How to use a mouse with your iPhone and iPad

Apple revealed support for mice in the announcement of iOS 13 and iPadOS 13. Therefore, Mouse support is present in iOS 13 for iPhones. It will be available on iPads with iPadOS 13 from September 30

It must be noted that the feature is not available by default, therefore, this article will emphasize on how to enable the feature, the devices that are compatible with it, as well as the merits of using a pointing device although the Apple gadget was originally designed for touch input. You’ll learn how to use a mouse with your iPhone and iPad.


How to implement a mouse on iPhone and iPad

mouse support iOS

It must be noted that Apple is yet to make any changes to the way the operating system functions when a mouse is being used. The likes of the iOS and iPadOS are stilly fully touch-based OS’.

The way text manipulation works with a mouse is a typical example. We can also consider button mapping to explain how it works. Your mouse buttons can be mapped to common iPadOS and iOS functions. 

In the default mode, the left mouse button will ‘single-tap’ just like a finger is supposed to. However, the ‘left mouse button’ and the ‘right mouse button’ cannot be added and this is due to the fact that the OS was not originally designed to receive input from a mouse.

It remains to be seen if Apple will broaden the concept in the future and enable its mobile OS to accept proper mouse input. If this is considered and carried out, it will put the iPad Pro in good stead to replace laptops, and this seems like a target that the manufacturers have been approaching carefully.

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How to Connect a Mouse to Your iPad or iPhone

There is a good number of mice you can connect to your iPhone such as 

  • Wired USB mice (or even PS/2 with adapter)
  • Wireless Bluetooth mice
  • Wireless mice that use an RF dongle

To connect a Bluetooth mouse to your iPad or iPhone, follow the steps below:

  • Go to Settings -> Accessibility -> Touch
  • Select AssistiveTouch and toggle to put it on
  • Scroll down to ‘Pointer Devices’ and tap ‘Devices’
  • Tap on ‘Bluetooth Devices’ and this action will start the pairing process
  • Then proceed by setting your Bluetooth mouse to discoverable, tap on its name when it comes up on your iPad or iPhone.

Connecting a Wired Mouse

If it’s a wired mouse you have in your possession, then you must get Apple’s Lightning to USB Camera adapter formerly known as the Camera Connector Kit which costs $29. 

It must be noted that the aforementioned USB accessory was originally designed for the transfer of images from a digital camera to a device’s internal storage.

Regardless, if yours is an iPad with a USB Type-C adapter coupled with a compatible mouse, proceed by plugging it straight in. After connecting the mouse to the USB port, follow the steps below:

  • Connect the Lightning jack to your iOS or iPadOS device
  • Go to Settings -> Accessibility -> Touch
  • Choose ‘Assistive Touch‘ yet again and toggle it on

READ: iOS 13 – The best new features and what to expect


How to connect a wireless mouse with Dongle

Wireless mice alongside dongles can pass for wireless mice if not for their usage of a small radio frequency for communicating over short distances. Ths instructions for connection are similar to connecting a wired mouse

  • Connect the dongle to the USB port. After this, connect the Lightning jack to the iOS or iPadOS device.
  • Ensure the mouse is connected to power and turn it on
  • Go to Settings -> Accessibility -> Touch
  • Select ‘Assistive Touch’ and toggle it on.

How to enable mouse support and configure the mouse

IPadOS mouse support

Enabling AssistiveTouch makes mouse support available. This can be done under Settings -> Accessibility -> Touch. Once the pointing device has been enabled, the fingertip-sized circle cursor will be visible on the screen.

Configure the mouse by going to Settings -> Accessibility -> Touch -> Assistive Touch. You’ll also do well to observe the Tracking Speed as it determines how responsive the pointer will be to input. Meanwhile, the Pointer Style allows you to change the size and color of the on-screen pointer.

Proceed by tapping on ‘Devices’, after which you’ll get access to the list of available mouse buttons. Tap on each of the buttons and assign an input type. Meanwhile, if the mouse you have in your possession has more buttons than are available, tap ‘Customize Additional Buttons’ to enable the configuration of the buttons.

You’ll continue by pressing each of the buttons and picking an action for them based on your preference. You can continue until you’re done with the configuration.


How to know the pointing devices that are compatible with iOS 13

The only way you can know if a pointing device will work is to test it as Apple doesn’t provide any list that contains devices that are compatible with iOS. 

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Regardless, iOS 13 and iPadOS 13 could be the start of Apple’s venture to provide support for third-party peripherals with mouse support and gamepad support inclusive and set to be available in the same update.

Therefore a good number of generic USB and Bluetooth mice could work. A test carried out on some third-party wired mice was successful. Therefore, this could turn out to be a norm and a welcome one at that.

Please note that Apple’s Magic Trackpad 2 isn’t compatible with iPhones and iPads. However, it works when there is a wired connection. The Magic Mouse can work, but only when your Mac’s Bluetooth has been disabled and followed up by holding down of the mouse button while pairing.


Tasks that can be carried out due to the availability of Mouse Support in iPhones and iPads

Do well to understand that mouse support on iPad and iPhone is majorly an accessibility feature. However, it’s a big deal if you face any challenges in the usage of the touch interface due to a disability.

  • The mouse support is a good option for users of iPad and iPhones who have no preference for reaching over the keyboard during interaction with the screen. This support now allows such users to leave the mouse connected while they browse the web in a similar style to when using a laptop or desktop.
  • The mouse support for iPhones and iPads enhances the selection and editing of large chunks of text although it doesn’t function like a standard PC. This is a stand-out task that the mouse support enhances.

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  • Folks who deal in creatives may benefit from the added precision that a mouse provides in the process of editing photos. It isn’t a big deal though as findings have revealed that creatives opt for iPad Pro due to its Apple Pencil support.
  • You can also choose to pair the mouse with a proper keyboard to gain a more native user experience. iOS and iPad OS work well with Bluetooth Keyboards and other generic USB keyboards, albeit dependent on if the USB adapter required for connection is available.

Regardless of any loopholes that are present in the mouse support for iOS 13 and iPadOS 13, it is ideal as an accessibility tool.

The advantages might be little but you never know what Apple could decide to come up with as time progresses. Meanwhile, the iPad and iPad Pro are gradually been eased into tablets that can perform roles which are exclusive only to laptops and desktops.

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