The floodgates are open today as the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system, iOS 5, becomes available for iDevice owners. Users will be glad to see new features in iOS 5 like iMessage, Notification Center, Twitter integration, and more, but it seems Apple has left out one feature iPad users have been looking forward to since April: multi-touch gestures.
Indeed, multi-touch gestures will not be present in iOS 5 for first-generation iPad users, but lucky iPad 2 users will be getting the feature. Of course, we aren’t very happy about this, but we’ve figured out an easy way to enable multi-touch gestures on your first-generation iPad.
We’ve covered enabling Multi-Touch Gestures in iOS 4.3 before, but the process has changed a little bit with its introduction in iOS 5. Actually, the process has gotten significantly easier than before, so you should have this done in no time. Let’s get started.
What Are Multi-Touch Gestures?
That’s a fine question. I think it’s best to let Apple explain this one:
iOS 5 includes a few new moves and shortcuts to help you get around even quicker on your iPad: Using four or five fingers, swipe up to reveal the multitasking bar, pinch to return to the Home screen, and swipe left or right to switch between apps.
If you’ve used the Multi-Touch Gestures in Mac OS X Lion, these gestures for iOS are very similar.
Before we start digging into things, I want to note that your iPad must be jailbroken for this to work. If you’re not jailbroken, check out this article for more info. I also want to give a quick explanation of what we’ll be doing to enable multi-touch gestures.
There is a .plist file that contains keys with corresponding true/false values that trigger options in our iPad (i.e. accelerometer, displayport, etc). We’ll be copying this file from our iPad, adding two small lines of code, and then uploading it back to our iPad. After a quick restart, you’ll have Multi-Touch Gestures enabled and navigating your iPad will be much easier than before!
What You’ll Need
Install both WinSCP and plist Editor on your computer. Then open up WinSCP. Type in your iPad’s IP address under Host name. You can find your iPad’s IP address by going to the Settings app > Wi-Fi > tap the blue arrow next to your network.
Type in “root” under User name and then your password under Password. If you haven’t changed your password after jailbreaking, the default root password is “alpine” (by the way, you should change it now).
Once logged in, navigate to /System/Library/CoreServices/SpringBoard.app. In this directory you will find a file called K48AP.plist. Copy this file to your desktop and rename it to K48AP_backup.plist.
Now open your K48AP_backup.plist file with plistEditor. Insert the following lines of code anywhere between the first <dict> tags (lines 6 to 85). This should go without saying, but be sure to not insert them between an existing <key></key> or its true/false value.
Save this file as K48AP.plist to your desktop.
Go back to WinSCP and copy your new K48AP.plist file back to /System/Library/CoreServices/SpringBoard.app. Click Yes when WinSCP asks you to overwrite the file.
Restart your iPad and go to the Settings app. Under General you should see a switch for Multitasking Gestures and an explanation beneath it.
Yep, that’s really all it takes. It makes you wonder why Apple hasn’t enabled this feature for iPad 1 users. It’s obviously not a hardware constraint. Maybe they’re just looking for another feature to add to the iPad 2?
What do you think of Apple’s restraint on Multi-Touch Gestures for iPad 1 users? Do you think they’ll enable it in a future update? Let us know in the comments below!