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How to Use a Mouse with iPad

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Want to use a mouse with iPad? Now you can, and it’s fairly easy to setup and use. Plus the iPad and mouse experience works really great with an iPad, particularly if you have the iPad setup as a desk workstation.

This article will show you how to setup and use a wireless Bluetooth mouse with iPad, iPad Pro, iPad Air, or iPad mini.

The ability to use a mouse with iPad is one of the best features of iPadOS 13 and later, and it works to use nearly any bluetooth mouse with iPad, iPad Pro, iPad mini, or iPad Air. In other words, those are the system requirements to get this working; you’ll need a minimum of iPadOS 13 on the iPad, and a compatible Bluetooth mouse. Most Bluetooth mouses will work with iPad, for example the Logitech M535, M336, and M337, work great and are affordable. Both the Apple Magic Mouse and Magic Trackpad works with iPad as well, for those wondering.

How to Setup and Use Bluetooth Mouse with iPad

Make sure that Bluetooth is enabled on the iPad before beginning this process of setting up a mouse for use with iPad. You can turn Bluetooth ON in Settings if you have not done so already.

  1. Open the “Settings” app on iPad and make sure that Bluetooth is turned on
  2. Go to “Accessibility” settings then choose “Touch”
  3. Tap on “AssistiveTouch”
  4. Toggle the switch next to “Assistive Touch” to the ON position
  5. Now scroll down and tap on “Devices” further down in the AssistiveTouch settings screen
  6. Tap on “Bluetooth Devices”
  7. Place the Bluetooth mouse into pairing mode and wait for it to show up on the “Bluetooth Devices” screen, when it becomes visible tap on it
  8. When the Bluetooth mouse connects, tap on it in the device list and configure the button options as desired (for example, setting right-click to go Home)
  9. After the Bluetooth mouse is shown as a connected device and configured, tap or click back to “AssistiveTouch”, the mouse is now working with the iPad
  10. Scroll down to “Pointer Style” and tap on that to configure mouse cursor size, mouse cursor color, and if the mouse pointer automatically hides or not
  11. Next back at the AssistiveTouch screen, adjust the ‘Tracking Speed’ slider to determine how fast you want the mouse to move on iPad
  12. Optionally, uncheck the box for “Always Show Menu” to hide the onscreen AssistiveTouch button
  13. Exit out of Settings as usual

The mouse will move around on iPad screen just like any mouse you’re accustomed to using on Mac or PC, and you’ll find the experience works great.

The iPad Mouse Cursor

You will quickly see that the iPad mouse cursor looks like a circle with a tiny dot in the middle, it does not look like the traditional arrow pointer that most platforms use as their mouse cursor style including macOS and Windows.

Instead the cursor / pointer which looks like a circle with a dot in the center of it looks a lot like the dot reticle of an optical scope on a red or green dot sight, for those who are familiar with scopes, microscopes, telescopes, and other sighting systems.

You can change the color of the mouse pointer on iPad in the AssistiveTouch settings as was covered earlier.

Customizing the Mouse Buttons Behavior for iPad

One of the other great things about setting up iPad with a mouse is that you can set multi-button mouses to have different functions for each button.

There are tons of options available for what each button can do; Home screen, single tap, double tap, open menu, accessibility shortcut, app switcher, control center, dock, lock rotation, lock screen, screenshot, shake, activate Siri, you can even activate Siri Shortcuts and much more.

You’ll almost certainly want to assign at least one of the mouse buttons to be ‘Home’ so that you can easily return to the Home screen of the iPad from the mouse, and without having to either swipe or tap on the screen itself, or press any buttons on the iPad hardware.

There are a lot of mouse options out there, and some users may be wondering what the best iPad mouse is for them. That’s really a user preference, but many people like the various Bluetooth mouse options from Logitech, Microsoft, and Apple branded Magic Mouse. If you already have a Bluetooth mouse laying around, try it out with iPad and see how you like it.

Are you using a mouse with iPad? Do you have any particular experiences or thoughts about using iPad with a mouse? Share your thoughts, experiences, and tips with us in the comments below!

How to Type the Escape Key on iPad Keyboard

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Have you ever noticed that dedicated iPad keyboards do not have an Escape key? If so, you might be wondering how to type the Escape key on an iPad keyboard. iPads using an external keyboard, whether it’s an external Bluetooth keyboard, a Smart Keyboard, a brand like Brydge, Zagg, Logitech, or any other dedicated iPad keyboard, will often find there is no Escape ESC key at all. Sometimes there’s either nothing at all, like on iPad Pro Smart Keyboards, or on some iPad keyboards you might find a square button that when pressed will take you to the iPad Home Screen.

So, how do you type the Escape key on an iPad, iPad Air, or iPad Pro keyboard then? Despite often not having an ESC key, you can type it on most iPad keyboards, and we’ll show you several different ways that you can type Escape on iPad using a variety of options.

4 ESC Escape Key Options for iPad Keyboards

Depending on what keyboard is in use with the iPad Pro, iPad, iPad mini, or iPad Air, you have several different options for typing the Escape key. Some of these keyboard shortcut options may work in some apps but not others, and some may work with some keyboards but not others, so try each option out on your own.

Control + [ as ESC

Pressing Control and [ will achieve the ESC escape key function on many keyboard and with many apps on iPad, including with the iPad Pro Smart Keyboard, assuming the app(s) in question supports it.

Control (CTRL) and [ (Open Bracket) is not quite as easy to remember as simply pressing a hardware ESC key, but in many cases it will mimic the escape key and is therefore worth remembering, particularly if you’re using a terminal application like iSH linux shell, Prompt, vim, ssh, or anything similar.

FN + Square as ESC

If the iPad keyboard has a square shaped Home button in the upper left corner, you can use that with the FN key combined as a keyboard shortcut to function as an ESC key.

Pressing the fn function key and Home (square) button together will mimic pressing the Escape key button on most third party iPad keyboards that have the square / home button on the keyboard.

The Square / Home button is on many third party iPad keyboards, including the OMOTON Ultra-slim iPad keyboard shown here.

Using a Mac or PC Keyboard with iPad? Press ESC!

This is probably obvious, but if the keyboard you’re using with the iPad is a Mac keyboard, like the wonderful Apple Magic Keyboard, or many PC keyboards, then the hardware ESC escape key does exist in the usual spot at the upper left corner of the keyboard.

In that case, just press the ESC key to type the escape key on the Mac or PC keyboard that is connected to iPad.

Pressing a physical ESC key applies with basically any external Bluetooth keyboard that has been connected to iPad, whether a Mac keyboard and almost all generic Bluetooth keyboards for PC as well, as virtually every keyboard includes a hardware ESC escape button (unless of course it’s a MacBook Pro with Touch Bar with virtual escape key which hides and shows depending on what’s going on with the active app, but you probably wouldn’t be using that with iPad anyway so this is unlikely to apply).

Other ESC key options for iPad

Sometimes, but not always, Command + . can mimic the ESC key on apps that requires the escape key and with an external iPad keyboard. Command + Period often serves as a Cancel / ESC type of function on the Mac too, for what it’s worth.

Some third party apps have devised their own unique ESC escape key solutions for iPad as well. For example, Termius for iPad can use CONTROL ` to mimic the Escape key. Prompt and some other third party iPad apps with SSH and command line capabilities will have touch screen controls to mimic the ESC escape key too. The alternative ESC key options for third party apps depend on those individual apps, and are not always the same. The virtual onscreen iPad keyboard does not include ESC by default, unless a third party app added one in an additional function row.

Hardware ESC escape keys are wonderfully convenient things and used frequently by many computing users for many purposes, ranging from at the command line, to VIM, initiating force quit, to cancel, to many Office applications like Excel and Word, many video and photo editing apps, to myriad other functions on Mac, Windows, PC, iPad, and ChromeBook OS too, so perhaps future iPad keyboards will be graced with an ESC key (and maybe even future MacBook Pro models again too), or perhaps we’ll all be adapting to an ESC-less Apple world. Regardless, remembering the key combinations above to type the escape key on an iPad keyboard can be helpful.

This obviously focuses on iPad and the iPad keyboards without dedicated escape keys, but since some MacBook Pro Touch Bar models also don’t have ESC keys some Mac users may also have the same general question about using Escape on a Touch Bar, or, an alternative that is available specifically for Mac users is remapping Caps Lock to be the Escape key on a Mac, an option that is not available for iOS or iPad.

Do you know of another way to type the ESC or Escape key on an iPad or iPad keyboard? Do you have a particular ESC key trick for iPad that works best for your workflow? Share it with us in the comments below!