A discussion on gesture-based keyboards for any platform has got to be incomplete without mentioning the famed Swype. The app is massively popular on Android, and even enjoyed a brief period of iOS presence via Cydia. Now, however, it is not easy for iPhone owners to get a keyboard that is based on this type of slider input method. You can get your hands on third-party apps like TouchPal and Path Input, but having to type everything in a standalone app before copying it to the actual destination is never convenient. Every time an app like TouchPal is released in the App Store, users always wonder if they will ever get a tweak that integrates the gesture-based keyboard with iOS. If you have ever wanted to compose texts, notes, emails and just about anything on your iPhone using TouchPal as the default keyboard, there is now a tweak in the Cydia store that lets you do just that. In fact, this TouchPal tweak has been around in the jailbreak store for some time now, but has just shed its beta tag and works perfectly on both iOS 5 and iOS 6.
If you can read Chinese, you won’t have any trouble in configuring TouchPal, but if you can’t, a little extra effort is required. The TouchPal tweak comes with a boatload of options, and even has a SpringBoard icon of its own. The entire menu of the app is in Chinese though, so we have no clue what it is all about. Fortunately however, there is no need to tinker with any of that in order to set TouchPal up as your default keyboard.
TouchPal requires a reboot, rather than a respring, after you have installed it on your device. Once the iPhone is back on, there is a new TouchPal app available on your screen. Just ignore that app (don’t tinker with any of the options inside it unless you know what they say), and do the following:
- Launch the stock Settings app.
- In the ‘General’ section, navigate to the ‘Keyboard’ menu.
- You have to add a new keyboard to your device. Make your way towards the end of the list of available languages until you arrive at the options starting with ‘TouchPal’.
- Select ‘TouchPal (English)’ and exit the Settings app.
- Go to any app that uses the default iOS input (say, Notes) and bring up the keyboard.
- Hit the globe icon, and then swipe to the left across the keys. You should now see a keyboard that is similar to the one shown in the second screenshot above.
- Make sure the ‘A’ icon next to the space bar is blue. If it isn’t, just tap it once.
Now you can start swiping across the keyboard in any app to begin typing. Like the TouchPal app, the tweak displays a bar containing the words that match your gestures.
The tweak is available for free in the BigBoss repo. To download it, just search for ‘TouchPal’ in Cydia (there won’t be any autosuggestions, so just type the keyword and hit search). The required tweak is the second one that shows up in the search results, and has Chinese at the start of its name.