Match Your Android Keyboard for Better Passwords

Passwords are important.  You already know that.  One of the things I noticed on my Android devices is that creating strong passwords – letters and numbers and special characters – is made harder by the default keyboard.  As if there isn’t enough friction already against creating long, complex passwords, having to toggle from the ABC alphabet keyboard to the numbers or special characters and back and forth really puts a damper on creativity.

This post from How To Geek was the perfect answer for me.  It walks you through how to add a custom look to your current keyboard, whether the Google Android stock keyboard or other ones.  Best of all, it doesn’t undo any other customizations you have.  It merely adds one – the PC keyboard.  When you’re finished, you’ve got your same alpha keyboard as before and a line of numbers across the top.  If you’re keyboard didn’t already support showing extended characters by long-pressing a number – hold your finger on the number 2, for example, to get @ – you’ll be able to do it now.


The keyboard can become a bit small on phones.  On tablets, it works fine.  I find that, now that I’m swiping my keyboard (which you can do with many keyboards, including the stock Google one), that the key size matters less.

It’s one of those small tweaks that can have a big impact.  I’ll still use my KeePass password manager for most of my passwords.  But for those that I can’t store in it – like lockscreen passwords – I can now have long, complicated passwords without fiddling with flipping the keyboard back and forth.

David Whelan

I improve information access and lead information teams. My books on finding information and managing it and practicing law using cloud computing reflect my interest in information management, technology, law practice, and legal research. I've been a library director in Canada and the US, as well as directing the American Bar Association's Legal Technology Resource Center. I speak and write frequently on information, technology, law library, and law practice issues.