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Apparently on many Android phones on Android OS 7+ there is no option to change external physical keyboard language/layout without going into device settings.

Is there a good virtual keyboard, which also supports changing layout/language for the attached physical keyboard on wide range of devices?

Solutions that I found:

  • Dedicated keyboard app for typing with physical keyboard. Popular recommendation is https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.apedroid.hwkeyboardhelper&hl=ru. There are other options like Logitech Keyboard Plus app on Google Play. This is inconvinient, as you have to switch between input method every time you plug the physical keyboard.

  • Install two keyboards for every language you want to support. Assign proper layouts for them in the settings. Switch between keyboards with Command + Space. This is a kludge and inconvinience.

A few additional points:

  • SwiftKey does not support this feature. Changing language with the globe icon does not affect what you type on physical keyboard at the moment of writing this question. See https://support.swiftkey.com/hc/en-us/articles/201591341-How-to-use-SwiftKey-with-physical-external-Bluetooth-keyboards-on-Android . Same with Google Keyboard at least on One Plus 3 and Xiaomi MI5 with latest OS updates.

  • There are multiple threads suggesting to add several language in physical keyboard settings. However most of them are for Anrdoid 5-6, where keyboard layout switch with Ctrl-Space appeared to be standard feature in most ROMs. It appears that this is no longer the case.

  • It's a long shot but did you ever find a solution? This is painfully relevant in Android TVs and set-top boxes, especially. – Ran Sagy Aug 7 '19 at 19:22
  • Android Pie update at least on my One Plus 3 fixed the issue. I can now setup multiple keyboard layouts in Languages & Inputs > Physical keyboard > Keyboard Name > Setup Keyboard Layouts. Is your device running Android 9+? Can you check if the issue is fixed that way? – sbat Aug 9 '19 at 5:04
  • Sadly most Android TV devices are still on 8.1 as far as i know. But it's good to know that it might be resolved "soon". – Ran Sagy Aug 9 '19 at 9:13
  • I see. Please do note workaround I mentioned in my question. You can install two keyboards and switch between these input methods with Command+Space. And just set both keyboards to the desired languages/layouts. It worked somewhat fine for me. Also dedicated keyboard app linked above might be an option for TV. – sbat Aug 9 '19 at 11:31

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