AltKeyboard Featured

Do you find it inconvenient to have to tap the little '123' button on your iPhone’s keyboard to bring up the numerical keys? Wouldn’t it be better if you could employ a simple swipe gesture to input alternate keys?

That’s the exact thinking behind the just released AltKeyboard. It’s a collaboration between Sentry — known for Auxo — and Alan Yip — known for Tap to Widgets. In usage, AltKeyboard is a very simple tweak, but its development and design were likely significant undertakings. I say that because AltKeyboard is extremely well thought out and well designed. It provides a feature that many will find useful in their day-to-day routine.

Like we always do for tweaks of this nature, we’ve gone hands-on to provide you with a full in-depth video walkthrough. Will AltKeyboard be of benefit to your typing habits? Check inside for the full analysis…

Video walkthrough

Once you install AltKeyboard on your device, you’ll notice a new preference panel in the Settings app. For any user of Auxo, or any of the other releases designed by A Cubed, the styling of the preferences will be immediately familiar to you. AltKeyboard’s preferences are modestly laid out. Front and center is an input text box for testing out the keyboard without needing to leave the Settings app.

Alt Keyboard pref panel

Placing your cursor in the text box will reveal the AltKeyboard enabled keyboard. You’ll promptly notice a change in the way the individual keys look. Instead of one character dominating the surface of the keys, you’ll see a primary character, and an smaller alternate character nestled right above it. The great thing about AltKeyboard is that the keyboard still functions like normal — if you tap on the ‘Q’ key, you’ll input a ‘Q’, and if you tap on the ‘X’ key, you’ll input an ‘X’.

AltKeyboard Prefernces

The difference happens when you flick up on one of the keys. Flicking up on a particular key will cause the alternate character to be inputted instead of the primary character, and this applies to nearly all of the keys available on the keyboard. If we take the example we referenced above, a flick up on the ‘Q’ key will input a '1' and a flick up on the ‘X’ key will input a ‘,’.

The benefits of using this method for inputting alternate characters is speed. Instead of having to tap the '123' key to input often used characters — commas, periods, exclamation points, and numbers — all it takes is a simple flick gesture. This allows you to save time, because it means that you can maintain your typing flow without switching between keyboards.

Alt Keyboard alternate symbols

Of course, I did find that it takes some time to get used to this new fangled method of typing. We’ve been typing using the same keyboard since 2007, and it’s hard to break old habits programmed into muscle memory. With that in mind, I recommend that you at least give yourself a few days to let the new typing method settle in. It took me three days to break my habit of tapping on the '123' key before I was totally used to typing and flicking to insert alternate characters.

If you’re not totally into the idea of using flick gestures for inputting alternate characters, or you find that you’re often accidentally inputting alternate characters instead of primary ones, then there is an option for you. Subtly present in the tweaks’ preferences, is a link that allows you to alternate to a more deliberate swipe up gesture. The swipe up gesture makes it less likely that you’ll input an alternate key by mistake.

AltKeyboard Slide up Shifted

To go along with the alternative gesture style, there’s also an alternative input method. The second link found in the tweaks preferences allows you to switch between alternate key input and shifted key input. The shifted key input ditches the alternate keys found on the first page of the main keyboard, and allows you to employ the flick or swipe up gesture to input shifted characters instead. Personally I find that the default setup — the flick up gestures mated with the alternate key — to be the best way to get the most out of this tweak.

Alt Keyboard creators

AltKeyboard is available right now on Cydia’s BigBoss repo for $0.99. If you’re not fully convinced about this tweak’s usefulness, then I recommend you watch the video embedded above to see it in action. If you’re someone who does a lot of typing on your mobile device, then it’s a no brainer; AltKeyboard can help you become more productive.

  • Tom Canuck

    Sounds amazing. Getting this _now_

  • unabatedshagie

    Does this work with SwipeSelection?

    • Jeff

      Yes.

      • Tomas Suarez

        it does but you have to swipe(flick) up perfectly because if you go slightly to the side it wont input the symbol y you want

    • Shay Shtern

      yes it is.

  • Lorenzo De Linares

    I could see that you use and iPod, but how do you put the signal bars?

  • weztimonial

    Love their tweaks

  • Ricky

    Usefull. Easy when putting my password #oops

    • RarestName

      So your password is oops?

      • Ricky

        No its like i unpurposely tell hints about my password

      • RarestName

        I know, it was a joke.

  • RarestName

    It’s funny because I just uninstalled TouchPal keyboard. I was like “someone should make a tweak like this” and I saw the keyboard in one of Jeff’s videos.

    • ℤ̵̪͊α̵̢͆ḉ̴̢̒Ħ̸͕̒α̸̺̌ḉ̵̭̆к̶̫͠

      lol I love this swipe keyboard tweak

  • Osama Muhammed

    Apple should hire Sentry

    • Gustavo Adolfo Mirabal

      Although he has proven himself to be a good developer, one succesfull tweak (Auxo) doesnt make him an Apple worthy God. There are so many developers out there sisnce the begining of Jailbreak like Ryan Petrich who deserves more credit. haters gonna hate…

      • RarestName

        Truly a hater. Sentry is an interface designer, not a developer.

      • Gustavo Adolfo Mirabal

        edited the “skill” now shows interface designer. So you think that one successful achievement makes one person really a genius?

      • RarestName

        I didn’t say that. Also, he doesn’t only have one successful achievement. Google a little.

      • Gustavo Adolfo Mirabal

        Dont get me wrong. When i say succesful is because AUXO is his biggest achievment. The other ones are just regular. Luna is a Joke. Auxo is for Sentry what Mr jones is for Counting Crows

      • Tomas Suarez

        i’ve seen many of @SentryNC:disqus ‘s designs and concepts and i can say i like very much his still i think he could work at apple

      • Eri

        AltKeyboard is more useful than Auxo.

        I don’t undestand why Auxo is so much overestimated. I uninstalled auxo and now use Slide2Kill instead.

        The icon on Auxo switcher is small and confusing. The app preview is small too and you will never see anything worthy on that preview. And auxo is heavier than Slide2kill which does the same thing.

        Of course you have toggles on Auxo, but I prefer them on NC with a single gesture (NC Settings or BatteryDoctor Pro). Auxo toggles are not so convenient.

        Auxo on Ipad makes more sense with bigger app icons and bigger previews (as expected).

        This is my opinion, maybe others thing different!

      • Guest

        AltKeyboard is more useful than Auxo.

        I don’t undestand why Auxo is so much overestimated. I uninstalled auxo and now use Slide2Kill instead.

        The icon on Auxo switcher is small and confusing. The app preview is small too and you will never see anything worthy on that preview. And auxo is heavier than Slide2kill which does the same thing.

        Of course you have toggles on Auxo, but I prefer them on NC with a single gesture (NC Settings or BatteryDoctor Pro). Auxo toggles are not so convenient.

        Auxo on Ipad makes more sense with bigger app icons and bigger previews (as expected).

        This is my opinion, maybe others thing different!

      • Sentry

        I agree.

      • Eri

        Hi Sentry,

        I would like to see another keyboard tweak or maybe an update to this tweak to make easier and faster to write.

        I would like to see a tweak that when I double tap on a letter it inserts another letter or symbol.

        For example: I would like to have an “ë” when I double tap “e”, because in my language that is a frequent letter. Or a “ç” when I double click “c”. Would you please create e tweak like that? That would make typing much faster than holding “e” and sliding to “ë”.

        In less words, a tweak that works like DoubleAt (@) to input email, but extended to the whole keyboard.

        Best regards,
        Eriold

      • ridonkulous

        You can, there is a thing called “shortcut” in the keyboard setting that can do that.

      • Eri

        I have tried that, but it is not what I mean. It doesn’t work when I need an “ë” as part of a word but only alone.

  • jocastro

    messes up color keyboard 🙁

  • Ksain

    This is pretty cool, already bought it. But I hope that there will be more keyboards supported in the future, like russian.

  • TheDras

    Does it work with Czech keyboard? If it does ill might be getting it.

    • alan

      Yes, it does.

      • TheDras

        Thanks. 🙂

      • Jay Lopez

        I’ve been trying to contact you about a problem with axis why don’t you respond

      • dharmaboy

        Alan, why haven’t you added support for iPad on your “Tap to Widgets” app? It’s a great app and would love to use it on my iPad!!!

  • Gorgonphone

    have to pass cause its too error prone

  • Tom Canuck

    Fingers crossed it will eventually work with ShowCase. And also work proper with Color keyboard. Doesn’t work for the device passcode either (lock screen) :

    nice initial launch though.

    • quiotgrrl

      The developer of ShowCase said it would be updated to work with this. 🙂

      • Tom Canuck

        Wonderful news. 😀 thank you for reporting in

  • Curt

    I guess it’s safe to assume that Octopus keyboard won’t play nice with this.

  • Jem Roxas

    Is it compatible with color keyboard? 😀

    • Tom Canuck

      Kinda. The letters are perma black, so you need to use a light coloured keyboard.

  • EbrahimAlForaih

    What happens when while in the “Flick Up” “Alternate Key” you do the “Shifter Key” motion?

  • Chuck Finley

    God yeah, it’s a real strain reaching over that one inch to tap the 123 button.

  • Jay Lopez

    A3 tweaks sucks they don’t respond to requests to support there tweaks don’t trust them

    • RarestName

      Don’t tweet their Twitter account because the main developer(s) don’t control that account, and therefore are unable to view and respond to your requests.

      • Jay Lopez

        How about they respon to emails or are they too good for that

      • Sentry

        My friend, no one is ‘too good’ for anything. We have a ton of emails to get through and are only a few people (me and a dev, basically). No one’s ignoring you, it’s just life gets in the way for a little while before we can get back on it (i’m travelling at the moment, for example).

      • Jay Lopez

        I appreciate you have a life and I REALLY appreciate your response here a simple response to my several emails asking me to be patient so I don’t feel like you were just ignoring me was all I needed

      • lu75

        Hi Sentry, this occurs only with “Flick up” option: “if I put my finger on “o” and hold for a second for the characters to come up and drag my thumb straight to the left (covering the center of the letters), then it will not select the letter. However, if I move my finger down to just under the letters, it selects fine. I do not have this issue without the keyboard.” I found this post in another blog, it’s the same issue I encountered using this amazing tweak. Only the first line of keys is affected. L

  • Shiios Avila

    Looks sexy. Is it compatible with colorkeyboard? Or swipeselection?

    • Rey Mata

      It technically works with colorkeyboard but the letters on the keyboard will not display correctly.

    • nope, sorry

  • Not even funny how much time this saves. What I did find out was it completely ruins your ColorKeyboard if you use keyboard themes.

    • RarestName

      I’ve purchased ColorKeyboard, and only to be disappointed a few minutes later because it messes up the Chinese keyboard. And no, the developer doesn’t respond to emails.

      $1.99 (S$2.61) wasted.

  • MavenMike

    I’ve got octopus keyboard installed. Do you think “AltKeyboard” will conflict this tweak?

    • RarestName

      Yes.

    • bloodshed

      sure it will..i just removed octopusKB, installed this.
      sadly octopus has lots of bugs and not stable at all on my 4s.

    • FasiYoo

      I use octopus keyboard a lot. Is it possible Dev to make the swipe for octo as an upward swipe and for altkeyboard as a downward swipe?

      • kokeropie

        +1 and we can disable the down swipe for plural in Octopus Keyboard setting

  • Jade Starr™

    TBH since using this new keyboard I’ve noticed my keystrokes are landing better overall. Works with Keylords and swipeselection no problem. Great tweak! I really hope Apple start paying attention to their outdated keyboard and implement something like this.

  • Sachka

    Just awesome! together with swipeselection it beats adroid’s swiftkey! Finally!

    • RarestName

      They’re two totally different concepts…

  • Bobdole

    Would be nice to add some customizability, for when you write in another language, where they use letters like “é” or “ô” like in french for example, because the way ios handle that kind of letters is just a pain…

  • andyr354

    Best $.99 I’ve spent in a long time! Love it.

  • sadaN

    They should stop making new tweaks and make sure they improve their existing ones.

    Like Velox for example, organized people tend to have all their apps into folders, making it useless because it doesn’t work with apps within folders.

    They’ve already promised this, but it doesn’t look like they are doing anything to change this.

    Another thing was Auxo, they promised it would be available for iPad pretty soon, you know the rest.

    • Tomas Suarez

      Velox is from an entirely diferent grupo of developers, is the only tweak they have (that i know of) so i asume they are working in improving it.

      About Auxo @SentryNC:disqus announced today that Auxo for ipad is coming the 6th of June. You must remember that Sentry is a designer not a programmer he thats with developers and ask them to makes his concepts a reality! All his tweaks (Auxo, Axis, Luna and Altkeyboard) where design long before they where developed

      • sadaN

        They have my apology. Thanks for the info.

  • Al

    And again… iPad gets no love 🙁

    • alan

      Working on it 🙂

      • Al

        Thanks. Looking forward to it…

    • Damian W

      I wish iPad was the primary device or first choice for cydia tweaks development. It is just a huge screen where developers could show off their ideas and skills to impress the community. Instead we getting bunch of tweak on tiny iPhone screens.

  • Bjørn Holm

    Is this for the English keyboard only? Or does it support other languages such as Danish?
    Someone confirmed this working for the Czech, but not for all languages in general.

  • Diego Gastón Milano

    This is one of those reasons why I love to jailbreak my iDevice and support developers/designers/etc by paying for their efforts. Good job guys out there, NICE job!
    Please thumbs up this message so everyone else can show appreciation to these fellows. 🙂

    • Bought it and installed and I can say its perfectly developed- very well done.
      Kind of as expected (it must be a feature of all A3 tweaks), this will take me a lot of time to get used to it; I am SO used to tapping on the 123 key and knowing the exact position of the next key that I do that unconsciously…

  • Rupinder S

    JEFF!

  • ℤ̵̪͊α̵̢͆ḉ̴̢̒Ħ̸͕̒α̸̺̌ḉ̵̭̆к̶̫͠

    I think when I get a Mac in gonna start making tweaks

  • larry

    using zephyr is a problem

  • Robert Goldberg

    Very nice. I just wish it had an option to separate shift key and alternate key from each other by the gesture used. For instance, slide up for shift key action, flick up for alternate key action.

  • Peter Ha

    Does anyone else find themselves using this tweak in the future?

  • SteveO

    Do you still get to use the mic key? Got to have voice recognition!

  • rosssimpson

    I don’t have this coming up in bigboss yet 🙁

  • nJu aRt

    It’s not compatible with QuickEmoji, as far as I see.

  • Matt Martin

    Will this ever be compatible with iOS 5.1.1?

  • mav3rick

    Jailbreak tweak like this one makes real users keep hanging on iDevices.

    And Devs. as “A Cubed” are the ones really paid for their decisions to help users. Not Cook & Co.

  • Benchmark Apps

    Cool.

  • Miklós Mándoki

    What about international keyboards?

  • Νίκος Τιτομιχελάκης

    Is it available only for US-layout keyboard or does it support otjer keyboard languages too?

  • Jhonny Lennon

    Messes up “ShowCase”, (the one that shows you in wich case you’re typing with)

  • Stephane

    I installed it and loved it. Still, i’m having issues when typing a message with the selection of my dictionaries. I have 5 dictionaries installed and when I hold and slide on the globe to select a language, it will not allow me to select the language listed on top of the menu. Has any of you experience this problem?

  • Norman Chow

    Hi, I would like to try this app, but I am having some trouble locating the website to download it. Can someone forward it to me when they get a chance. Thanks in advance.

    Norman.

  • Pablo Fernández

    Is out there something similar to this for an ios 5.1.1 device?

  • Pro fun user

    very VERY useful!!!
    COMBO of SwipeSelection ReturnDismiss Altkeyboard

  • Pro fun user

    bad cases:
    minuses:
    Work only with ENGLISH but not RUSSIAN keyboard!