message until after you send it.
Yea! You’ve just sent your first PopKey message!
You can use PopKey in your text messages and email. While you may quickly become enamored with your favorite GIFs, you can’t use them in other apps such as Facebook or Twitter.
Double-tap an image to save it as your favorite. A heart will appear on the image and you can access your favorites by tapping on the heart icon at the bottom of the keyboard.
Make sure to check out Featured in the menu to see trending GIFs. This section has different categories such as Football and Cats. <= That’s two different categories by the way.
Sometimes when you try to use PopKey you will need to allow Full Access again. Salamunovic explained that this was a glitch in iOS 8 that should be fixed in iOS 8.1. (Note, since updating to iOS 8.1 on Monday I have not experienced this glitch.) Don’t panic and think the app is broken, it’s not.
You merely have to go back into settings and allow Full Access again. This YouTube video will walk you through the process:
Most third-party keyboards request Full Access in Settings and PopKey does as well. See, Softonic, Why does a keyboard app need ‘Full Access’ to my iPhone?.
“We cannot read any of your previous texts or see any past activity like purchases or sent emails, and we cannot track any of your conversations, keystrokes, credit card info etc.
We do not (and cannot) track what you do on your main keyboard or any other keyboard. PopKey can only track what GIFs are being used at an anonymous and aggregated level. This anonymous data helps us to improve the service, but that’s the extent of what we’re able to do.”
PopKey also requests your phone number to verify that you are an actual user of their app. Salamunovic explained to me that this is optional and will be eliminated in future versions of the app. He assured me that PopKey would “never, ever sell our customers’ phone numbers to third parties.”
What Else You Should Know
The GIFs are not stored on your phone, the app would be very large if they were! You need an Internet connection for the full library of GIFs but a smaller collection is available for use offline.
If you’re sending the GIFs using email or iMessage your carrier shouldn’t charge you any fees. If you’re not using iMessage your carrier may charge a fee for sending an image via text message.
If you’re sending GIFs when you’re not connected to a Wi-Fi network you will be using your monthly data.
PopKey is free for iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch in the iTunes App store. Your iDevice must be updated to iOS 8 or later.
Sorry, but no Android version has been announced. “We know Android users would love to have PopKey on their devices! While an Android version is certainly on our radar, right now our focus is on additional iOS version updates so we can create the best user experience possible.”
Has a keyboard ever made you laugh? Do you like the idea of taking emoticons to the next level? Will you have fun sending GIFs in your messages? What are your favorite PopKey GIFs? Let us know in the Comments section below!
Speaking of keyboards and fun, if your idea of fun isn’t GIFs but Star Trek, the most fun you can have with a keyboard may be the Klingon keyboard. Mentioned at the Apple event last week, the Klingon keyboard app is available for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch devices that have been updated to iOS 8 or later and can be yours for $0.99.
* Image of woman laughing (edited) courtesy of Martin via Flickr and Creative Commons