How To: Enable iOS 5′s Multi-Touch Gestures On Your iPad


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.

Read This

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/ 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/ 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!

Patrick is the founder and editor-in-chief of pinglio. He works as a system administrator and studied at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He currently lives in Chicago with his girlfriend and two dogs.
  • lala

    Is it possible to enable the multi touch gesture on my ipad 1 with ios5 using ibackupbot? 

    • Patrick Bisch

      I’ve never used iBackupBot, but if it allows you to navigate the filesystem, then I don’t see why not.

      • lala

        I was just scared that it wont work then i will be stuck with it…

  • Guest

    Just tried in iBackupBot and no luck…

  • jon

    Absurd that there’s no native multitouch support for iPad 1 users on iOS 5. this wasn’t even on my radar when I updated. I used them all the time. 
    It’s frustrating as I’d really prefer not to jailbreak my iPad…

  • Anonymous

    This makes me so angry! That was the feature I was looking forward to the most in iOS5. Now they have hobbled the iPAD1, preventing this feature from being used. And for what? Are they not selling enough iPAD2′s already?

    • Seth

      See this right here is the exact reason of why I purchased an android phone over the iPhone 4 when it was released. Don’t get me wrong I love both as I’m a gadget lover and not a fanboy, but it’s these marketing strategys (strong arm tactics) that I hate about apple. There is no reason for the ipad1 to not be able to do this without jail breaking except for apple wants to force you to upgrade for features you should be able to use.

      Just like when the 3GS dropped with voice control and the regular iPhone 3 users were left wondering why, and now the 4gs users will get Siri when there is no reason for the iPhone 4 users to not get it enabled. Just there damn way of getting us to upgrade and I’m tired of it.

      • Ali

        It’s really furstrating. I have used it for about 4 monthes now and didn’t know that iOS 5 will remove it. I, too, don’t wanna jailbreak my iPad just for this reason, but is there a jailbreak for iOS yet?

      • MSiqueira

        Oh, and now you’re so much happier with your “open” android handset.

        From now on, when an upgraded version of the OS become available, you’ll be only dependant of three parts so you could upgrade your device: Google, your handset’s manufacturer AND your carrier… nice.

        Android is an utter piece of crap, and having had more than one year experiencing the platform on three diferent devices, there’s one only thing left to compliment it: the fact that its crappiness pushed me to the iPhone, which I never regret.

        Sorry for the flame, not personal at all…
        And sorry, especially, for the english.

  • Andy

    ibackupbot no go !!!

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the guide. Will the jail braking of the iPad 1 described in one of your articles be permanent (unthetered)?

    • Patrick Bisch

      If you’re running iOS 5, there is only an untethered jailbreak right now. Both sn0wbreeze and redsn0w can jailbreak.

  • Pelé

    My god, I was using the multi gesture on my iPad 1 at 4.3.2 version. It’s ridiculous Apple remove this feature on 1st generation.

  • Dannypoorboy

    the website even says iOS5 will have multigesturing for iPad…  No clarification that you have to jailbreak it… frustrating.  Thanks for posting this!

  • Mcarmody

    Sucks…i wouldnt have uprgaded to ios5 if i new i was losing the gestures!!!

  • PCUK

    Loss of gestures is nothing more than a cynical marketing ploy by Apple to make the Ipad 1 obsolete!

  • Pingback: Uitgebreide multitouch van iOS 5 niet voor iPad 1 | Apple Mac, iPad & iPhone nieuws, workshops en tips | iCreate Magazine

  • Louis

    Works well on my ipad 1. Thanks! Jailbreak with redsn0w 0.9.9b4. tethered,

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  • Ns4ut

    you can change the variable using iFile if you had jailbreak… :)

  • Pingback: Ative os gestos multitoque no iPad 1 com iOS 5 | Blog iTouchBR

  • Ninetyninepointnine

    The process is much easier if you use iFile on the ipad 1 itself. Just use iFile to browse to the K48AP.plist file. Tap on it and you will see the Multitouch Gesture option, just turn it on, respring and that will do.

    • Ja

      Multitouch for ipad 1 is build in on ios 5.01

  • Zzplanetz

    Work well on my IPAD 1 with IOS 5.01.. thank mate..

  • Estatika

    Thanks, i made it, on ios 5.0.1 and just have to change the false value to true, the string was already there. Thanks!

  • moazaf online

    I cannot tell you how many times my ipad has been a life saver when it
    comes to keeping my 3 year old entertained at the doctor’s office,
    restaraunt, dmv, etc.  I also work at a doctor’s office and see other
    parents using it to keep boredom at bay with their children as well.  I
    mean, how long can a 5 year old copy of Highlights and a wooden bead
    maze keep their attention anyway

  • Eduardo Am Nieto

    Awesome dude! Thank You so much!