Keyboard alternatives like Swype and TouchPal have always been popular among the smartphone community. These replacements are associated with Android most of the time, but they have maintained a presence in some form on iOS over the past few years as well. While Apple hasn’t provided an official way to replace or make changes to iPhone’s stock keyboard, the Cydia store often comes up with ways to achieve the seemingly impossible. We have already seen other tweaks that deal with the iPhone keyboard, but it might not be too much of a bold statement to say that AltKeyboard is among the most useful keyboard-related tweaks to be released in the jailbreak store for a long time. The tweak does not change the overall method of input used by the stock keyboard in iOS. This means that AltKeyboard is not another Swype-like keyboard for the iPhone. Instead, this tweak makes a very subtle change, which is the addition of gestures to the keys. You just have to flick a key to input the corresponding symbol mapped against it, eliminating the need for repeatedly changing the keyboard view, and resulting in faster typing.
AltKeyboard shows up in its most optimal configuration automatically after its installation, but you can change this layout by heading to the menu added to the stock Settings app by the tweak. At first, you might think that the menu just offers a field for testing the keyboard, apart from credits, but there are actually a couple of other handy options available there as well, that can change the whole outlook of AltKeyboard.
The two lines of instructions written below the test field can be used to alternate between the two modes supported by the tweak, along with changing the gestures that activate these modes. When it comes to modes, AltKeyboard supports input of special characters mapped to the corresponding alphabet key. To help you get used to the new configuration, the tweak even adds an indicator of the alternative symbol on top of the alphabet or numeral. The other mode is to add a key’s ‘Shift’ (upper case) form to the same keys, which means you don’t have to worry about taking long to capitalize letters while typing.
The two gestures offered by AltKeyboard are ‘Flick Up’ and ‘Slide Up’. In our experience, the former is much more convenient to use.
AltKeyboard does take some getting used to, but since it is not taking away any of the keyboard’s existing features, this isn’t too much of an issue. You have to dish out 99 cents for the tweak, which is totally worthwhile considering the true potential offered by AltKeyboard. Head to the BigBoss repo to grab it.