One of Louis Rossmann‘s recent online-privacy videos got me exploring F-Droid for privacy-respecting keyboard apps again. I have become so accustomed to the convenience of the animated .GIFs that G-board so easily allows me to insert into text messages, and the entertainment value they add to my life, that I haven’t looked into the current state of the FOSS keyboard app offerings lately. I wanted to see if in late 2023, there exists a privacy-respecting FOSS alternative that can compete with the top dogs AND has native GiPHY support.
Free and Open-Source Software Keyboard Apps for Android
There are plenty of keyboard apps on F-Droid that are perfectly suitable drop-in replacements to serve as an input device but few offer rich features like the ability to easily find and drop in funny apropos GIFs to enrich your conversations. In fact, I couldn’t find one. But with a slight modification, the GiPHY-type functionality that so many of us enjoy, can be enjoyed, on a privacy-respecting FOSS keyboard app that rivals, maybe in some way beats, the stock Android keyboard app.
AnySoftKeyboard is an incredibly feature-packed keyboard app that comes with a variety of beautiful themes and a version for nearly any language imaginable. It has tons of customization options and it has rich emoji functionality built right in. I’ve especially enjoyed the ability to switch over to the SSH language keyboard, which makes remote admin work much more comfortable on a smartphone. It also has a nice set of themes with effects that look even cooler than I’ve been able to produce with G-board and I especially like the tweaks, which allow advanced customization.
A FOSS Android Keyboard App with GiPHY support!
Now that I’ve kissed its butt good and proper, lets get down to the process of installing an Open-source Privacy-respecting keyboard app with GiPHY support for your Android smartphone:
- Download the AnySoftKeyboard and any applicable language packs you may need
- Get it from Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.menny.android.anysoftkeyboard
- OPTION 2: Install the F-Droid app store at https://f-droid.org and download it from there
- Run AnySoftKeyboard and follow the steps to enable it as your default keyboard and customize it to your liking
- Download and install the lumiere GIF app which gives the ability to search and attach GiPHY images from AnySoftKeyboard
- Visit menny’s GitHub repo, view the source and build it with Android Studio and gradle: https://github.com/menny/lumiere
- OPTION 2: Although the lumiere add-on is not on an app store, I was able to find it at APKPure: You can download it, enable installation of apps from unknown sources when prompted it and install it from here: https://apkpure.com/lumiere-gif-search/net.evendanan.lumiere
Lumiere GIF can be used as a standalone app to download GIFs then use them at your disposal but it can also be used to insert images directly into your conversations while you’re composing them with AnySoftKeyboard! To do that, tap the emoji icon in the bottom left corner of the keyboard. You will be brought to the emoji window and there should be a menu on the far right hand side. Tap the 3rd icon down that has the ‘attach image’ symbol and it will bring up lumiere. From there, you can enter your search term and when you find the image you like tap it. Back out of the app and you will be back where you started but with a great GIF that will communicate your message 1,000x better than you can in words alone!