How to Use a Keyboard and Mouse with Your iPhone.
Obviously, laptops and tablet computers are changing rapidly. Laptops are getting thinner and lighter, and touch screens are becoming more common. On the other hand, Apple iPads are becoming serious competitors for both Windows laptops and MacBooks Apple not only packs PC-class hardware in them, iPadOS offers a range of features designed to make the iPad a serious work tool.
In fact, the entire iOS device family is packed full of serious usability features. Not least is the ability to use a keyboard and mouse for your iPhone.
Important: Upgrade to iOS 13.4
iOS 13.4 marks a major milestone in using mice with an iOS device. In this version of Apple’s mobile operating systems, Apple has officially created a mature mouse input system for the iPad. Yes, at the time of writing, only the iPad will officially work with trackpads and mice.
iPhone still works with bluetooth mice, but the method is different from updated iPads since at least iPadOS 13.4. We’ll look at these two methods separately. Whichever of these two types of devices you are using, just update iOS to the latest version at the time of reading before doing anything else.
Which mice will work?
iPad now has support for both trackpad and mouse. Any iPad that’s compatible with at least iPadOS 13.4 will work with a mouse. You can use both wired and wireless mice when it comes to Bluetooth wireless technology.
To use a USB wired mouse with iPad, you need an adapter. If your iPad uses Lightning connectors, you’ll need a Lightning to USB adapter. If you have an iPad with a USB Type C connector, you’ll need a USB-C hub or USB-C to USB-A adapter.
The Apple Magic Keyboard with Trackpad works with the 2018 and 2020 iPad Pro models using the straight connector on these iPads.
There seems to be no real limit to the list of third party mice that will work. Although we have seen some older iPad users report that mouse performance on some sophisticated mice is not that great. A regular regular mouse should work fine. Apple touchpads like the Magic Trackpad work too.
What keyboards will work?
Apple Wireless Keyboards work with both iPad and iOS. Most USB keyboards should work fine as well. We tested the Windows USB keyboard with the 2018 iPad Pro and it worked without issue.
As mentioned above, all you have to do is use an appropriate USB adapter and plug in a wired keyboard to work. Setting up a Bluetooth keyboard to work with your iPad (or iPhone) works the same way as with any other USB device. Just go to Settings Bluetooth Devices. Make sure the Bluetooth switch is on, and then put the keyboard into Bluetooth pairing mode as instructed in the manual.
When it appears in the list of available devices, all you have to do is click on it and enter the password on your keyboard if it asks for it.
Why use a keyboard and mouse with an iPad?
A keyboard and mouse case for iPad isn’t too difficult to make. iPad is powerful enough to function like a personal computer. Its main limitation is not performance, but software support and input methods. iPadOS as it stands is a true multitasking operating system that hosts full-featured video editing, photo editing, office suite, and creative production software. I will name just a few of them.
The touchscreen interface works very well with some of these apps, but you don’t want to seriously write on the touch keyboard. We’ve been using keyboards with our iPads for years, as writers of all stripes. However, using touch to select, copy, or otherwise edit text is ergonomically difficult (literal) and too imprecise to be productive.
The ability to use a mouse and keyboard when needed turns a regular iPad into a much more serious and versatile work machine.
How to connect Mouse to iPad or iPhone
With all this important information out of the way, let’s take a look at how to actually connect a mouse to an iPad or iPhone. Remember, you can connect a USB mouse to an iPad or iPhone just like a USB keyboard. Some people also report that wireless keyboards and mice using proprietary USB receivers also work, but your experience may be different.
Connecting a mouse to an iPad running the latest version of iPadOS works just like connecting any other Bluetooth device. You don’t need to activate anything in the settings menu. Here’s a step by step process.
- First put the Bluetooth mouse into pairing mode. To find out how to do this, refer to his manual.
- Then go to Settings Bluetooth on your iPad.
- Make sure Bluetooth is turned on, then check available devices to see if your mouse is listed. If it’s on the list, click on it to connect.
- If all goes well, the mouse will work.
If you want to use your mouse with an iPhone or iPad that is too old for iPadOS 13.4, here’s what to do:
- Choose Settings Accessibility Touch.
- Click on AssistiveTouch.
- Turn on AssistiveTouch.
- Click on the pointing devices.
- Click on Bluetooth devices.
- Place your mouse in pairing mode.
- Click on it when it appears in the list.
Hopefully you now have mouse controls on your iPhone. Just keep in mind that iPadOS mouse functions are very different from simulating touch in accessibility mode. This is not intended to work as a productivity tool, but rather to enable people who cannot use a touchscreen to operate the phone.
This is it! You should now be digging into iOS like a pro. Keep in mind that Apple is actively working on this feature, which means other iOS devices may receive extended mouse support in the future. We will update the article if and when this happens.