How to Enable Hidden Multitouch Gestures in iOS 4.3 GM on iPhone 4

By , Mar 5, 2011

Remember when we told you about the new multitouch gestures that Apple hid in earlier developer builds of iOS 4.3? Apple has seeded the final developer GM build of iOS 4.3 before the public launch on March 11th, and the very same gestures are still “hidden” inside 4.3.

When the story first broke that there were new gestures in 4.3, the gestures were only enabled on a specific build of 4.3 that wasn’t available to the general audience of Apple develepors. In the final GM build of iOS 4.3, these hidden multitouch gestures can be enabled through a jailbreak exploit.

Let’s take a closer look…

When these new gestures were originally found in an early build of 4.3, the automatic assumption was that Apple was working on a significant redesign for the iPhone 5 to use these gestures effectively.

The iPhone already has multitouch gestures like pinch to zoom, but these unearthed gestures in 4.3 hint at the possibility of an iPhone without a physical home button.

Instead of simpler gestures for basic operations, these hidden gestures in 4.3 use four and five fingers to operate iOS’s multitasking interface and toggle the home screen.

Apple was supposedly trying to keep a tight lid on these new gestures by only including them in an internally distributed build of iOS 4.3 (probably for testing with new iPhone hardware). Awhile back, someone unearthed these gestures in the regular developer build of 4.3.

The iOS 4.3 GM build surprisingly still contains these hidden gestures. You just have to know how to find them.

Step 1

If you have the 4.3 GM and you want to see these new gestures yourself, you must first jailbreak your iPhone running the 4.3 GM. (There is a tethered jailbreak option with PwnageTool.)

Step 2

Once you’ve jailbroken the 4.3 GM, use your favorite OpenSSH client to navigate to the following directory on your iPhone: System>Library>CoreServices>SpringBoard.app>N90.plist

Step 3

Edit the N90.plist file with your plist editor of choice and add the following Boolean statement: “multitasking-gestures.” Make sure to set its value to “True.”

Step 4

Save what you’ve edited in the plist and reboot your iPhone.

That’s it! A new pane should now be revealed in the Settings app. It will look like this:

From here, your new gestures can be activated with a simple switch to “on.” Once enabled, you can now use four-five fingers to active the home screen while in an app, swipe up to reveal the multitasking bar, and swipe left or right between open apps.

Here’s a video of these new gestures in action from when they were first uncovered in the earlier 4.3 build:

You may still be wondering why these multitouch gestures are apart of iOS 4.3 in the first place. We’re not sure why they are hidden in the GM build, but it will be interesting to see if they can be activated with the same exploit in the public release of 4.3. We’ll have to wait to the 11th to see.

Apple is obviously working on something involving these new gestures. Our best guess is that these new gestures won’t be unveiled by Apple until the iPhone 5 comes out this summer. And they will most likely accompany a significant hardware redesign to compensate for the new multitouch actions. (It feels kind of cramped to perform a five finger swipe on the current iPhone’s screen.)

Why do you think Apple hid these multitouch gestures in iOS 4.3? Apple clearly hasn’t meant for them to be used by the public yet, but they’re there nonetheless. We’ll keep you updated as this story develops.

[via Redmond Pie]

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  • Thor

    Well now that you have alerted the Evil Empire to the fact that jailbreakers cam access them they will likely be removed from the final release 4.3.1. Nice job blowing this exploit.

    • Selcuk

      Exactly what I was thinking.

  • G

    Befor I watched the vid I was thinking ” so what , I can do this on my iPhone already”
    But after watching the vid i do like the capability . The most useful being the swipe to next app. I would use this feature but to me this is nothing to get too excited over.

  • Eric

    I agree Thor. All theybhad to do was wait till the 11th then post this and it may have still been there. Now? Gone. Idiot.

    • d

      Um, turns out the final version is the same as the GM; same build, same file number. Who’s the idiot now?

  • Matt P

    Getting iPhone 5 into dfu mode might be a pain.

  • http://www.iphonedownloadblog.com Alex

    It pays to be informed before you call out the actions of other. This exploit had already leaked online up to 24 hours before it was posted on iDB.

    We didn’t break the story. (Hence the “via…” at the end of the post.)

  • Pedant

    They need the multi-finger gestures because the home button is one of the last physical movements on the device, and as such is subject to physical wear. As people use multi-tasking more and more, they are going to wear out those switches, and they will be subject to warranty repair, being “failure during normal use”.

  • Daniel

    I’d say these gestures are more suitable for the iPad.

  • Lerimer

    I’ll most likely be using the swipe up gesture. Most times I double click my iPhone 4 I end up at the home screen or at the spotlight. So then I find myself not using the multitask as much because of this.

  • Francis

    Tested it on an iphone 4 and does not work, you have to restore again the full firmware :(

  • tenrdrmer

    HaHa They are available in the ipad build to developers. It can be enabled using xcode. They are ipad gestures. 4 or 5 finger gestures on the iphone LOL I can barely fit my 4 fingers on the screen much less have any clue whats going on. this is ipad stuff not iphone 5

  • david in doha

    It does not work on iphone 4. 4.3.1
    Any ideas why not?