Whether you have an iPad or iPad 2, you may be interested to know that Apple didn’t completely remove the ability to enable the extra multitouch gestures originally scheduled for inclusion in iOS 4.3. What they did is make the process unintuitive. But no worries, let me tell you how to unlock the ability to enable multitouch gestures. It’s not that difficult, and contrary to some info floating around the net, you can do it for free.
Other than an iPad (with iOS 4.3+ installed), you’ll need a Mac for this to work. That shouldn’t be hard for most of you. You’ll need a Mac because you’ll need to have XCode, which is only available for Mac. Now, you might have heard about this method already and you’re probably thinking, “Is this really worth the $5 that you’ll have to pay now that Apple charges for XCode on the Mac App Store?” Well, turns out you don’t need the latest version of XCode for this to work. Yes, you can pay the $5 for XCode 4 if you want to, but XCode 3 will suffice. Apple still serves up XCode 3 online for free. All you need to do is register at Apple’s Developer Connection site. You can do this for free too.
After you’ve registered/logged in, download XCode 3. Then, go make a sandwhich because it’s going to take a while.
Now, plug in your iPad, open up XCode, go to the organizer window and click on your iPad in the side bar under devices. On the Summary tab you’ll see a button that looks like this:
Just click “Use for Development.” At this point, XCode will ask you to log in to the iPhone Dev Center to search for iPhone Provisioning files. You likely don’t have any, but logging in with your AppleID that’s linked to the Dev Center will suffice. It might throw and error at you, but don’t worry about it. That’s it. Now, by default, multitouch gestures are enabled. If you want to double check, you can go to Settings.app and see for yourself under the General section.
So, what can you do with these multitouch gestures? I’m glad you asked. If you swipe up with four or five fingers, the multitask bar will appear. If you swipe left or right with four or five fingers you’ll switch between apps in order on the multitask bar. This is a very quick way of jumping from one app to another—probably the most useful feature here. Lastly, if you pinch with four or five fingers, you’ll be brought to the home screen.
I just tried this out and I have to recommend you do the same. These gestures are very helpful, and I feel I’ll be using them constantly from now on. In fact, I wish something similar could be accomplished on iPhone, though I’m not sure if four finger gestures are really efficient on such a small screen. But for iPad, it’s great. If I had to rate this on the Coldstone Creamery scale of perceived necessity, it would definitely be “gotta have it.”