Apple Rumored to Add USB Mouse Support to iPad Pro as Accessibility Feature

On the latest episode of the Connected podcast on Relay FM, MacStories editor-in-chief Federico Viticci suggested that USB mouse support could eventually be coming to the iPad Pro as an accessibility feature.


"What I heard is without adapters, you will be able to use any USB mouse on your iPad, but as an accessibility device," said Viticci. "The ‌iPad Pro‌ has a USB-C port, so just plug in a USB mouse and if you have physical impairments, if you have any other kinds of motor impairments, just use a USB mouse in accessibility mode."

It has long been possible to use a compatible adaptive accessory like a joystick or trackball with Apple's accessibility feature AssistiveTouch to control an iPhone, ‌iPad‌, or iPod touch, but USB mouse support would seemingly eliminate the need for any specialized hardware or adapters.

Viticci cautions this is something he "heard months ago" and he isn't sure "if it'll happen," but as noted by iDownloadBlog, well-known developer Steve Troughton-Smith tweeted that "as far as I'm aware, that is indeed in the works."


As noted by Viticci, this wouldn't be the first time Apple enables a feature "under the catch-all umbrella of accessibility." Any user would presumably be able to toggle on USB mouse support in the Settings app, with Troughton-Smith adding that "I feel like every pro user will turn that on, day one."

In a follow-up tweet, Troughton-Smith speculated that iOS could perhaps have "a small circle or dot" for a cursor rather than a traditional pointer, but the exact implementation of mouse support if any remains to be seen.

No specific timeframe has been provided for USB mouse support on the ‌iPad‌, but it could presumably be added as early as iOS 13, which is expected to be unveiled at Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference in June. The software update should be publicly released in September alongside new iPhones.

Listen to Connected on Relay FM. Viticci's remarks about the potential for USB mouse support on the ‌iPad‌ begin at the 1:08:35 mark.

Related Roundup: iPad Pro

Top Rated Comments

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8 months ago
USB mouse support would be a little odd... why no bluetooth mouse support in this day and age?
Rating: 56 Votes
8 months ago
Silly not to allow bluetooth. Apple doesn't even sell non-bluetooth mice. Typical Tim Cook Apple decision this
Rating: 18 Votes
8 months ago

I've never wanted to plug a mouse into my iPad. I HAVE, however, wanted to plug USB storage into my iPad and iPhone.

I'd love to be able to plug in a thumbdrive and see it pop up in the Files app. I'm sure a lot of us feel the same way, and hope Apple finally adds this capability in iOS 13.


I would love a mouse (bluetooth, USB, I don't give a crap) on the iPad, so when I get an after hours call, I can just carry a small messenger bag and an iPad, instead of my damn laptop everywhere.

I ended up fixing the problem by getting a Surface, which is actually a real computer. I love MacOS and iOS, but some of this stuff is getting really tiresome from an actual productivity standpoint.
Rating: 12 Votes
8 months ago

IMO, one of the biggest things holding the iPad back when using a keyboard is lack of mouse support. Having to reach up and touch the screen for the many things that aren't supported with keyboard shortcuts is a lesson in bad ergonomics. Seems kind of strange to only offer it via USB though.


It’s this exact same ergonomics argument Apple made for not adding touch screens to MacBooks — ‘the need to reach up and touch the screen would be too difficult and uncomfortable’. Yet they have no problem marketing and selling an iPad with a keyboard that creates that exact situation without any other way to interact with the screen but to hold ones arm in midair to touch the screen.

Apple hypocrisy at its finest.
Rating: 9 Votes
8 months ago
I’m still waiting for Apple Mouse support on iPad. It would make teamviewering so much easier!
Rating: 9 Votes
8 months ago
I've never wanted to plug a mouse into my iPad. I HAVE, however, wanted to plug USB storage into my iPad and iPhone.

I'd love to be able to plug in a thumbdrive and see it pop up in the Files app. I'm sure a lot of us feel the same way, and hope Apple finally adds this capability in iOS 13.
Rating: 9 Votes
8 months ago

Exactly. This doesn't make sense to me. There's no cursor in iOS, and therefore no point in having a mouse. The only solution I could imagine (if this were true) would be to initiate a cursor when a mouse is connected. Then we've come full circle back to the original 1984 Mac -- a screen with a mouse but no keyboard.


Exactly how Android works with a mouse - initiate a cursor when a mouse is connected. That works extremely well.
Rating: 9 Votes
8 months ago

Would be a nice option for people, seems like one of those features they'd quietly offer, though.


Hence why they would bury it in accessibility.
Rating: 8 Votes
8 months ago
Keyboard, Mouse, Multitasking... Basically iPad is becoming a MacBook.
Rating: 8 Votes
8 months ago
This actually already exists, apparently, in Bluetooth form. I'm a quadriplegic and use a wireless head-operated mouse called the Quha Zono (with a attached puff tube add-on for clicking). The same company that makes the Quha Zono announced something they're calling "The iPad Adapter" back in January. They even demonstrated it at the annual ATIA (Assistive Technology Industry Association) conference in Orlando back in January.

This was HUGE news for me because it will allow me to use an iPad MUCH better than I currently can. I can't even begin to explain what possibilities this kind of thing will provide for me.

I get their products through a North American distributor called Grasp Assistive Technologies and they initially expected to ship it before the end of March, pending Apple's approval. When that didn't happen I was told around April 4th that they were going to ship on April 15th, which didn't happen either. The device is fully developed so these delays apparently are because of Apple. I haven't actually contacted Grasp since before April 15th because they told me they would send me shipping confirmation when it shipped so I've been waiting for that. Have dealt with these people a lot in the past and they're a good and reliable company so I can only assume Apple is holding this up for some reason. Then again I'm pretty sure the product wouldn't have been developed if they knew Apple would have a problem with it so who knows what's going on?

But for now I'll assume it's arrival is imminent. It cost $380 by the way which isn't surprising since anything considered "assistive technology" is always on the pricey side. The Quha Zono mouse itself (including USB wireless receiver) costs around $1,000. It works incredibly well though and sometimes goes a few days before it needs to be recharged.

Here's links for both the developer and distributor.

https://www.quha.com/products-2/ipad-adapter/

https://www.graspat.com/quha-zono

A competing product that uses USB as the connection method is due this fall.

https://www.ablenetinc.com/sidekick-1

PN
Rating: 7 Votes

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