How to install and switch the keyboard input languages in Android

Since Android is such a popular operating system for smartphones and tablets, people often find that they need to change the keyboard to a different input language, rather than their device's default. Others need to write in two or more languages. In this guide, we'll describe the steps you need to take to install and change the input language of the keyboard on your Android smartphone or tablet:

NOTE: We used a Motorola Nexus 6 device running the Android 7.0 Nougat operating system. The procedure is similar on all Android-powered devices, so you should be set even if you're running a different version of Android.

How to install a new input language for the Android keyboard

Let's begin by opening the Settings panel. From your device's home screen, open the Apps drawer.

Once inside the app drawer, navigate to the Settings app and tap on it.

Scroll down to find the Languages & input option and tap on it. It’s found in your Personal section of settings.

This section of the device's settings houses all the language related options of the device. You will be presented with the various language related settings.

NOTE: The first option here is called Languages, and it lets you install or remove display languages for your Android device. By default, Android 7 and later also add the same languages as input languages to be used with your keyboard. If you also want to change the display language of your Android device, follow the steps shown in this tutorial: 4 Steps to changing the display language used by Android devices. If all you want is to add a new input language to your Android smartphone or tablet, follow the next steps:

In the Keyboard & input methods section, tap on Virtual keyboard.

On the Virtual keyboard screen, you will find all the keyboard apps installed on the device, together with the pre-installed Gboard keyboard, which is the default Google keyboard in Android version 6 and later. Tap on the Gboard keyboard to open its settings. If you use an older version of Android or a particular Android edition that has been customized by your smartphone’s manufacturer, tap on the default keyboard pre-installed on your device.

The first option you will find is the Languages, which houses all the keyboard layouts available for the keyboard panel. Tap on it to view them.

By default, Android is configured to use the same input languages for the keyboard as the system languages installed on your smartphone or tablet.

For instance, if you installed the English (US) and the German (Deutschland) display languages, you also get the same keyboard input languages.

If you want to add a different keyboard input language that’s different from the display languages you use, you must first disable the “Use system languages” switch. Once you do that, you’ll be able to add any input language you want for your keyboard.

Choose all the keyboard layouts that you need by turning on the switch on the right of their names. We enabled French for the purpose of this tutorial. All the active languages will be available for quick switching while typing with the keyboard panel you chose them for.

After you've finished adding all the input languages you want, tap on the Home button at the bottom of the screen to return to the home screen.

How to use a different input language

Now let's test whether the languages you chose for installment are all there for quick switching. Open an app in which you can enter text, like the Messenger app or the Google Chrome browser, and bring up the keyboard panel by tapping on a text input field. On the Space key, you’ll see written the input languages that are available to use.

Tap and hold the Space key or, alternatively, tap the World key to the left of the Space key. You will be presented with a dialog where you can choose the current input language that you want to use.

The first language shown on the Space key is the language that you are currently using for entering text. For instance, in the screenshot below you can see that we set French (FR) as the input language for the keyboard.

That's it! Now you know how to change your keyboard input language on your Android smartphone or tablet.


We hope that this tutorial managed to show you just how easy it is to add a new input language for your Android keyboard, as well as how to select the one you want to use when typing. If you have any questions, post them below, and we'll do our best to help. Thanks for reading and for commenting.