Friday, 21 October 2011

Swype updates to 3.26 – and [How To] get it on your Galaxy S II

Ah, Swype. Some swear by it, others hate it with a passion. It’s been in the news lately, what with being acquired by Nuance for over 100 million US dollars and all  and today the beta program made the jump to version 3.26. If a run-down of new features and a how-to for the you-too sound like your bag, read on after the jump.

The latest version of Swype
I’ve generally been indifferent to Swype. It's great idea with lots of polish, let down by some clumsy navigational choices and a pretty bland skin. Included with the Galaxy S and Galaxy S II as an alternative input method, I usually just freeze it with Titanium Backup to stop it running in the background. My go-to keyboard for the last year or so has been Smart Keyboard Pro, which does come highly recommended, but that’s not what brings me here today, dear reader. You see, Swype is included with certain devices, but the company also runs a handy beta access program on its site. Swype’s last update to version 3.25 significantly improved the layout, appearance, and responsiveness, as well as including a boatload of clever new features – For example, ‘swyping’ from the Swype key to the letters F and B will bring up a ‘Share on Facebook’ dialogue, while T and W will do the same for Twitter. I was quite taken with it.

Today, the Swype beta program release updated to 3.26, and bumped the keyboard up another notch. One element I’m quite taken with is the new long-press alternate symbol layout. Previously, the numbers were arranged in a numpad or Blackberry-like fashion, rather than being across the top row. As Swype themselves put it: “The Refined Key Layout brings a better overall user experience, more in line with what users expect.” This was already the case with the wonderfully-skinned version of Swype included with the Spring CDMA version of the Nexus S, so great to see it make it out to us plebs in the beta program. Additionally, Swype says, “Improved Language Control gives you access to only the languages you use.” Not to mention “Redesigned Settings & Help makes it easier than ever to control how Swype behaves, and learn how to become an advanced Swype user. Just long-press [the Swype key] to go straight to the Swype Settings window!” Well, isn’t that just blandly worded super!

What you actually need to know is that it’s more functional, and thanks to a new skin, prettier.

But what’s this, I hear you cry? You want all these snazzy new features the cool kids have been talking about, yet your superphone is stuck with a crusty old version of Swype, and there’s no immediate update on the horizon? Cry no longer, because I’m going to tell you how to remove that tired old stock version and flip the switch on hot buttery beta goodness.

We'll see about that.

-          One rooted Galaxy S II (Or other Android phone that includes Swype by default. This guide is built for the GSII, however. If you’re new to rooting, check out Murray’s great how-to here)
-          A membership in the Swype Beta program (Preferable)
-          A copy of the latest Swype .apk or Swype installer (Preferably obtained from
-          A file explorer application with root privileges (Or a black belt in ADB…in which case you probably don’t need this guide)
-          A copy of Titanium Backup (Optional)

The Recipe:

Yep, those.
Before you begin, select an input method other than Swype to be on the safe side. You can do this by long-pressing on a text input field – like the one in, say, the text messaging app – and choosing the ‘Input Method’ option from the pop-up, then any keyboard that isn’t Swype.

We’re going to need three files: Swype.apk, Swype.odex, and  Now, this will work with other phones, too, but the naming convention and location of said files may be different. There also may not be a .odex file present – if there isn’t, don’t worry. The first two will be located in /system/app, and the third in /system/lib. Take copies of all of these files, and place them on your SD card/internal storage/PC. Then either delete the originals, or rename them to something other than .apk, .odex and .so. I’m fond of simply adding .bak to the end of the file names, since they’re easy to change back in the event of a mistake – so Swype.apk.bak and so forth.
If you’re not comfortable deleting the files, you can use Titanium backup to uninstall Swype entirely – do take a copy of the data first, though. You may need to remove the file manually, though. Once you’ve accomplished the removal of the three system files, reboot. Don’t skip that step!

Next up, installing the new version. Membership in the Swype beta program is open, so you don’t have a well of excuses for not getting the latest beta from the official site, but I hear my shifty cousin Googly McGoogle might know a guy who knows a guy who has the .apk, ifyouknowhatImean. Once a Swype.apk file has been located…install it. Or install the installer, log-in with your Swype beta credentials, and download Swype with your choice of languages from within. Then it’s a simple matter of following the step-by-step directions to enable Swype – this is accomplished by heading to Settings/Language and Keyboard and placing a good hearty tick in the Swype box – and picking Swype as your active input method. Remember that step before about long-pressing on a text input field and choosing not-Swype? Do that again, but choose Swype.
This is pretty important.

So, to recap:

1.       Back up Swype.apk, Swype.odex, and from /system/app and /system/lib respectively.
2.       Delete or rename the above files.
3.       Reboot.
4.       Install the new 3.26 version of Swype
5.       Enable Swype and set it as your active input method.
6.       Question marks.
7.       Profit.

Questions? Comments? Offers of marriage? Let us know below.

Stock GSII Swype above, new Swype below.

Source: Swype