A large number of iPad users had been begging for support for mice on Apple's tablet for years, and now it finally exists on iPadOS 13. What many people may not know is that iOS 13 also brings mouse compatibility to the iPhone.
Not surprisingly, Apple has decided to hide this function in the accessibility settings of the iPhone and iPad. And when you connect a mouse via a Bluetooth or wired connection, you still have to deal with an ugly circular cursor that mimics a human fingerprint and some interface complications. We're glad the feature is here, but it doesn't work the way we expected. After all, it was designed as an accessibility feature called “AssistiveTouch”.
But with that out of the way, let's keep going.
How to set up a Bluetooth mouse on iPhone or iPad
The easiest way to use a mouse with your iPad or iPhone is to set it up via the Bluetooth connection. Any old wireless mouse should work. You can pair most mice through the AssistiveTouch menu itself, but due to some complications with Magic Mouse 2 that prevent pairing along this route, I suggest pairing it as follows. It should work in all cases.
First, make sure Bluetooth is enabled, and then:
- Open it Settings
- Press Accessibility
- Press Assistive Control
- Tick the key to enable the option
- Open it Settings again look for Bluetooth and put the wireless mouse in pairing mode. The mouse name should appear in the menu, so touch it when it appears
The mouse should connect, but keep in mind that you will still not be able to use it if AssistiveTouch is not enabled. If you are using a Magic Mouse 1, you must also enter a PIN number, which is 0000. Otherwise, it should work fine.
How to set up a wired mouse on your iPhone or iPad
You can also use a wired mouse with iPad, but the setting is considerably stranger than with Bluetooth devices. For one thing, it's hard to connect anything besides a generic laser mouse to anything below the iPad Pro, and you're likely to get a message like this. Fortunately, all the wired models we tested worked with iPad Pro, although even the 2018 iPad Pro strives to run some of them.
On the other hand, you need to buy the $ 29 USB-A Lightning dongle to connect most standard wired mice to older, cheaper iPads. If you have an iPad Pro 2018, you will need the $ 19 USB-A to USB-C dongle. After you connect the dongle to your mouse, you will need to repeat many of the steps above:
- Open it Settings
- Scroll down to Accessibility
- Press Touch at seo Physics and Engine
- You will see an AssistiveTouch menu item at the top that is likely to be disabled. Mark the key to enable it
- You will go to another menu. Activate AssistiveTouch by the top switch
From here, simply connect the mouse to your device. It should immediately start working.
Tips for calibrating the mouse
Now just bad news. You should not expect the mouse to work the way it would when working on a Mac or PC. You can move the cursor the second you connect it, but the cursor itself is a large gray circle that mimics a fingerprint. The only option to change it is to increase and change the color to a variety of equally unpleasant tones. It's not impossible to get the same precision you get with a cursor on your desktop, but it takes practice.
By default, AssistiveTouch's circular menu stays on the screen while it is active, although you can move it around the screen with your finger. By default, you also activate the AssistiveTouch menu by right-clicking. To hide the menu you can go to Settings > Accessibility> Touch> Assisted Touch> Assistive Touch and uncheck the option Always show menu. As long as you do not change the settings, it will always reappear when you right click.
This setup takes some getting used to. For one thing, if you don't use the right-button menu button mentioned above, you need to use your mouse to mimic the gestures you use with your finger for navigation (such as swiping down to open Expos). You cannot simply touch and select text as you would with an ordinary mouse; instead, you need to double-click a word with the left mouse button and drag the toggle if you want to highlight the rest of the selection. The good part is that there are some ways to make the mouse experience on iPhone or iPad more enjoyable.
Adjust tracking speed
Right outside, I thought the tracking speed of my mouse was too fast for my iPhone. If you have the same problem, you can easily change it by going to Settings > Accessibility> Touch> Assisted Touch> Assistive Touchand rolling down to Crawl speed. You will see a bar that can be adjusted as needed.
Customize mouse buttons
If you want to customize what the buttons do on the mouse, go to Settings> Accessibility> Touch> Assisted Touch> Assistive Touch> Pointing Devices and select the connected mouse.
In the Logitech G502 gaming mouse case that I connected to an iPad Pro, these are the standard buttons:
- Left click (single tap for selection)
- Right-click (open AssistiveTouch menu)
- Middle mouse button (home screen)