The evasi0n jailbreak of iOS 6.x has been out for about two months now. At the outset there was an overwhelming interest and buzz from the jailbreak community. For the veterans, setting up your jailbroken iOS device is pretty straightforward. Although iPhone 5 users never had the privilege, if you had previously jailbroken an Apple device all you have to do is sign back into your Cydia account, and all your past purchases are there ready to download again. But what if you’re a newbie, or you have been out of the loop for years? Where do you go to find the new and most popular jailbroken apps to download? In the Jailbreak Corner, I will draw attention to some of my favorite jailbroken apps that I come across week to week and share my thoughts with you.
TouchPal is a new jailbreak tweak that replaces (or adds to) your stock iOS keyboard with a Swype style Android keyboard. For those of you not familiar with Swype, it is a keyboard that lets you input your characters on your keyboard without lifting your finger. It registers your input as you move and naturally pause between letters. There is some predictive magic going on in the background as well. As you are “swiping” between each letter, a bar above the input section shows the most likely words that you are attempting to input. You can either pause as you see your intended word and tap on it to select it as your entry, or you can complete the swiping action though the entirety of your word. Either way works well, and it is up to the individual to make the appropriate selection on a case by case basis.
One of the hardest parts of implementing TouchPal is finding it in the BigBoss repo in Cydia in the first place. To download, first open Cydia and type TouchPal in the search section. There you are presented with two options, both of them in Chinese. Select the second option. Don’t be alarmed by all the Chinese writing–if you’ve gotten to this point you are heading in the right direction. We are reminded that for this jailbreak tweak to work you need an one of the following– iPhone 4 / 4S/ 5 and iPod Touch 4/5 running iOS 5.x / 6.0 / or 6.1.
After installing TouchPal, all you have to do to enable it is to go to Settings–> General–> Keyboard–> Keyboards–> Add new keyboard–> TouchPal (English). It’s a good thing that’s the only time you have to go though that process. Typing it out makes it seem ridiculously buried in the settings.
Now go to any app in which you would typically enter text and click on the globe at the bottom left of the keyboard. This will scroll through all keyboards you have added on your iPhone. If TouchPal is the only other keyboard you have added it will now become the one that is selected. At this point you have to activate TouchPal by tapping on the little letter “A” next to the globe at the bottom left.
Now just swipe from letter to letter and your words will appear. It takes a little getting used to, but if you’ve come to iOS from Android, or if you’ve tried this type of keyboard in the past, it should be a pretty short learning curve. For me, the main action of swiping action was much easier than I thought it would be, and much more accurate, too. I’ve never felt like I was missing anything with iOS not having a swiping keyboard available–but I hadn’t tried one until TouchPal came out either. I can definitely see the appeal. You can fly through words pretty quickly without lifting your finger, which is especially helpful if you have larger fingers and tend to hit the wrong letter more often than not.
One other thing to note when using the TouchPal–you don’t have to swipe through your letters/words. If there are occasions when it is more appropriate to simply tap a letter or two, you can lift your finger off the screen and do that as well.
- Easy to learn
- Speeds up text entries
- Can be default keyboard
- Available in multiple languages
- Appearance is very similar to stock keyboard
- Some keys double as other input options
- Tough to master
- Does not default to capital letter at beginning of sentence
- Double space does not automatically place a (.)
- Doesn’t work with Swipe Selection text editing JB app
- Is not as polished as the App Store version
Is TouchPal going to replace your stock iOS keyboard? Maybe–it most certainly can for some. Is it still installed on my iPhone–yes, but I don’t use it everyday. I am still getting used to TouchPal. The idea of swiping, while often more efficient than my day-to-day typing, is still a little foreign to me. Will you be trying TouchPal? If so, let me know in the comments section below how it goes for you. I’m curious how many other iOS users are interested in TouchPal as their go-to keyboard.