How to Adjust Keyboard Settings on Your Android Phone

By Dan Gookin

The standard Android keyboard is called the Google Keyboard. It offers some special features that supposedly make the onscreen typing experience more enjoyable. It’s up to you to determine whether that’s true.

Keyboard settings are held in the Settings app, accessed by tapping the Language & Input item. On some Samsung phones, that item is found on either the General tab or Controls tab in the Settings app.

Generating keyboard feedback

Typing seems to work better with an onscreen keyboard when the Haptic Feedback feature is active. To check this setting, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Settings app and choose Language & Input.

  2. Choose Google Keyboard and then Preferences.

    On Samsung phones, this item is titled Samsung Keyboard. It’s the same thing. There is no need to choose Preferences for the Samsung keyboard.

  3. Use the master control to set the vibration and sound options.

Activating predictive text

The Google Keyboard enables its predictive text automatically, but not every Android phone uses that keyboard. To ensure that the feature is active, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Settings app and choose Language & Input.

  2. Choose Google Keyboard and then Text Correction.

    Some Samsung phones show the Samsung Keyboard item. Choose it to view the Predictive Text setting.

  3. Ensure that the item Next-Word Suggestions or Predictive Text is enabled.

    This item may instead be titled Show Suggestions.

If you can’t locate a Next-Word Suggestions or Predictive Text item, it’s most likely on all the time and can’t be disabled.

Activating gesture typing

Gesture typing allows you to create words by swiping your finger over the onscreen keyboard. This feature may not be active on your phone. To ensure that it is, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Settings app and choose Language & Input.

  2. Choose Google Keyboard, and then choose Gesture Typing.

    On a Samsung phone, choose Samsung Keyboard and then Keyboard Swipe.

  3. Ensure that all Master Control icons are set to the On position.

    Only the Enable Gesture Typing item needs to be enabled, although activating the other items enhances the experience.

Samsung phones show the item titled SwiftKey Flow, which is essentially the same thing as gesture typing.

Turning on dictation

Voice input should be enabled automatically on your Android phone, although that’s no guarantee. The secret is to find the Dictation (Microphone) icon on the keyboard.

On some Samsung keyboards, long-press the Multifunction key to locate the Dictation icon.

When you can find the Dictation key, and before you toss the phone into the garbage disposal, follow these steps to ensure that this feature is active:

  1. Open the Settings app and choose Language & Input.

  2. Choose Google Voice Typing.

  3. Ensure that the feature is enabled.

    On many phones, the feature can’t be disabled, so after choosing Google Voice Typing (refer to Step 2), you see a list of features.