How to Use a Bluetooth Mouse or Trackpad With Your iPad

by

With the release of iPadOS 13.4, Apple brought official Bluetooth mouse and trackpad support to its iPads. This article explains how to use your chosen input device with your iPad. To learn how to connect a mouse or trackpad to ‌iPad‌, click here.


Navigating and controlling your ‌iPad‌ with a Bluetooth mouse or trackpad is similar to using one on a desktop or notebook computer. However, there are a few differences you should be aware of.

The Round Cursor

When using a Bluetooth mouse or trackpad on your ‌iPad‌, a circular cursor resembling a finger tip appears on the display instead of a traditional arrow pointer.

The round cursor changes shape or shifts out the way as it moves across different interactive elements on the screen. For example, hovering the cursor over an app on the Home screen causes the app icon to pop out a little to let you know you can select it.

The circle in the screenshot is the cursor

The cursor will also turn into an "I-beam" over text, indicating that you can insert it into a text document for the purpose of editing, or to highlight and copy words from a web page.

The cursor disappears after a few seconds of inactivity. Just move the mouse or touch the trackpad to make it appear again.

iPad Cursor Actions

Apple has designed mouse and trackpad support so that several gestures activate different ‌iPadOS‌ functions.

For example, moving the cursor into the top-right corner of the ‌display‌ and tapping brings up the Control Center. You can also interact with all the Control Center's elements using clicks and long presses.

Similarly, move the cursor over to the date and time in the top-left corner of the screen and this will bring up the Notification Center.

settings
You can change how the cursor looks and how it works in iPadOS. Options include making the cursor darker, changing its color, making it bigger or smaller, and disabling the auto-hide after inactivity. These settings can be found in the Settings app under Accessibility -> Pointer Control.

Trackpad Gestures

Apple has included gesture support for trackpad users. For example, you can enter the Slide Over multitasking interface with a trackpad by moving the cursor over to the right side of the screen or dragging an app over from the Dock. Apple has also added support for multi-touch gestures, including:

Three fingers: If you're using a trackpad, you can swipe downwards with three fingers to access the Home screen from anywhere.

A three-finger swipe up opens up the multitasking interface. Swiping to the left or the right with three fingers also swaps between apps.

Two fingers: A two-finger swipe downwards on your trackpad will bring up Spotlight search. You can also use two fingers to scroll up or down when navigating a web page in Safari.


Elsewhere, two-finger tap gestures in a text editing app will bring up Cut, Copy, and Paste options, and there's a right-click gesture to bring up menu bars in most apps.

You can also make a two-finger click or tap behave as a secondary click in the trackpad settings (see below). Note that a secondary trackpad click acts like a long press on the ‌iPad‌ touchscreen, or a Control-click (or right-click) on a Mac. For example, when you use a secondary trackpad click on an ‌iPad‌ app icon, its contextual menu appears.

How to Adjust Trackpad Settings on iPad

There are some useful trackpad settings in iPadOS that you can change to suit your preferences. The following options can be found in the Settings app under General -> Trackpad.

  • Tracking Speed slider – adjusts how quickly the cursor moves across the screen.

  • Natural Scrolling switch – makes content track the movement of your fingers when you scroll.

  • Tap to Click – makes a tap on the trackpad register as a click.

  • Two Finger Secondary Click – makes a two-finger click or tap function as a secondary click.

Note that you can also perform a secondary click on ‌iPad‌ with any pointing device by holding the Control key as you click.


How to Adjust Mouse Settings on iPad

There are also several mouse settings in iPadOS that you can change to suit your preferences. The following options can be found in the Settings app under General -> Trackpad & Mouse.

  • Tracking Speed slider – adjusts how quickly the cursor moves on the screen.
  • Natural Scrolling switch – makes content track the movement of your fingers when you scroll.
  • Secondary Click – lets you choose whether you want a secondary click to happen when you click on the left or right side of your mouse, or not at all.

Final tip: If you've lost the on-screen keyboard since you connected a Bluetooth mouse or trackpad, tap and hold down the arrow key in the shortcuts bar in the bottom-right corner of the screen until the virtual keyboard re-appears.

Top Stories

Here's How You Can Download iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 Around the World [It's Out]

Wednesday September 16, 2020 2:36 am PDT by
Apple's official public release of iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 dropped on Wednesday, September 16, just a day after the company released the Golden Master to third-party developers. Also set to be made available to the general public for the first time are watchOS 7 and tvOS 14. Getting Started With iOS 14 Video Click image to watch iOS 14 Getting Started While that's left a lot of developers...

When Will the iPhone 12 Launch? Here's What We Know

Wednesday September 16, 2020 6:12 am PDT by
Yesterday's "Time Flies" Apple event saw the release of the Apple Watch Series 6, Apple Watch SE, iPad 8, and iPad Air 4, but no new iPhone models. Rumors before the event strongly alleged that it would not see the unveiling of new iPhones, with many reports pointing to an October launch. The lack of new iPhone models yesterday seems to confirm that the iPhone 12 lineup will not appear...

Apple Releases iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 With Home Screen Redesign, App Library, Compact UI, Translate App, Scribble Support, App Clips, and More

Wednesday September 16, 2020 12:48 pm PDT by
Apple has released iOS 14 and iPadOS 14, the newest operating system updates designed for the iPhone and iPad. As with all of Apple's software updates, iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 can be downloaded for free. iOS 14 is available on the iPhone 6s and later, while iPadOS 14 is available on the iPad Air 2 and later. The updates are available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To ...

Apple Releases Safari 14 for Mac Ahead of macOS Big Sur Launch

Wednesday September 16, 2020 1:40 pm PDT by
macOS Big Sur didn't launch alongside iOS 14, iPadOS 14, tvOS 14, and watchOS 7 today, with the update coming later this fall, but Apple did release the Safari 14 update for macOS Catalina and macOS Mojave users. Safari 14 brings improved performance, customizable start pages, a Privacy Report to see which cross-site trackers are being blocked, and a new tab bar design that provides tab...

Apple Updates AirPods 2 and AirPods Pro Firmware to Version 3A283

Monday September 14, 2020 11:24 am PDT by
Apple today released new 3A283 firmware updates for the second-generation AirPods and the AirPods Pro. The second-generation AirPods are being updated from the 2D15 firmware they were previously running, while the AirPods Pros are being updated from the 2D27 firmware they had installed previously. Apple does not provide details on what's included in refreshed firmware so we don't know what's ...

Spotify Says Apple One Bundle Will Cause 'Irreparable Harm to Developer Community'

Tuesday September 15, 2020 12:26 pm PDT by
Apple today announced Apple One, a series of new subscription bundles that provide access to various Apple services at a combined monthly price. In response, Spotify sent out statements (via Peter Kafka) to the press decrying Apple's anti-competitive behavior and calling on "competition authorities" to stop Apple before it is able to cause "irreparable harm" to developers.Once again, Apple...

Apple Releases watchOS 7 With New Watch Faces, Family Setup, Sleep Tracking, Handwashing Help and More

Wednesday September 16, 2020 12:47 pm PDT by
Apple today released watchOS 7, the newest version of the watchOS operating system designed to run on modern Apple Watch models. The watchOS 7 update comes after several months of beta testing. ‌watchOS 7‌ can be downloaded for free through the dedicated Apple Watch app on the iPhone by going to General > Software Update. To install the new software, the Apple Watch needs to have at...

New AirPods Pro Firmware Introduces Spatial Audio Support and Automatic Switching

Monday September 14, 2020 12:22 pm PDT by
The new 3A283 firmware that Apple released for the AirPods Pro today appears to introduce support for Spatial Audio, a new feature coming to the higher-end AirPods with iOS 14. Multiple reports on Twitter and the MacRumors forums indicate that the firmware update adds a "Spatial Audio" option to the Control Center, which can be activated to enable the feature. Note that using Spatial Audio...

Here Are All of the New Apple Watch Faces Apple Announced Today

Tuesday September 15, 2020 2:55 pm PDT by
Apple today announced the Apple Watch Series 6 and the Apple Watch SE, both of which will be compatible with new watch faces that are being introduced in the watchOS 7 update set to be released tomorrow. Apple has provided a video highlighting all of the new Apple Watch faces, with details on each one. GMT - The GMT face shows multiple time zones at once, while also taking into...

iOS 14.2 Beta Adds New Shazam Music Recognition Feature for Control Center

Thursday September 17, 2020 3:36 pm PDT by
Apple today released the first beta of iOS 14.2 to developers for testing purposes, and the new update introduces a Music Recognition control for the Control Center. The new feature lets you discover music playing around you and it recognizes the music playing with in apps, even when you're wearing AirPods. Songs pop up as notifications, and you can tap to listen in Apple Music....