Use a Mac as a Bluetooth Keyboard for iPhone, iPad, or Android with Type2Phone

Nov 15, 2011 - 22 Comments


If you don’t have a spare Bluetooth keyboard to connect to an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch with, why not use a Mac? This seems like a no brainer of an idea, but until the Mac app Type2Phone came along, I haven’t heard of any such solution. The app works by pairing a Mac to the iOS device (technically it works with Androids too), which is fooled into thinking the Mac is a Bluetooth keyboard, then all you have to do is type in the Mac app and it appears in iOS. Smart huh?

Requirements for using Type2Phone are fairly basic: you’ll obviously need a Bluetooth enabled Mac and iOS device that is set to discoverable, and Mac OS X 10.6.6 and iOS 3.2 or later. Then all you need to do is launch the app on the Mac, and from the iPhone/iPad tap on Settings > General > Bluetooth to enable and then select the visible Mac to pair the iOS device to.

Other than the ability to use a Mac keyboard as a way to type on the iPad or iPhone, you can also use the app to finally copy text from Mac OS X and paste it directly to an app on the iOS device. These two features are so useful that it makes you wish Apple had included them in iOS and Mac OS X directly, it just makes sense.

Turn a Mac into a Bluetooth keyboard for iOS Devices

This is a great find by Lifehacker, who reminds us that the price of the app is significantly less than the price of a separate bluetooth keyboard.

If you’re having problems getting the app to work, here’s a quick little troubleshooting guide from the description on the Mac App Store:

When attempting to pair, your iOS device may not list your Mac or indicate that it is incompatible. The workaround is as follows:

– If the Mac is listed with a blue arrow, tap that arrow and select “Forget this device”.
– Disable Bluetooth on the Mac
– Reenable Bluetooth on the Mac
– Set Bluetooth on the Mac to be discoverable
– Launch Type2Phone
– Now restart your iPhone / iPad
– On your iPhone / iPad, go to Settings > General > Bluetooth
– Enable Bluetooth on your iPhone
– Tap the name of the Mac to start the pairing procedure

If this convoluted procedure is needed, it is needed only once during initial pairing. Future connections are initiated from the Type2Phone software.


Related articles:

Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPad, iPhone, Mac OS, Tips & Tricks


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  1. […] a dedicated external keyboard to use, another option is to use a third party app like Type2Phone, which turns a Macs keyboard into a bluetooth keyboard for an iOS or Android device. stLight.options({ […]

  2. Bob Jenkem says:

    Look Guys, I know its fantastic to think this is saving you some sort of money, or whatever, but its an absolute joke. Why in the hell would you need to type on your iphone at all, if you’re at your Mac!? THINK ABOUT IT. You can use your computer to instant message and TXT people from your provider website or using 3rd party utilities (ie email, for instance, if you know the domain).

    Just another case of technology for the sake of technology. There’s no use in this. If you’re at your mac, use your mac. Why would you want to use the stupid phone to browse the net and answer messages when you have a full computer right there with you.

    • Mike says:

      I love the way people who don’t know how they would use this immediately conclude that it is not useful for anyone else.

      I live in a place where internet is very intermittent. Sometimes my home internet works, sometimes my 3G works. When my internet goes down it’s great to have this as a way to do Skype or other IM! Beats the hell out of the iPhone keyboard!

      And while I know it is possible to send a text from some provider websites, if I do this the text doesn’t show up on my iPhone giving me a history of both sides of the conversation.

      So – “technology for technology’s sake”, “no use in this”? Thanks for letting me know but I don’t think I’ll delete it from my system or request a refund based upon your astute judgement.

  3. max says:

    ever been in a place with cell coverage but no internet? and need to review and answer multiple emails?

  4. James says:

    it works grrrrrrrrrrrreat!!
    I want to install to my windows computer too.
    Is there windows version?

  5. Fred Luna says:

    Works great!!

    By the way, when using this app with Imessage on Iphone, does anyone know how to send the message by using the keyboard instead of touching the screen?

    • Bob Jenkem says:

      No, … this isn’t able to be done even with a standard bluetooth keyboard when pressing enter. It sucks.

  6. arash says:

    after many attemps of connecting and disconnecting bluetooths on both devices i finally could connect it to my android phone and seems works fine

    only for Backspace (delete) you have to use cmd+<—

  7. arash says:

    seems not working on android.

    samsung galaxy s2 – android 2.3.4

  8. govert says:

    There’s also an app called iKeyboard which seems to have a better UI and I found out it have multimedia control functions. But much expensive.

  9. James says:

    Interesting. I’ve always kind of felt once a text gets that long, it should be a call or email. But everyone uses them differently so I can see that.

  10. Matt says:

    For sending long texts.

  11. James says:

    If you have your Mac with you… Why would you need to type to an iPad or iPhone? I’m not criticizing, I’m seriously interested what purpose this app would serve. Thanks!

  12. TC DIXON says:

    Just downloaded to my Mac works perfect I can now just use one keyboard on my desk,And the keyboard response is quick with no lag of any kind,It’s well worth $4.99

  13. Getti says:

    What would make this app even more useful would be a little mirrored and scalable window of the iOS device on the Mac screen, so you can see exactly where and what you are typing without looking at the iOS device.

    BTW as a reviewer mentioned, this works for the PS3 and Xbox 360 too!

    • Greg says:

      How exactly does one use this with the PS3? I’ve tried to pair my ps3 with my macbook pro but the ps3 keeps saying an error occurred.

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