How to Use a Mouse with iPad

Oct 31, 2019 - 23 Comments

How to use a Mouse with iPad

Want to use a mouse with iPad? Now you can, and it’s fairly easy to setup and use. Plus the iPad and mouse experience works really great with an iPad, particularly if you have the iPad setup as a desk workstation.

This article will show you how to setup and use a wireless Bluetooth mouse with iPad, iPad Pro, iPad Air, or iPad mini.

The ability to use a mouse with iPad is one of the best features of iPadOS 13, and it works to use nearly any bluetooth mouse with iPad, iPad Pro, iPad mini, or iPad Air. In other words, those are the system requirements to get this working; you’ll need a minimum of iPadOS 13 on the iPad, and a compatible Bluetooth mouse. Most Bluetooth mouses will work with iPad, for example the Logitech M535, M336, and M337, work great and are affordable.

How to Setup and Use Bluetooth Mouse with iPad

Make sure that Bluetooth is enabled on the iPad before beginning this process of setting up a mouse for use with iPad. You can turn Bluetooth ON in Settings if you have not done so already.

  1. Open the “Settings” app on iPad and make sure that Bluetooth is turned on
  2. Settings icon

  3. Go to “Accessibility” settings then choose “Touch”
  4. How to use mouse on iPad

  5. Tap on “AssistiveTouch”
  6. How to use mouse on iPad

  7. Toggle the switch next to “Assistive Touch” to the ON position
  8. How to use mouse on iPad

  9. Now scroll down and tap on “Devices” further down in the AssistiveTouch settings screen
  10. How to use mouse on iPad

  11. Tap on “Bluetooth Devices”
  12. How to connect a bluetooth mouse on iPad

  13. Place the Bluetooth mouse into pairing mode and wait for it to show up on the “Bluetooth Devices” screen, when it becomes visible tap on it
  14. How to connect Bluetooth mouse to iPad

  15. When the Bluetooth mouse connects, tap on it in the device list and configure the button options as desired (for example, setting right-click to go Home)
  16. Customize iPad mouse button actions and behaviors

  17. After the Bluetooth mouse is shown as a connected device and configured, tap or click back to “AssistiveTouch”, the mouse is now working with the iPad
  18. How to use mouse on iPad

  19. Scroll down to “Pointer Style” and tap on that to configure mouse cursor size, mouse cursor color, and if the mouse pointer automatically hides or not
  20. How to configure pointer size and color on iPad mouse

  21. Next back at the AssistiveTouch screen, adjust the ‘Tracking Speed’ slider to determine how fast you want the mouse to move on iPad
  22. Adjust the tracking speed of iPad Mouse

  23. Optionally, uncheck the box for “Always Show Menu” to hide the onscreen AssistiveTouch button
  24. Hide the on screen Assistive Touch menu button

  25. Exit out of Settings as usual

The mouse will move around on iPad screen just like any mouse you’re accustomed to using on Mac or PC, and you’ll find the experience works great.

The iPad Mouse Cursor

You will quickly see that the iPad mouse cursor looks like a circle with a tiny dot in the middle, it does not look like the traditional arrow pointer that most platforms use as their mouse cursor style including macOS and Windows.

The green dot pointer cursor of mouse on iPad

Instead the cursor / pointer which looks like a circle with a dot in the center of it looks a lot like the dot reticle of an optical scope on a red or green dot sight, for those who are familiar with scopes, microscopes, telescopes, and other sighting systems.

You can change the color of the mouse pointer on iPad in the AssistiveTouch settings as was covered earlier.

Mouse color options on iPad

Customizing the Mouse Buttons Behavior for iPad

One of the other great things about setting up iPad with a mouse is that you can set multi-button mouses to have different functions for each button.

There are tons of options available for what each button can do; Home screen, single tap, double tap, open menu, accessibility shortcut, app switcher, control center, dock, lock rotation, lock screen, screenshot, shake, activate Siri, you can even activate Siri Shortcuts and much more.

You’ll almost certainly want to assign at least one of the mouse buttons to be ‘Home’ so that you can easily return to the Home screen of the iPad from the mouse, and without having to either swipe or tap on the screen itself, or press any buttons on the iPad hardware.

ipad mouse button behavior options

Are you using a mouse with iPad? Do you have any particular experiences or thoughts about using iPad with a mouse? Share your thoughts, experiences, and tips with us in the comments below!

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPad, Tips & Tricks

23 Comments

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  1. IllinoisMacuser says:

    Isn’t this mouse feature for accessibility for people who can’t properly tap on screen? I don’t think Apple envisioned it as a direct accessory feature for a mouse. Although it works that way, its really for people who need assistance and can use a device to navigate target cursor on screen so as to make a tap input. It certainly works with a mouse for sure, but Apple never claimed it was a feature for that purpose. That is why its buried in the Accessibility menu.

  2. JohnIL says:

    Now if Apple could offer a keyboard/touchpad which would greatly move the iPad towards a notebook replacement. I still prefer my iPad for consumption and Macbook for work.

  3. TomSwift79 says:

    My iPad found my Apple mouse, but it asks for a PIN. (??)

  4. RM says:

    My goodness, Apple certainly went out of their way to hide all of this.

    Thanks OSXDaily!

  5. John Capps says:

    May options for mouse buttons but there are only 3 buttons on the mouse

  6. no way says:

    OMFG Apple can you make this any MORE complicated?

    • Orlando Opinion says:

      They don’t seem to want anyone using a mouse on iPad unless they’re really committed to it. It’s not a super great experience anyway if you ask me, the iPad interface is a mystery and confusing even without a mouse. But I get that it’s helpful for Accessibility, it will allow many people to use the iPad that couldn’t before.

      A Mac is still easier to use, it’s point and click, everything is obvious.

      • no way says:

        How is everything is obvious when you have to take all these steps just to use a mouse?

        Don’t even get me started on what you have to do to update apps in iOS13.

        Apple is today anything but obvious.

        • Orlando Opinion says:

          The Mac is obvious. iPad is confusing. That is my opinion.

          With Mac, you point and click.

          With iPad, you do a song and dance, you wonder, you’re never sure what is a button or what is not, there’s a lot of mystery features and mistakes, nothing is obvious or discoverable, it’s like the command line all over again minus the power.

  7. Carlos Guerrero says:

    Ipad doesn’t work with Magic Mouse, why?
    You don’t mention about it

  8. Peter Ashford says:

    A very helpful guide – as usual but it doesn’t work for my Air 2.

    The problem is that (after updating iPadOS to 13.2) the final step of ‘pairing mode’ does not work – searching goes on forever with no result.

    For ‘pairing’, I put my Apple mouse, switched on that I had just been using with my MacBook (now closed), next to the iPad.

    Does ‘pairing mode’ require some other action?

    • Paul says:

      You are probably doing everything right, but you should try with a different mouse.

      Unfortunately the Apple mouse does not appear to be supported for using with the Apple iPad. Why is anyones guess, but that has been widely reported as an incompatibility.

      For now, you will need to use a third party mouse to use a mouse with iPad. It’s possible this will change down the road. Logitech and Microsoft brand mice work fine in my experience.

  9. John Lange says:

    I have an iPad with a folio keyboard. When I want to reply to an email an on-screen keyboard pops up and I can’t use my folio keyboard. What goes?

    • MICHAEL J BABIUK says:

      Your experience is not unique. My USB-C iPad Pro 12.9″ with keyboard folio cover will not work properly when a mouse is enabled in iPadOS assistive touch feature is enabled.

      Nor will any Bluetooth keyboard that I have tried as well. This strange bug manifests itself when I try to type something. Some keyboard letters can be typed correctly while other keys refuse to register at all – no matter how often I depress the keyboard keys. Also, when certain keys are touched “weird” things happen.

      However, mouse enabled cursor movements and mouse enabled menu selections or mouse actions work as advertised.

      Pity Apple hasn’t figured out how to make keyboard and mouse functions co-exist correctly let on the iPad.

    • MICHAEL J BABIUK says:

      Your experience is not unique. I have noticed that my USB-C iPad Pro keyboard folio cover typing functions are incompatible when a mouse is enabled thru iPadOS’s assistive touch feature.

      In fact, it would seem any attached Bluetooth keyboard will not function correctly in a “typing scenario” when a mouse is enabled.

      • Nikolas says:

        I can use an external Bluetooth mouse and keyboard with my iPad, the two work fine together. You might try re-syncing the keyboard to iPad?

        • MICHAEL J BABIUK says:

          Thanks for the reply. I think I will be making a Genius Bar visit over this issue.

          My iPad Pro keyboard Folio cover exhibits the same “typing errors” I have experienced using a Logitech mouse (it looks like the one seen in this article – and with a Microsoft Wedge Touch mouse) in conjunction with several other bluetooth keyboards (An Apple Magic Keyboard, a Microsoft keyboard and a folding keyboard)

          All my keyboards work just fine when mouse support is NOT enabled. Once again, thanks for trying to help.

  10. Oliver says:

    Please ignore my earlier post as I have just noticed that Magic Mouse and Apple trackpad are not supported for use with Ipad.

  11. Oliver says:

    Bluetooth Devices screen just keeps searching without picking up Apple Mouse or Apple Trackpad.
    I gave up after multiple attempts.

  12. BILL TROST says:

    I can’t get Bluetooth to discover my Apple Magic Mouse. Is there a reason?

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