Apple has released iPad OS 13.4. And while it comes with a number of changes, perhaps the one that most people would be looking forward to trying out is support for the mouse and trackpad. Well, in most cases, the mouse. After all, not too many keyboards come with trackpads right now, and what’s more, not too many folks actually invest in a separate trackpad. So, we are going to mainly focus on connecting and setting up a mouse on an iPad.
First off, do remember to update your iPad to iPad OS 13.4. Secondly, mouse compatibility is available on all iPad Pros, iPad Air 2 and later, iPad fifth generation and later and iPad mini 4 and later. If your device is supported and has iPad OS 13.4, go right and grab mouse magic.
Connecting – easy peasy Apple squeezie
Setting up the mouse connection to the iPad is extremely simple. There is no need to go into accessibility settings or anything. Just connect your mouse – Bluetooth or Wired – to the iPad (using a dongle when needed). In most cases, it is as simple as plug and play. In some cases of Bluetooth mouses, you might need to go to Bluetooth and select the mouse from devices, but that has not happened in our case!
You will know the moment you are connected – a small spherical, greyish, transparent cursor (Apple calls it the “pointer” but we will call it cursor for the sake of simplicity) will appear on the display of your iPad.
Some basic tweaks – tracking speed, scrolling, secondary clicks!
The mouse will work from the moment it is connected with the iPad, but if you want to do more, Go to Settings, and select the General option. You will see “Trackpad & mouse” on the right among the options. Please note that this option appears only when a trackpad and/or mouse is connected to your iPad. It will not appear otherwise.
Once there, you can change the tracking speed of the mouse – there is a tortoise on end of the scale and a hare at the other to let you know what is fast and what is slow. You can also set your mouse to “Natural Scrolling.” This means that when you rotate the scroll wheel on your mouse, the mouse will scroll contest just as your finger would have on the iPad display.
Sounds complex? All right, so if you have to scroll down on an iPad, you swipe down, and if you have to go upwards, you swipe up, right? Well, if you turn on “Natural Scrolling,” content will scroll up when you rotate the mouse wheel upwards and similarly, scroll down when the mouse wheel is scrolled downwards. Finally, you can also specify which mouse button is the secondary one – the right or the left one. Handy for left-handers!
Customizing that cursor!
That would be generally enough for most users, but in case you want to customize your mouse experience a bit more, well, you can. And rather oddly, things get a little complex now. For, you have to now head back to Settings and choose Accessibility.
In Accessibility, choose Pointer Control. You will now get options to increase the contrast of the cursor to make it stand out (we chose not to, but some might prefer it) and to decide when you want the pointer to disappear. It is two seconds by default and once again, we found that to be adequate. You also get the option to change the color of the cursor. You can choose from white, red, blue, green, yellow and orange or simply opt to have no color at all. The point to note is that the color of the cursor itself will not change – it will remain slightly grey-ish. You will, however, get a border of the color you have chosen around the cursor, and you also get the option to change the thickness of this border by increasing or decreasing Stroke Size, another option on this window.
Want a bigger cursor? Just choose the Cursor Size option and make it more of a blob than a drop if you so wish. You can also increase or decrease scrolling speed and finally, there is the matter of Pointer Animations. By default, the cursor comes with some animations, it sort of blends into a selected icon for instance or wraps itself around some options. We think this is very cool but if you find it distracting, go ahead and turn it off.
Meddling with the mouse buttons!
Finally, you can also choose to change some settings on the mouse itself. Once again, you will have to head to Settings and once again, you will have to choose Accessibility. There, choose the Touch. This will take you to different touch options. Just pick Assistive Touch (it will be turned off by default). Do not worry, this will turn it on straight away, it will simply take you to the Assistive Touch section, and there you have to choose Devices. The next window should show you the name of your mouse.
Click on this and you get the option to customize mouse buttons. You can choose from a whole number of options in this regard, and can even customize the primary button if you wish. So you can set the right mouse button to invoke the app switcher (showing open apps) or to open the Control Centre or take you to the Home screen or even invoke Siri. There is a whole lot you can do out there – you can even set what happens when you click the mouse wheel.
There is a tiny tweak however you will have to make. To make these changes take effect, you will have to enable Assistive Touch. Doing so will place a tiny Menu button on the display at all times, tapping which will allow you to access functions like the Control Centre, Notifications, Siri and other features.
You can opt to let the Menu button remain but we found it too similar to the cursor itself and did not actually need it, so we just turned off the Always Showed Menu option in the Assistive Touch section. Just remember that the Menu button will not appear only when the mouse is connected. It will pop up when you disconnect the mouse if you have Assistive Touch turned on. Frankly, we have no real problems with it, given the control we get over the mouse buttons.
That’s all there is to it. Get going and start using your mouse or trackpad with your iPad.