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12-21-2011, 10:40 AM #1
[Review] Add Another Row of Customizable Keys to Your iOS Keyboard!
This is an awesome jailbreak tweak at adds a useful row to your keyboard.
Are you one of the people who hates how some companies require that you make passwords with both capital letters and lowercase letters, then they also recommend that you use numbers and symbols to increase your password strength? Then maybe this jailbreak tweak will be one of the best jailbreak tweaks that you've ever used. But, it can be use for so much more than just goofy passwords. The jailbreak tweak has been dubbed iKeyWi (pronounced i-KiWi like the fruit). I thought that was pretty clever. The tweak was created by a developer known as hiraku in Cydia. As you can see from the image above, it adds a fifth row of keys to your keyboard and the best part is, you can customize those keys to have any symbol on them that you want. By default, they use the stock iOS alternative keys that you find when you tap the number and symbol button in the bottom left of the keyboard when looking at the keyboard in QWERTY view.
Astoundingly, even though it makes the keys a little smaller, it doesn't make it any more difficult to type on the iPhone. I have had no problems typing messages as I usually do even after the switch - no typos or anything. This tweak only works in portrait mode for now, but the developer has hinted that he may be adding landscape support in the near future so that users can use this feature in either orientation that they feel more comfortable with. This tweak works with iOS 5.0 or higher and doesn't require any dependencies such as WinterBoard to be installed. It also supports ColorKeyboard which changes the color of your keyboard (as the name suggests). One thing you should be aware of is that this tweak only works on QWERTY-style keyboards.
iKeyWi has no settings to configure in the Settings application, although when you install the tweak for the first time you will be greeted with a message on your SpringBoard when the keyboard pops up that looks like the one in the screenshot below:
The message in the screenshot explains how you can change the characters in the extra row of keys. You can add anything that you want - characters, emojis, words, acronyms (lol, lmao, rofl), or happy faces. While it would be more convenient to have these settings available to us in the settings Application of the iPhone, one drawback is that you absolutely must have some way to navigate through your iPhone's filesystem. This means you will either need to pay for a Cydia application - maybe find a free one or use SSH from a computer. You will need to navigate to /User/Library/Preferences/com.hiraku.ikeywi.plist and from there you will be able to view a text document that looks like the one pictured below:
In the '.plist' file, you will see two arrays. Arrays are programming variables that are meant to hold more than one value. Each array represents the top row of the keyboard - one with the shift key enabled and one with the shift key disabled. You also see within the arrays that there are characters inside of the strings. You can put any characters, emojis, words, acronyms (lol, lmao, rofl), or happy faces that you want inside of the strings. After you do that, you'll need to save the '.plist' file, drag it back into the iPhone where you found it, and then respring for it to show up how you entered it. That's all there is to it. We would still like to see this feature built into the Settings application in the future, but you have to start somewhere. You can see by the '.plist' file that the array values match the keyboard's fifth row in the keyboard at the top image of this review. I really like this tweak - well worth the money.
Editor's Rating: 4/5
I talked to hiraku via email to learn more about him and also the jailbreak tweak as a whole:
Anthony: Tell us a little about yourself.
hiraku: Hello, I’m Hiraku and I live in Taiwan (a country in East Asia). I'm currently a university student. I started coding in November of last year. In Taiwan, people use an input method called Zhuyin to type Chinese. However, the Zhuyin keyboard layout in iPhone is totally different from that in the iPad and PC. That’s why I tried to find out how to change layouts of keyboard. In fact, my major subject is Mechanical Engineering, but not Computer Science. I only learned the basis of C language for one semester, so I don’t have as much knowledge as other developers in programming. When iKeywi was in the development, I wanted to give up many times. However, after I took some rest for few days, I would get new ideas and solved the problems. Finally, thanks kennytm, who created iKeyEx 3 and wrote a lot of tutorials about keyboard specs in iOS 3, his articles gave me some clues about keyboard. I also want to say thanks to Tomky_Wang and other people who gave me suggestions in the development. My twitter account: hirakujira (tweets in Chinese and some English).
Anthony: What gave you the idea to make iKeyWi?
hiraku: Many websites require that users should use a strong password; this includes numbers or special characters. However, the native keyboard in iOS only shows letters in default view. It's inconvenient to type password when switching the keyboard view many times and this may increase the chance of a typo. That's why I developed a tweak called, "5-Row Keyboard iOS4" which is the predecessor of iKeywi. But, it wasn't enough. I received a lot of emails from people who want to customize their five-row keyboard. Therefore, I re-wrote the whole source code and added this feature. Finally, I made iKeyWi.
Anthony: What was the hardest part about making iKeyWi?
hiraku: In iOS 4.x, the structure of keyboards were same as iOS 3.x, so it's not difficult to create, "5-Row Keyboard iOS4" by a tool in iKeyEx 3 (by kennytm). But Apple changed most of the code of keyboards in iOS 5. Therefore, I had to find out all of the functions about the keyboard by myself which cost me a lot of time and made me want to give up many times.
Anthony: What are your favorite uses for iKeyWi?
hiraku: Customizing keys is definitely the most important feature in iKeywi. Now I can type my email address, website account or some special symbols by the customized keys. This feature can save my time.
Anthony: How long did it take you to make iKeyWi?
hiraku: About 2 months. I started trying to port my old keyboard tweak to iOS 5 in June. After iOS 5 was released, I realized that it's impossible to port them because the structure of keyboard is totally different. After that, I started to re-write the code. As I mentioned previously, finding and understanding the new keyboard functions in iOS 5 cost most of the time in my development.
What do you think about iKeyWi? Share in the comments.
Last edited by Anthony Bouchard; 12-21-2011 at 10:44 AM.
12-21-2011, 10:49 AM #2
Very useful tweak. Will definitely purchase once landscape and settings.app integration are completed!!
12-21-2011, 11:18 AM #3
$2 is kinda steep for something requiring you to have to edit the Plist manually.
12-21-2011, 11:21 AM #4
It'd be useful if they had a JB for the 4s! Lol for me anyways
12-21-2011, 12:11 PM #5
The developer has assured me that PreferenceLoader support is on its way. This means that you will be able to use the Settings application to set your keyboard keys.
The Following User Says Thank You to Anthony Bouchard For This Useful Post:
12-21-2011, 12:12 PM #6
Nevermind, I looked back over the .plist and realized I accidently deleted a "<" from the strings.
Last edited by Trishuhh; 12-21-2011 at 12:17 PM. Reason: fixed it
12-21-2011, 01:28 PM #7
12-21-2011, 02:03 PM #8
I don't want it. From the picture, it looks like the keys are smaller and I already make enough mistakes with the current keyboard, landscape or portrait.
12-21-2011, 02:15 PM #9
not seeing the microphone in mine. how is this added?
12-21-2011, 02:37 PM #10
12-21-2011, 05:47 PM #11
Does this add a customized row or can you customize every key?
12-21-2011, 06:24 PM #12
12-21-2011, 09:02 PM #13
12-22-2011, 06:34 AM #14
12-22-2011, 07:18 AM #15
12-22-2011, 09:24 AM #16
where to buy this kKeywi, Can not find in the bigboss ?