Native systemwide mouse and trackpad support available in iPadOS 13.4 is surprisingly a game-changing way to interact with your iPad.
With the introduction of iPadOS 13, Apple enabled the use of mice for accessibility-only features, but it didn't work the way that most expected it would. Enter iPadOS 13.4: Apple has surprised us by adding full mouse and trackpad support that can be used systemwide with any mouse or trackpad, and Apple is even producing its own Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro that includes a built-in trackpad.
I'll walk you through how to add a mouse or trackpad to your iPad running iOS 13.4 and how you can use it to perform everyday tasks.
SEE: Apple iPad Pro 2020: Cheat sheet (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
Types of pointing devices iPadOS 13.4 supports
With iPadOS 13.4, any wired or wireless trackpad or mouse is supported. Previously, mice for iOS devices needed to be supported by the system, but it appears that Apple has removed this limitation with the new update, and any mouse or trackpad that can be used inside of macOS can also be used in iPadOS.
For this tutorial, I used a wired mouse connected through a USB-A to USB-C dongle and a Magic Trackpad 2 from Apple.
How to connect a mouse or trackpad in iPadOS
Ensure that your iPad is running iPadOS 13.4 or later before starting this process. If you need to upgrade, go to Settings | General | Software Update.
If you want to connect a wired mouse, you'll need a USB-A to USB-C (or Lightning) dongle to plug your mouse into your iPad--unless it already supports USB-C. Plugging in the dongle to the Lightning or USB-C port on your iPad, then plugging in your mouse will automatically register it, and you can use it from there.
If you have a wireless mouse or trackpad that you wish to pair, go to Settings | Bluetooth. Put your mouse or trackpad into pairing mode, and tap it under the Other Devices section when it appears. Once this pairing process is complete and the device is showing under the My Devices section as connected, it can be used immediately.
SEE: Top 10 iPad tips (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
How to change mouse and trackpad settings in iPadOS
Some of the settings you can change for the mouse or trackpad are:
- Tracking Speed
- Natural Scrolling
- Tap to Click
- Two Finger Secondary Click (or Right-Click on Mouse)
These settings can be accessed when the tracking device is paired by navigating to Settings | Trackpad | Mouse (Figure A).
Gestures to navigate iOS
A small round dot appears on the screen when moving the mouse; this finger-like cursor turns into the shapes of buttons in toolbars and icons as you mouse over them. Single-clicking items opens them, and a right-click option is available in the settings that allows you to open contextual menu items that would traditionally be shown when tapping and holding on the screen or single-tapping on selected text.
There are additional gestures you will want to get accustomed to as well:
- Three-finger swipe to right or left: Navigates between apps in the Multitasking App Switcher
- Three-finger swipe up and hold: Shows the Multitasking App Switcher
- Two-finger swipe up and down: Scrolls through content in a scrollable view
- One-finger drag to bottom of the screen: Shows the Dock
- One-finger drag to bottom and keep dragging (on Touch ID devices): Goes to the Home Screen
- One-finger drag to the bottom and clicking on the Home line (Face ID devices): Goes to the Home Screen
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