How to Add an Escape Key to iPad Keyboard

Jan 26, 2022 - Leave a Comment

Get an escape key on iPad Magic Keyboard

Need an Escape key on an iPad physical keyboard? If you don’t use the iPad keyboards Caps Lock key for CAPS LOCK, perhaps you’d rather it behave as an Escape key on your iPad?

The iPad Magic Keyboard and Smart Keyboard do not have physical ESC / escape keys, and while there are various options to type Escape on the iPad, nothing really emulates a physical hardware ESC key if you need one for something like vim.

One option is to remap the Globe key to be an ESC key, but a common trick for many users, not only on the iPad platform but elsewhere, is to remap the Caps Lock key to become an Escape key. That’s what we’ll cover here; adding an escape key to the iPad physical keyboard by remapping the Caps Lock to be ESC.

How to Remap Caps Lock to be ESC on iPad Keyboard

Ready to get Caps Lock to become an ESC key on iPad? Here’s all you need to do:

  1. Open the Settings app on iPad
  2. Go to “General” and then to “Keyboard”
  3. Go to “Hardware Keyboard”
  4. Choose “Modifier Keys”
  5. Choose “Caps Lock Key” and select “Escape” as the modifier key
  6. Choose to remap the CAPS LOCK key to Escape key on iPad keyboard

Now you are ready to try out your new hardware ESC key on iPad by pressing Caps Lock.

Go to any app where you’d use an Escape key and you can test this out right away, like vi/vim for example.

Now you can save vim files and quit vim with ease from iPad with a physical keyboard, hooray!

This works with any physical keyboard or Bluetooth keyboard paired with the iPad, but obviously we’re emphasizing the Magic Keyboard and Smart Keyboard here, both are good keyboards for iPad, though the former also includes a trackpad which is particularly excellent.

You may have noticed there are other modifier keys you can remap on iPad keyboards as well, which can be useful to customize your keyboard key experience a bit, or to remap a Bluetooth PC keyboard to be more compatible with an iPad.

Add an Escape key to iPad keyboard

Do you miss having a physical escape key on iPad keyboards? What about the function key row? While those are standard on Macs and PCs, the Apple branded iPad keyboards do not have that top F-key row, so workarounds like this are used instead.


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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPad, Tips & Tricks

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