Apple details how to connect and use a Bluetooth mouse or trackpad with an iPad

Technically speaking, the iPad has supported rudimentary Bluetooth mouse support with the arrival of iPadOS, but Apple has improved the quality of that use case quite a bit with the latest version of the mobile operating system.

So, in light of launching iPadOS 13.4 to the public this week, Apple has launched a pair of support documents to details how to connect a Bluetooth-enabled mouse and/or trackpad to your iPad running iPadOS 13.4, and also how to use that accessory after it’s been successfully paired to your device.

Apple breaks things down pretty easily, as you might expect. With the first support document, on how to connect your device, it begins by detailing which iPad models actually support iPadOS 13.4 — a requirement for this more robust mouse and trackpad support. The supported models include all iPad Pro variants, the iPad Air 2 or later, the fifth-generation iPad or later, and the iPad mini 4 or later.

So if you have a supported iPad and have updated to iPadOS 13.4, here’s how to connect your Bluetooth mouse, trackpad, or keyboard with a built-in trackpad:

  • Turn on your Bluetooth accessory and place it near your iPad.
  • Make sure that your accessory is in pairing or discovery mode.
    • Apple Magic Mouse and Magic Trackpad should be ready to pair at this point.
    • If you’re pairing a third-party accessory that you’ve used with another device, follow the pairing-mode steps from its manufacturer.
  • Open the Settings app on your iPad.
  • Tap Bluetooth.
  • Look under Other Devices for your Bluetooth accessory, then tap its name to pair it with your iPad.

Apple notes that if you see a specific kind of alert that reads, “Using this accessory may affect Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity”, noting that interference can be an issue for some iPad models while using Bluetooth accessories. The company also adds that adding a lot of Bluetooth devices and keeping them actively paired can lead to some wireless performance issues. So be aware of that.

That support document also details how to reconnect, disconnect, and forget your Bluetooth accessories.

The separate support document details how to use the Bluetooth mouse or trackpad after it has been successfully paired to your iPad. One of the more exciting elements of the robust mouse and trackpad support is the fact that the cursor on the iPad will change shape depending on different elements it hovers over:

As it moves across different elements on the screen, the cursor changes shape. For example, it turns into an I-beam over text, indicating that you can insert the cursor into a text document or highlight and copy words from a webpage:

Which you can see in the image just below.

Apple also breaks down how to adjust settings for either a trackpad or a mouse while they are paired to your iPad.

To adjust your trackpad settings, simply open the Settings app on your iPad, then open General –> Trackpad. From here users will be able to adjust various settings:

  • To adjust how quickly the cursor moves when you use the trackpad, drag the Tracking Speed slider.
  • To make content track the movement of your fingers when you scroll, turn on Natural Scrolling.
  • To make a tap on the trackpad register as a click, turn on Tap to Click.
  • To have a two-finger click or tap behave as a secondary click, turn on Two Finger Secondary Click.

And to adjust your mouse settings, open Settings –> Trackpad & Mouse. From there, users can adjust the following:

  • To adjust how quickly the cursor moves when you use the mouse, drag the Tracking Speed slider.
  • To make content track the movement of your fingers when you scroll, turn on Natural Scrolling.

Choosing behavior for a secondary click is also available:

Select Secondary Click, then 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. You can also perform a secondary click on iPad with any pointing device by holding the Control key as you click.

Users will also be able to customize the cursor. That can be done by opening the Settings app, and then choosing Accessibility –> Pointer Control. Users will then have options to change quite a bit:

  • To make the cursor darker and less transparent, turn on Increase Contrast.
  • Tap Automatically Hide Pointer, then select how long you want the cursor to stay visible when it’s not moving.
  • To select a different color for the cursor, tap Color.
  • To make the cursor larger or smaller, drag the Pointer Size slider.
  • Turn on or turn off Pointer Animations.
  • To adjust how quickly pages scroll when you use your Bluetooth mouse or trackpad, use the Scrolling Speed slider.

You can check out the “Connect a Bluetooth mouse or trackpad to your iPad” and “Use a Bluetooth mouse or trackpad with your iPad” from those links.

We also have a tutorial showing you how it’s done just below:

Tutorial: How to use a mouse or trackpad on your iPad with iPadOS

If you have an iPad running iPadOS 13.4 and have connected a Bluetooth mouse or trackpad, how are you liking the experience so far? Are you eagerly anticipating the launch of the new Magic Keyboard accessory for the iPad Pro lineup that’s arriving later this year?