iPad text editing concept comes to life thanks to this jailbreak tweak

By , May 4, 2012

When Cody posted about Daniel Hooper’s iPad keyboard demo, we had no idea that it would be as popular as it has turned out to be. Thousands of retweets later, the public has spoken out against how terrible the iPad’s editing situation is. I think John Gruber summed it up best when he noted that the iPad was a great for typing, but poor for editing.

The iPad keyboard demo video was created with the hopes that Apple would respond and implement something similar in the upcoming version of iOS. There’s even instructions included on the video for submitting a bug report to Apple.

Well, Apple may not listen, but someone else did. Indeed, the jailbreak community has responded in a big way. Introducing SwipeSelection — a usable realization of the original iPad concept video…

Blogging has giving me the privilege to rub shoulders with all sorts of talented people in this industry, including various App Store and Cydia developers. Perhaps none are as quick on the draw to turn an idea into a reality as developer, Kyle Howells.

When I created my iPad Multitasking concept video, it was none other than Kyle who approached me with a possible solution. About 10 minutes later I had a working mockup. This guy has some immense talent, and the speed to go along with it.

Just like before, Howells has created a jailbreak tweak for jailbroken iPads that imitates the original demo video to a tee. There’s precision one-finger editing, faster two finger editing, and selection capability by means of tapping the shift key prior to dragging a finger. It works pretty much exactly like you saw in Hooper’s video.

But it’s one thing to see a demo video, and a whole another thing to actually use a workable version of said concept. Let me tell you, this is what Apple needs to implement in iOS 6. It works extremely well, so much so, that I was totally used to it within minutes. SwipeSelection feels incredibly native, and perfectly natural.

Even better is the fact that Howells isn’t seeking to make any profit off of his concept realization. He plans to submit it to Cydia tomorrow, and will offer it free of charge to the jailbroken masses.

If you do any sort of writing on your iPad, you need SwipeSelection. After using it, your hatred for Apple’s gimped editing functionality will mutate into complete and utter disdain. You’ve been fairly warned.

Update: I’ve tried SwipeSelection on my iPhone, and it works there as well! The only issue is that there isn’t a shift key on the right side of the keyboard like there is on the iPad, so selecting text works better from left to right instead of from right to left. The single finger, and two finger drags work exactly like they do on the iPad, which makes text editing so much more intuitive.

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  • http://twitter.com/yesilovetech Technology = Sexy

    Make this for iPhone! There is something like it but its not like this!

    • http://twitter.com/MohamedHassabo1 Mohamed Hassabo

      Just incase you didnt see the update:
      He said he tried it on iPhone and it works perfectly! 😀

      • http://twitter.com/yesilovetech Technology = Sexy

        Just installed and it’s very impressive. Thank you iKy1e!

      • http://twitter.com/MohamedHassabo1 Mohamed Hassabo

        Lovin it too 😀

  • http://twitter.com/RECON1_ [RΞCØИ1]

    Awesome tweak. Lol at 1:51 you wrote “Where can yet..” I can’t really text and talk either.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steven-Cannan/100000630162509 Steven Cannan

    The price is =fire! Lol

  • Eric Morgan

    This is terrific. But to call editing on the iPad terrible? Please. It was revolutionary. Tap the screen at the word you want to edit? Amazing. The pause before the magnifier comes up is a little annoying, but terrible? Nice not to have to get off the keyboard. And selecting is amazing. But again. Terrible. Unreal.

    • http://www.youtube.com/myjailbreakmovies/ Jeff Benjamin

      Editing (moving the cursor, selecting text, etc) is /incredibly/ tedious in my opinion. I don’t think it was revolutionary at all. If anything, it’s a glaring weakness. This is the main reason I stick to a Bluetooth keyboard when I type on the iPad.

      • Kok Hean

        If Apple does implement something similar to this (which they will obviously do later :P), will you switch back to the on-screen keyboard?

      • Kok Hean

        If Apple does implement something similar to this (which they will obviously do later :P), will you switch back to the on-screen keyboard?

      • Kok Hean

        If Apple does implement something similar to this (which they will obviously do later :P), will you switch back to the on-screen keyboard?

      • http://twitter.com/Rirath Rirath

        Personally I just can’t get my hands comfortable on the iPad keyboard. The iPhone fits between my thumbs nicely, but the iPad is too big for phone-style inputting and just doesn’t feel quite like a PC keyboard either. Editing issues aside, it’s not ideal for me, even with the split ability.

        This will certainly help for editing, though.

      • http://twitter.com/southcackalack Lemerio P.

        Does this tweak work with KBshortcuts still enabled? I’d really like to use the two enabled at the same time. Due to the the fact that KBshorcuts allows you to create custom shortcuts.

      • http://twitter.com/GuyBey0ndC00L eDDie

        Apple won’t add this tweak simply because they didn’t patent it first. I concept / tweak in so hot. I needs to start giving people more opinions.

      • Anonymous

        I agree Jeff editing stuff via the iPad can become frustrating at times. I do not know how many times I have tried to poosition the cursor to the right of a mistyped word only to get frustrated and delete the entire sentence.

  • http://twitter.com/CrazyBraulz Whohasa Naim Naudays

    Maybe for the iPhone if the P button is held the selection can be done like the iPad’s shift key. It’s an idea that I think would work.

  • Anonymous

    And Apple wouldn’t have to remove their existing system to implement it in iOS 6, so they don’t have too many reasons left to say no 😛

  • Anonymous

    And Apple wouldn’t have to remove their existing system to implement it in iOS 6, so they don’t have too many reasons left to say no 😛

  • http://twitter.com/Rirath Rirath

    My question when I read the headline was “Great! Now how much are you gonna sock me for it?” Free you say? Awesome. Thanks Kyle!

    Still looking forward to a public version of Kyle’s multitasking proof-of-concept.

  • http://twitter.com/Rirath Rirath

    My question when I read the headline was “Great! Now how much are you gonna sock me for it?” Free you say? Awesome. Thanks Kyle!

    Still looking forward to a public version of Kyle’s multitasking proof-of-concept.

  • http://twitter.com/notoriousTEG tim

    I am that excited for this. apple should definitely implement this in ios6..

  • http://twitter.com/justinetobi Justine Tobi Dayao

    Make a video for the iphone too! :)

  • http://twitter.com/justinetobi Justine Tobi Dayao

    Make a video for the iphone too! :)

  • Anonymous

    Will it be compatible with KBShortcuts?

    • http://twitter.com/southcackalack Lemerio P.

      Exactly what I asked. Would be nice…

      • Anonymous

        It isn’t. I sent an email to the developer asking to add compatibility. I hope he does. I can’t live without KBShortcuts.

  • Josh Marell

    Does it play well with SwipeShiftCaret, if they work in concert, it will be a great harmony, or better yet, one should incorporate the other. It seems this tweak is well suited to include the SwipeShiftCaret functionality.

    • Brad Verebay

      Yes they don’t seem to get in the way of each other. SwipeShiftCaret only works when you swipe in the text entry space, so it’s fine.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Alex-Allemand/100003615696175 Alex Allemand

    Horrible for the iPad 3 users …!!!! Can’t Walt anymore

  • http://twitter.com/Mallouk_ Mallouk Malek

    wooooooooooooow…. wiling to test it soon on my iphone! i always wished for such tweak

  • http://twitter.com/ExWoW MiKey

    Yeeeees! I love it!
    About time that someone came up with something like that!
    Thanks Jeff

  • Anonymous

    Awesome! Will it work with the split keyboard? Now, jeff, get those wonderful hackers to release my new iPad from its prison! This time if they manage to jailbreak 5.1 for A5x I will probably donate money too 😀

  • http://www.facebook.com/amka93 Mike Olayinka

    It cool thx Jeff

  • Dan

    sweet, will get this

  • http://twitter.com/DannyWR88 Danny Waugh

    Does it work up and down as well as side to side?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1291155883 Rafael Encarnacion

    In America!

  • Dan

    Weird, not seeing this in cydia on any of my devices

  • benjamin sedo

    When you corrected “free”, it took you quite some time, you overshot etc. This could be fixed by having cursor movement follow an acceleration curve: slow movement maps 1:1 between finger and cursor, while faster movement will move the cursor 2:1 or even 5:1. If you choose a good curve, placing a cursor is much faster, and no overshooting.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks, I’ll try adding that in an update. It currently has some speed control (1 finger or 2 fingers) like the demo video. But this enhancement would be a good addition.

      • Anonymous

        I agree. I would even go to suggest the speed control would solely be based on the acceleration curve benjamen mentioned, much like a mouse behaves. And then have the 2-finger swipe select text (instead of holding shift while you swipe). That would make selecting text even easier, and would allow for one-handeds operation.

        Another suggestion that I think would be great to have is to allow up/down swipe to move the cursor up/down, emulating the keyboard arrow keys (that many, myself included, wish are present on the iPad).

        Thanks Kyle for the tweak. And thanks Daniel for the concept. Editing text on the iPad is no longer as tediously annoying as it was. And if you’re able to implement the above mentioned suggestions (acceleration curve, 2-finger swipe select, and virtual arrows), I think this great tweak will be even more amazing. Cheers.

  • http://twitter.com/Nabilsnas Nabil A Swileh

    I can’t find it in any source.

    • http://twitter.com/GBF_Gabriel Gabriel Borges®

      Same here, anyone know when it gonna be out?

    • Anonymous

      kind find it at all

  • Anonymous

    okay this and quasar are the best

    • Dan

      quasar sucks till they fix the upside down bug

      • Anonymous

        its fixed in the new 1.0.4 version out now

  • Ankit Sharma

    I think apple should incorporate this into its future OS updates :). can be a big help for ppl who use ipad all the time..

  • http://twitter.com/sebastiendeb sebastien debaenst

    i can’t find it can sombody help me please

  • Anonymous

    GREAT great GREAT feature. Now All that is left is auto word correction with more Than one language. I use Danish spelling correction and each time I write a word in english it get corrected to a similat (should be similar) Danish word and that stinks. You see most of the misspelling here is due to the crappy Apple spelling function.

  • http://twitter.com/Infusionflank Terence Ng

    Tried it but does not work together with KBshortcut. Going to uninstall now, if only its compatible with KBshortcut will be GREAT!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/christian.tavares.77 Christian Tavares

    On portuguese, the accentuation its not working. Any tip?

  • http://www.facebook.com/chuangsam Sam Chuang

    This tweak is awesome ! But there are no SHIFT key on some keyboards, could you change text selection function to SPACE key? press SPACE key and swipe to Left / Right to do text selection will solve this problem and more convenient for iPhone use : )
    Another problem is that I can’t slide finger on EARTH key to switch keyboards anymore.

  • Anonymous

    It’s a truly useful tweak. I only put a few tweaks on my phone and I’m thinking this one will make the cut. Only real problem is the inability to scroll through the emoji keyboard. The lack of a right hand shift key isn’t that much of a dealbreaker, though some sort of solution to that would be welcome. I think with the necessary updates this tweak will be a real winner

    • Anonymous

      While posting this I realized the tweak doesn’t work in this comment box. That’s…unfortunate. I guess it’s just workin in native iOS text fields for now?

      • David Villamizar

        it doesn’t work in pages D=
        what’s the deal with improving the iOS editing capabilities if they don’t work on the most powerful word processor?

      • Anonymous

        Yeah. I am a heavy Pages user and this app doesn’t work in it. I wish Apple rectify this in their next updates.

  • Anonymous

    3,9 KB.

    The minimalism of jailbreak tweaks in general is so awesome!

  • http://www.facebook.com/willians.thomaz Willians Thomaz da Silva

    Great tweak, congratulations. But how do I accentuate words when I use a keyboard in Portuguese, for example. Is there any solution for this?

    • Anonymous

      This is really an issue for those, like us, are using accented letters like ‘é’ or ‘ã’, for instance.

      The tweak completely disables this function on keyboard, since you have to swipe to choose from a set of special characters. SwipeSelection captures that gesture and disables the native iOS popup…

      Hope this could be addressed in future updates… Without this fix, it would be impossible for people using languages with accented letters (Portuguese, Spanish and others) to use SwipeSelection.

      Congrats, however, to Kyle Howells for this great tweak!

  • Tim Gord

    well cannot type currency other than assigned $ sign. Also shortcuts for .net or other are not working. Please fix this. The tweak is excellent. Thumbs up

  • Anonymous

    If only this was compatible with KBShortcuts.lol. Then text editing would be so ridiculously easy and awesome with the combination of SwipeSelection & KBSortcuts. Since KBShortcuts is probably the “BEST” keyboard tweak that has ever existed, I’m forced to use KBS with SwipeShiftCaret.

    KBShortcuts relies on dragging from the space-bar to the key that performs the action of your choice.

    If SwipeSelection could only not work when the space-bar is pressed it would make the combination of KBShortcuts and SwipeSelection the ultimate text editing experience. I truly do not think there would be any room for improvement. it just wouldn’t be able to get any better then that.lol.

    I emailed the Dev of SwipeSelection asking him to fix the space-bar so you can still use KBShortcuts so hopefully he fixes that! But I could never replace KBS with SwipeSelection. as standalone keyboard tweak I have found literally nothing that beats KBShotcuts. ActionMenu/ActionPlusPack come real close, but ultimately KBS is just unbeatible.IMO:/

  • Anonymous

    It does work if you pause on the space bar for second. But I would have agree with ZiiG and prefer if SwipeSelection does not work when the space bar is touched. The way I see it, we’ve got 3 rows of keys to use SwipeSelection with. Personally, I would prefer to gain that extra second I’d have to ‘pause’ on the space bar than lose functionality of SwipeSelect on that 1 button (space bar). Call me lazy, but the whole point of using shortcuts and tweaks like SwipeSelect and KBS (and I use a lot of shortcuts ) is to make things faster and more efficient. By my standards, instant space bar-swipe sure beats space bar-1-second-pause-swipe. While the one second pause is not the end of the world, it would be great if we at least have the option to disable SiwpeSelect on space bar. Cheers.

  • http://www.facebook.com/michael.jensen.71271 Michael Jensen

    But I can not get it to work with Pages :(

  • Dan

    This is great – bummer is if you have Swype (or iswipe) and this both installed, this over-rides Swype. Both nice features but if I have to pick one I’d go with swipe select i think…

  • christinezoco@ymail.com

    where do u find it? in the app store? cuz i dnt see it