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Switch5 v4.5

Size: 171 KB
Date: March 9, 2005 (Updated)
Type: Freeware
  • Palm Tungsten T
  • Palm OS v5.0
  • switch5.zip

Author: Mark Tamura
Email: n/a

Switch5 is a PalmOS 5 app which provides a simple way to switch between recently used applications.

Think of it as a PalmOS 5 version of SwitchHack (I''m not in any way affiliated with SwitchHack... other than being a registered user).


  • A stroke from the Home/Applications circle to the Menu circle causes the last previously used application to be launched.
  • A stroke from the Menu circle to the Home/Applications circle causes a list of the most recently used applications (maximum of ten) to appear. You then have ten seconds to tap on the application you want launched.
  • Use at your own risk. It works for me on my Zire 71 but your mileage may vary :)
  • If a menu, popup list, or dialog box is active then the list of the most recently used applications will not appear.
  • The list of the most recently used applications is not backed up during HotSync and will be cleared by a reset.
  • Switch5 will need to be manually launched (one time only) if the app was copied from an expansion card.
  • Switch5 only works for PalmOS 5.
  • Switch5 does not support apps on external memory cards. Use TealAlias pr PowerRun to support apps on external memory cards.
  • Tungsten T3 is only supported in portrait mode.
Update Description:
Version 4.5 (3/82005):
  • Added support for the Treo 5-way nav keys to scroll through the list of recent applications.
  • Added pdf documentation.
Version 4.4 (7/9/2004):
  • The list of recent apps can now be displayed in case insensitive sort order. Previously the sorting was always case sensitive. This is for apps like Pocket Tunes or Power One whose application names are not capitalized.
  • Preference panels can now be added to the favorite and ignore lists. Previously only apps could be added.
  • Switching to the previous app from a preference panel now works for non-PalmOne devices. Previously this didn't work because of the way the prefs app launches its panels.
Version 4.3 (5/28/2004):
  • Added support for the Sony "back" button. Previously only supported the four hard keys. This will not work with all apps since apps can explicitly enable the back button.
  • Added support for the Sony jog dial to scroll through the list of recent apps.
Version 4.2 (4/11/2003):
  • Changed from an application to a preference panel. Switch5 will not be visible in the launcher. Use the preferences app to set any options.
  • Added "ignore" option to permanently remove apps (up to 8) from the recent app list.
  • Added custom command toolbar buttons. Previously was using the system info buttons.
Version 4.1 (3/9/2004):
  • Added optional display of time and date on bottom left corner.
  • Adding an app to favorites list will now also adds the app to the history list.
  • Changed the list of recent app timeout to be reset when the highlighted app changes.
Version 4.0 (11/5/2003):
  • Added favorites list to permanently add apps (up to eight) to the list of recent apps.
  • Added Tungsten T3 silkscreen activation (portrait only). Uses the traditional button locations regardless of any remapping of the virtual silkscreen buttons.
  • Removed the restriction of only displaying the list of recent apps when the active form is not a menu, popup list, or dialog box. Now the list of recent apps may be displayed at almost any time.
  • Added selectable hard key activation. Note: this option may infere may with third party extensions that enhance hard key selections.
  • List of recent apps can now be navigated with the page up/page down key events. This allows one handed operation.
  • Added edit history list to erase a single item from the list of recent apps. This replaces the previous clear all history option.
  • Added display preference to optionally exclude the launcher. Previously the launcher was always excluded. This is for Tungsten T users who don't like to open the slider to get to the launcher.
  • The list of recent apps is now initialized to the favorites list at soft reset.
  • Added reset button in the edit history list to reinitialize the list of recent apps to the favorites list.
  • Get the launcher creator code from system preferences instead of using hard coded values for the various launchers.
  • Fixed a memory leak when the display size of the list of recent apps was greater than the actual size of the screen.
  • Fixed a bug where Switch5 could be repeatedly called which would eventually cause a system crash.
  • Fixed a bug where the first stroke or tap after an error dialog was ignored.
  • Removed duplicate app names from the list of recent apps. This is to support some third party expansion card shortcuts that may leave the app in RAM.
  • UI and help description changes.
Version 3.0 (10/3/2003):
  • Added command toolbar support (using the system info icons) for switch to previous and display the recent app list. This is to support devices without a silkscreen area.
  • Highlight the currently selected item in the recent app list. This makes picking from the recent app list a lot easier.
  • Use the icon application names (when available) instead of the actual database names in the recent app list. This helps when using non-English apps.
  • Added the option to pick the recent app list font. The default font may be too thin/small on some devices.
  • Added support for TealScript. This will hopefully fix the Fatal Alerts a few users are also experiencing with different third party extensions.
  • Enlarged the silkscreen button coordinates for Tungsten T owners who don't like to open the slider.
  • Fixed a (minor) bug where the Graffiti shift state was not getting properly restored.
  • Use the proper line height (from the system) in the recent app list.
  • Removed ZLauncher from the recent app list
Version 2.0 (9/2/2003):
  • Recent app list no longer erases the entire screen but is drawn on top of the existing screen.
  • Added preferences form with checkboxes to disable each stroke and an option to sort the recent app list alphabetically or by MRU (most recently used) or LRU (least recently used).
  • Added clear history to the options menu.
  • Added support for 160x240 and 320x480 displays and different silkscreen layouts.
  • Enabled hard buttons to bypass the recent app list.
  • Removed creator codes from database that embed them as the last four characters of the database name.
  • Changed the recent apps list to save and restore the old window bits in an offscreen window instead of redrawing the entire screen. This gets rid of the screen blinking and helps some apps that do not properly redraw their forms.
  • Added support for dual applications, menu and favorite silkscreen areas. This is for devices that have multiple silkscreen buttons while using soft Graffiti.


***** [Aug 24, 2007] by sweller
Works perfectly on my low-end TE2. THANKS!!!

***** [Jan 7, 2007] by superb
Best App ever!

**** [Nov 27, 2006] by mabs
I would love it if it could use the keyboard on my Treo. Otherwise, great app, no major isues, but since I haven't given up a hardware key, I haven't used it a lot. The hardware keys on the Treo are a rare comodity since there really is only two available to the user (other two are the phone green and red keys).

**** [Jun 4, 2006] by Stefan
It's a wonderful help, but on my TREO 650 I don't like to use one of the Hardkeys 1 to 4. I like to use the Side or AppLaunch (Home) key, by pressing shortly to see the recent apps or switch to previous. The 'B' does not work. Any plans for future versions???

**** [Nov 8, 2005] by Palmdoc
Great freebie. Somehow Prefs doesn't show up in the list of MRU, and it would be fantastic if Mark could also support the Treo650's side button.

***** [Jul 24, 2005] by Zire fan
This became a favorite app within 5 minutes after I installed it. Seems stable so far, even with a lot of other stuff installed on my Zire 21.

***** [Jul 21, 2005] by tc
Endlich ein super Programm, dass auch mit dem virtuellen Grafittifeld funktioniert. Eine echte Erweiterung meines einfachen OS5! NUr leider nicht in deutsch

***** [Jun 4, 2005] by Ben Weston
When I went to OS 5 I really missed my hacks and the one I missed most was Switch Hack. As we say in the UK, proper job! Brilliant.

***** [Mar 10, 2005] by Allen
This works great on my Garmin iQue3600. It works perfectly on both the expanded entry area and on the abbreviated area (at the bottom of the screen). I agree, this is so intuitive it should be included as a standard feature on the OS.

***** [Feb 17, 2005] by Yavuz Eren
So intuitive, so necessary I would incorporate this code into the Palm OS if I had any say in the matter. Thank you Mark.

***** [Feb 15, 2005] by Warren
Really terrific! I use switch5 to easily get out of my Bible+ reader and into any other application with one stroke. Thank you very much...

***** [Nov 2, 2004] by May
Orignally, I thought that v4.4 wasn't working and I sent a bug report to the developer. Got an email back from him asking about the problem and a new emails later, realized that I made a mistake since the newer version (I originally was using v4.0) no longer was an app but was now in the Apps Pref section. Duh! But, the developer was great in stepping through the whole process and very nice. That's what I call great support! And, yeah, Switch5 works great.

***** [Oct 26, 2004] by cosmo
Very nice! Works well on my zire 31.

***** [Aug 14, 2004] by Doug Steinschneider
Works perfectly. Hope the author will someday add ability to scroll through recent app list with up-down buttons on my Treo 5 way navigator.

***** [Jun 22, 2004] by chuck
SUPER APP - What else can I say - it helps me and my NX70 HAPPY!!!!!!!!!

***** [Jun 15, 2004] by Vince
Great little app! I'm using it on my Clie TJ37 and it works great. I like that the strokes are intuitive; down=back and up=menu. One possible bug: make any selection directly from the Prefrences app drop-down menu and then tap the Applications button. Next, open Pref's again and choose Switch5 from the drop-down menu. Tap the Applications button again, and then use the "back" stroke (Applications-to-Menu"). The action will revert to the last Preferences menu item chosen before you selected Switch5. One work-around appears to be to open Preferences and select Switch5> tap Applications> open the Pref's app. a second time (defaults to Switch5)> tap Applications, then you can use the back stroke to go to Switch5. Nit-picking, I admit. Just thought you might like to know. I would like to see a selectable option to create a static Favorites list in alphabetical order just like a typical Windows Start menu. That way you can get used to knowing exactly where each menu item is if you want, rather than having recently used apps moving around in the menu. Anyway, thanks again for an extremely useful app!

***** [May 4, 2004] by Clare
I'm feeling guilty because I have been using this excellent application for a while without any feedback here. When I got my Palm, having only previously used a Windows PC, I really missed the Back button which is built in to my mouse. This replaces a Back button and much more. If you're wondering whether it would be worthwhile downloading, stop wondering and do it! Then check out Mark Tamra's other programs. They are all things which you wish Palm had built in but they never did. Thanks, Mark.

***** [May 1, 2004] by GiorGeo
I like especially how the menu can popup on the bottom-left like a "Start" menu. Very useful and never had a problem on my Zire 71. Software developers must be paying Palm not to make their PDAs more useful out of the box so they can sell software to us. Thanks for making this free and available!

***** [Apr 30, 2004] by Jan
I LOVE this application! I think I use it more than any other app on my TE and my TH55! I love the clock/date popup! Thanks Mark for developing and sharing this essential app!

***** [Apr 15, 2004] by dipnlik
Ange, Switch5 4.2 now appears in the Others section of Pref. In the previous versions, if the system locks and you reset the Palm, Switch5 stops working properly via strokes and every second time you try to switch to previous aplications it crashes the system again. But now the problem is gone, and I'm fully satisfied with this free Hi-Launcher. Congratulations, now this software is easily worth 6 stars, a must-have!

***** [Apr 13, 2004] by Ange
Version 4.1 was/is awesome. The newest version (4.2) didn't install properly on my T3. After hotsyncing, there was no way to invoke the program... it showed up in FileZ but not anywhere in my applications so I couldn't use it. I uninstalled the new version and reinstalled the previous version.

***** [Apr 12, 2004] by Happy with my T|E
Mr. Tamura, you are awesome! After my TRGpro died, I upgraded to a Tungsten|E. What a dissapointment to find none of my favorite hacks, including SwitchHack, would work on my new OS 5 unit. I often found myself stroking from Home to Screen to get back to my previous app, only to realize I was stuck that 'Non-Hackable' OS 5 . Switch5 to the rescue! Thanks again & again & again....

***** [Dec 10, 2003] by Thomas
Much of the functionality of the hacks I used on my Visor are implemented in OS5, but I was bereft without SwitchHack. I just installed and used it a few times and I am SO happy and grateful for this person to have written this great little app, and then he offers it as freeware to boot. Thanks, Mark!

***** [Oct 6, 2003] by Zire71 Owner
Great app. Works well, intuitive. Creator keeps updating and making it better! Thanks!

***** [Aug 6, 2003] by art hill
I have used switchhack (and hackmaster) for several years on my palm Vx and then my Palm 515 ... but it wouldn't work on new zire 71. I just downloaded Switch5 for my zire 71 and it works great! Thanks! I would be even happier if it could remember what record it was on in the address book when i switch back to the address book. I too wonder why palm doesn't include this functionality in their devices ... i find it extremely helpful to be able to switch between applications.

***** [Jul 24, 2003] by Phil
Wonderfull ! How Palm software didn't come to this precious hack ? So easy to use and so usefull. Coz, I'm always using 3-4 pgms, most of the time the sames... Clap Clap Clap !

***** [Jul 2, 2003] by Dennis Khaw
Excellent Program!! It works well on my Zire 71. I used to have a Palm V with Phlegm Hack (runs only on os 4 and earlier) and when I bought my Zire 71, I really missed those shortcuts. Thanks for writing a Phlegm Hack replacement for OS 5.

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