With iOS 5, Apple decided to publicly introduce the multi-touch gestures. These gestures were included in the betas of iOS 4.3, but never made it to the public release. These are 4-5 fingers gestures that allow you to perform several useful tasks such as reveal the multitasking bar, switch between applications and return to the home screen.
There’s one catch, though. These gestures are only available on the iPad 2. If you have an original iPad, even if you upgrade to iOS 5, you’re out of luck. If you don’t want to upgrade to iOS 5 yet, you can forget about it too, even on an iPad 2. So how do you get your hands on these awesome gestures despite these drawbacks? You could jailbreak, but some people might not wish to do that. What then?
Here are two methods for getting the multitasking gestures without jailbreaking, one for iOS 4.3.X (iPad 1 or 2) and one for iOS 5 (iPad 2).
Method 1: iBackupBot for iOS 4.3.X
I found this handy cheat in the iCopyBot blog. For this method you’d need to download iBackupBot (this is a paid app, but you can use the trial version if you only plan to use it for this) and a Windows machine. There is a version of iBackupBot for Mac, but I haven’t tried it since I have no machine to try it on. If you try it and it works, do tell us about it.
Start by plugging in your iPad, running iTunes, and creating a regular backup by right clicking your iPad’s name and choosing Back Up.
Once that’s done, close iTunes and run iBackupBot. The program will recognize your device (although it might call it an iPod), and will list your backups in the left window pane. Find the last backup you’ve just performed and click on it. In the right pane, sort the files by Path, and find Library/Preferences/com.apple.springboard.plist.
Double click the file to edit it. At this point, iBackupBot may remind you that this is a trial version and will prompt you to buy the full version. You’re invited to do so, of course, but for this purpose, just click Cancel and the editor will open anyway.
Inside the <dict> tag, enter the following text:
When you’re done, click the disc icon to save changes and close the editor.
In the main window, click the arrow icon to restore this backup to your iPad.
Your iPad will start to restore, which might take a while. You’ll get a handy progress bar to watch, though.
When the restore process is done, your iPad will restart. When it loads again, you will have the gestures!
Method 2: redsn0w For iOS 5
For this method, you’ll require a modified version of redsn0w which enables the multi-touch gestures. This version was modified by a member of the modmyi forum and is available in a and a . This method should be identical whether you’re on a Windows or Mac machine, but I only tried it on Windows.
Start by downloading the relevant version of redsn0w. You’ll then need to plug in your iPad, close iTunes and turn your iPad off. Do this by long-pressing the power button until the “Slide to power off” slider appears, and then slide it to turn the iPad off. Now you can run redsn0w.
In the first menu, choose “Jailbreak and install Cydia”. Don’t worry, you won’t be jailbreaking nor installing Cydia.
Make sure your iPad is plugged in and turned off, otherwise this next step will not work.
Now you need to put your iPad into DFU (Device Firmware Update) mode. You can try following the directions in redsn0w, but it’s hard to keep up with the exact timing.
If this didn’t work for you the first time, just go back and do the following actions:
- Hold the power button for 3 seconds.
- Without releasing the power button, hold the home button for 10 seconds.
- Without letting go of the home button, release the power button and keep holding the home button for another 15 seconds.
Your iPad should now be in DFU mode. If your iPad is unresponsive but nothing seems to happen in redsn0w, try unplugging your iPad and plugging it in again. redsn0w will take it from there.
After several progress bars go by, you’ll get to this screen. By default, “Install Cydia” is selected. Unselect this option and select “Enable multitasking gestures”. Then click next.
This shouldn’t take long, and after a little while your iPad will start showing white lines of text, and you’ll see this window on your computer.
That’s it. You’re done. Your iPad will reboot and when it loads again, multi-touch gestures will be on!
If you’ve used one of these methods, you can now enjoy the exciting and fun-filled multi-touch gestures! Try swiping upwards with 4 fingers to get the multitasking bar, for example. You can also pinch with 5 fingers while in any app to exit it, or swipe left and right with 4 fingers to browse between apps. These modifications should also turn on AirPlay Mirroring on iPad 1.
If you get tired of these gestures, you can turn them off in the Settings at any time, but I doubt that you will!
What do you think of multi-touch gestures? Are they worth the trouble for iPad 1 owners? Let us know in the comments!