Craig Federighi Says iPad's Cursor Experience Inspired by Apple TV

Apple software engineering chief Craig Federighi recently spoke with TechCrunch's Matthew Panzarino about the iPad's new cursor functionality, introduced alongside trackpad and mouse support in iPadOS 13.4.

tvos carousel actions
Federighi said the iPad's new cursor experience was inspired by the Apple TV:

"There was a process to figure out exactly how various elements would work together," Federighi says. "We knew we wanted a very touch-centric cursor that was not conveying an unnecessary level of precision. We knew we had a focus experience similar to Apple TV that we could take advantage of in a delightful way. We knew that when dealing with text we wanted to provide a greater sense of feedback."

And:

"Part of what I love so much about what's happened with iPadOS is the way that we've drawn from so many sources. The experience draws from our work on tvOS, from years of work on the Mac, and from the origins of iPhone X and early iPad, creating something new that feels really natural for iPad."

When using a trackpad, the cursor displays as a circle on the screen, popping up only when you have a finger on the trackpad. The circle then morphs into various other shapes when interacting with various elements of iPadOS:

"So we came up with a circle that elegantly transforms to accomplish the task at hand. For example, it morphs to become the focus around a button, or to hop over to another button, or it morphs into something more precise when that makes sense, like the I-beam for text selection."

And:

"We set out to design the cursor in a way that retains the touch-first experience without fundamentally changing the UI," Federighi says. "So customers who may never use a trackpad with their iPad won't have to learn something new, while making it great for those who may switch back and forth between touch and trackpad."

MacRumors recently went hands-on with the cursor experience, providing a closer look at various trackpad gestures and more.


iPadOS 13.4 introduced the new cursor experience and trackpad support on all iPad Pro models, the iPad Air 2 and later, the fifth-generation iPad and later, and the iPad mini 4 and later. Keyboards with built-in trackpads released so far include Apple's Magic Keyboard, Logitech's Combo, and Brydge's Pro+.

Top Rated Comments

Joseph C Avatar
16 months ago
It’s really great for the first stab, but iPadOS 14 hopefully will bring further refinements, as right click behaviour, selection and hover states aren’t as consistent as they should be.

In Reminders, I can’t select multiple Reminders with it. In Music, hovering over albums doesn’t give the Parallax effect. Date pickers and other elements need to be refined for trackpad/mouse and keyboard input. In Photos, right clicking a Photo doesn’t give much context for example to hide a photo I still have to go into the Share sheet window. Right clicking on selected text brings up a different type of limited old-style menu to what you get when, say, right clicking a song in Music or an App on the home screen.

There are more examples but I can’t think of them off the top of my head. Hopefully many more UI refinements are coming which will make the experience more consistent.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Even Longer Avatar
16 months ago
On an iPad even a cursor has experience... Good times to be alive. ;)
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Aluminum213 Avatar
16 months ago

Well they made it distinguished from the way it was pre-13.4, on iOS 13, and made a big fuss about it.

so that's what I'm asking about. Comments like these aren't helpful at all
It works like a cursor like you’ve used on a laptop and desktop

Not sure what the confusion is
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Joseph C Avatar
16 months ago

Right click is already there.
I wasn’t saying it wasn’t there; I was saying the right click behaviour is not consistent. :)
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mazz0 Avatar
16 months ago
Craig Federighi Says iPad's Cursor Experience Inspired by Apple TV
Well yeah - did anybody not notice that?

I’ve turned that feature off (Settings -> Accessibility -> Pointer Control -> Pointer Animations). I’m actually fine with the animations, it’s the cursor disappearing while they animate that’s the problem, it means you’re not 100% sure where it’ll appear when it comes out of the other side, which spoils the smooth flowing feeling of moving the cursor. It’s hard to describe, it sounds minor, but it’s very offputting to me. I hate the Apple TV interface too, but that’s because it’s so hard to swipe the right number of times at once. Delightful my arse.

Incidentaly, anyone else frustrated by the trackpad and keyboard settings being arbitrarily divided between General and Accessibility? Jeez, it’s like Windows 10!
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Unregistered 4U Avatar
16 months ago

I don't think Apple has EVER done anything as ridiculous as this in it's history.
I always go back to the puck mouse...
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

iOS 14 on iPhone feature emergency

Apple Releases iOS and iPadOS 14.7.1 With Fix for Touch ID Apple Watch Bug

Monday July 26, 2021 9:48 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS and iPadOS 14.7.1, minor bug fix updates that come just a week after the release of iOS 14.7, software that introduced new Apple Card features and support for the MagSafe Battery Pack. The iOS and iPadOS 14.7.1 updates can be downloaded for free and the software is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the new software, go to...
iPad mini pro feature 2

iPad Mini 6 to Feature 8.3-Inch Display With No Home Button and Narrower Bezels

Monday July 26, 2021 12:26 pm PDT by
The sixth-generation iPad mini that's in the works will have an 8.3-inch display, according to display analyst Ross Young. That will be larger than the current 7.9-inch display, with the larger size due to the removal of the Home button and a narrower bezel design. Rumors about the iPad mini 6 have been picking up in recent weeks ahead of its prospective launch this fall. Apple analyst...
iphone 12 pro gold

Report: iPhone 14 Pro Models to Feature Tough Titanium Alloy Chassis

Monday July 26, 2021 1:12 am PDT by
Next year's "iPhone 14" series is expected to feature high-end models with a new titanium alloy chassis design, claims a new investors report by JP Morgan Chase. According to the report, the use of titanium alloy will be one of the biggest changes to the case design in the 2022 iPhone series, and Foxconn will be the exclusive manufacturer of the titanium frames for the high-end models....
nothing ear 1 buds 1

Nothing 'Ear (1)' True Wireless Earbuds Launch to Take on AirPods Pro With ANC and Unusual Design for $99

Tuesday July 27, 2021 7:57 am PDT by
Nothing, a new brand from OnePlus founder Carl Pei, has today officially launched the "Ear (1)" true wireless earbuds after months of anticipation around the company's AirPods Pro rival. The Ear (1) features an in-ear design, Active Noise Cancelation, Bluetooth 5.2, IPX4 water resistance, and a charging case with Qi-compatible wireless charging and a USB-C port. Fast pairing is supported on...
apple mac business page

Apple Shares 11 Reasons Why Business Users Should Choose Macs

Monday July 26, 2021 11:35 am PDT by
Apple today updated its Apple at Work website with a new section dedicated to the Mac, which offers up 11 reasons why "Mac means business." On the webpage, Apple highlights the M1 chip as the number one reason why business users should choose a Mac, offering up an M1 overview [PDF] that explains the benefits of the M1 chip. The information isn't new, but it does provide a look at all of...
imac with accessories

Larger Redesigned High-End iMac Rumored to Launch Next Year

Monday July 26, 2021 3:45 am PDT by
Apple's larger redesigned iMac will arrive sometime in 2022 rather than later this year, according to the leaker known as "Dylandkt." On Twitter, Dylandkt claimed that Apple's "high end iMac" is not expected to release in the fourth quarter of 2021 alongside Apple's "M1X Macs" – a reference to Apple's redesigned MacBook Pro models – because "Apple simply does not want their devices to...
General iOS 14

iOS 14.7.1 and macOS Big Sur 11.5.1 Patch Security Vulnerability That May Have Been Actively Exploited

Monday July 26, 2021 11:55 am PDT by
Apple today released unexpected iOS 14.7.1 and iPadOS 14.7.1 updates to the public, and according to a newly released support document, the software addresses a serious security vulnerability that may have been exploited in the wild. Apple says that an application may have been able to execute arbitrary code with kernel privileges due to a memory corruption issue. "Apple is aware of a report ...
apple bitcoin hack

Is Apple Really Buying Bitcoin?

Monday July 26, 2021 3:07 am PDT by
A large number of websites and posts on social media are stoking rumors that Apple has purchased $2.5 billion worth of bitcoin in the company's first move into cryptocurrency, but is there any validity to the claims? Many people are citing the fact that Apple was looking for a Business Development Manager with experience in alternative payments, including cryptocurrency, earlier this year as ...
tesla red orange bg feature

Tesla CEO Elon Musk Takes Shots at Apple During Earnings Call

Monday July 26, 2021 4:53 pm PDT by
During a Tesla earnings call that took place today, Tesla CEO Elon Musk spent time sniping at Apple, reports CNBC. Musk criticized Apple's "walled garden" and made comments on the company's cobalt use. In a discussion about plans to allow Tesla competitors to use the Tesla electric vehicle charger network, Musk said that Tesla does not want to create a walled garden to "bludgeon" Tesla...
FaceID iMac REREREREMIX

Gurman: Face ID on the Mac Coming Within a 'Couple of Years'

Sunday July 25, 2021 7:09 am PDT by
Apple plans to bring Face ID to the Mac within the next "couple of years," respected Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman said today in the latest edition of his Power On newsletter. In the newsletter, Gurman says that he believes Apple's ultimate goal is to shift all of its products to Face ID, including the lower-end iPhones such as the iPhone SE and the iPad Air, which feature Touch ID....