Bluetooth Keyboard for iPhone via Jailbreak BTstack

BTstack for Jailbreak

Ringwald's BTstack Keyboard for Jailbreak lets your iPhone 3G or 3GS, or BT-enabled iPod touch use a Bluetooth keyboard and is now available via Cydia.

Based on the open-source BTstack project, it's been tested on:

  • Apple Bluetooth keyboard
  • Think Outside Stowaway Universal keyboard
  • Palm Wireless keyboard

But should work on any similarly functioning device, and the status for iPhone 2G appears to still be up in the air.

Until Apple sees fit to add their own BT driver (and the HID, Human Interface Device profile) for their own BT keyboard, this is another area only Jailbreak can fill. So, as always, if you try it out, let us know how it works for you. Preferably, let us know while typing on your iPhone via a BT keyboard!

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, Vector, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Bluetooth Keyboard for iPhone via Jailbreak BTstack

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What are people typing on an iPhone that they would take time to connect a keyboard via Bluetooth?
I mean...I use mail and other text based apps a lot but I can bang out a text or email quicker than it takes to connect a keyboard, just doesn't seem worth it to me.

No thanks. I already have a keyboard built in to my iPhone. Just tap inside any text field and you should see it pop up.
Good luck.

This is wonderful news. Besides being able to downoad files directly to my phone without needing a computer, this was one of the things I was missing from my switch to iPhone from Windows Mobile.

This is worthless. What are you going to do ? type a novel. People need to remember it's a phone. If you need a keyboard that bad buy a MacBook

Sorry for everyone that finds this useless, but this is great news for me! If I need to type a paper for school, I can use this.
I can type 55wpm on my phone, which is great, but I can type 100 on a keyboard.

They need to be working on how to get rid of the virtual keyboard popping up while using the bluetooth keyboard! Then it will be worth something...

In other words, it needs to have more screen real estate while typing from a bluetooth keyboard. Hide that virtual keyboard!

What's the point of this? You gonna whip this bad boy out every time you get a text? Most people don't know how to formally type anyway. And tweger01, why are you typing papers for school on your phone?

@SaggyBalls: Why not? We are geeks, silly. Some things we do because we can.
I used a Pocket PCs back in the day when I first was in college with a bt Stowaway keyboard. Still have it and plan to use it again with my iPhone now. I was thrilled to be able to take notes in lecture-style classes without having to purchase and transport a notebook. This was before the introduction of low-cost netbooks.
I mostly can't believe that people are so ignorant... "I can type a text way mo' faster than I can connect a bt keyboard". Duh, stupid! This isn't for that. "Why not just buy a netbook?" Maybe I have an iPhone and bt keyboard already and I don't need a crappy netbook. Some people will never understand the need or desire for this functionality; some don't type anything longer than text messages, others can't imagine not having the disposable income to blow on a MacBook air. But are your brains so small that you can't realize this will be really useful for some people? For you, the answer to "Why...?" is "because I can, fool."
Btw, it's cool that you can use Apple bt keyboards, but I don't think most people realize how portable a Stowaway keyboard is. They are tiny, and still provide a similar typing experience to a netbook. These people should stay away from the comments box so we never learn how little they can think.

Until Apple sees fit to add their own BT driver...

They won't... but they do sell computers for this purpose. See for more information.

Yep it's Quickoffice and a BT keyboard for class now! No more paper notebooks, and using the etextbooks app, I'll never have to carry a 50 pound backpack full of books and a heavy laptop to class again! Etextbooks on the laptop to read the material at home, the app on the phone to referrence it in class. My classmates already think of me as a tech nerd, wait till next semester when my iPhone becomes my laptop!

I can understand why most users of the iphone will not find this useful, but for me and other professionals this is a huge benefit. I sometimes have a lot of data I have to enter into a program, and the virtual keyboard is pig slow compared to actual typing (who knew that skill was the most important thing I would get out of Middle School all those years ago). Carrying around an iphone in one pocket of my lab coat and a small collapsible keyboard in the other sure beats trying to fit in a netbook, let alone a MacBook. "Hey doc, whatcha hiding under that coat?" Not to mention the programs aren't even available for Mac or Windows.

Why is everyone hating on this? All the people who think this is useless aren't using their iPhone for work/school.
Why would I buy a netbook or MacBook if I already have an iPhone capable of connecting to a Bluetooth keyboard that I already own? Just because you don't use a feature or think it is pointless doesn't mean it is worthless or pointless. Almost every smartphone have had this feature for over a decade and it was a useful feature for some people.
These jailbreak devs are keeping me interested in my iPhone, so cheers to them. If Apple really cared about enterprise users they would have implemented this from the get go.

You peepz do know that people did have PDA's before apple came into the game. They did this kind of thing, did work with bluetooth keyboards, I know its a strange concept to get work done on your phone but it has been going on. This + Docs to go=getting things done.

@Rhune: Agreed. Between Dragon Dictation and Btstack Keyboard, my iPhone is going to allow me to be a lot more productive on the go. 2 great ways to put down a lot of text quite efficiently.

People said who needs an apple phone? All the net Sayers were proved wrong. Then who needed an app store? Who needed all theses different apps etc. All proved wrong. People always resist the new. Who needs a bt keyboard? I do. And that is enough reason for me. Don't want it? Don't get it.

I would love the heck out of a bt keyboard, but we aren't there yet. Apple is all about user experience as this blog point out frequently. Imagine you are typing away spreadsheet on an iPhone 3.5 inch screen and place the iPhone or iPod on a desk in front of you. How would you see the screen accuratly and how much would you have to lean over to get close enough to place your info into the txt boxes? Forapple this is not good enough. It is not up to the user experience you can get from MacBook. The only thing I can see that would be fruitful for apple is making the user experience better would be to add multipule wifi assessoreis, (IE, nvidia 3d glasses and a bt keyboard) to increase productivity. So the iPhone as powerful as it is would be a lesser user expeience and thus apple would not start down that path.

That's actually quite cool but I would like to see in the app store: connect a keyboard to your iPhone via Bluetooth AND. Playstation and xbox keyboard so I can type quicker without a playstation keyboard

With this would I be able to use my iPhone as a bluetooth keyboard for the Playstation 3?


... but I don’t think most people realize how portable a Stowaway keyboard is. They are tiny...

But, now you want to carry around your iPhone, and carry around a stand to put your iPhone in, and carry around a keyboard to connect to your iPhone because a laptop is too much trouble. Or perhaps it's just that a laptop won't make you stand out from the crowd with people constantly asking you "Hey, what is all that stuff there" because your starved for attention.

Some things we do because we can... I mostly can’t believe that people are so ignorant... These people should stay away from the comments box so we never learn how little they can think.

Agreed. :roll:

I would not throw my BT keyboard in my bicycle bag and pretty much be able to ride somewhere, type my heart out and not need to carry my laptop. And ride around some more.
How cool is that?

Well said my friend. All I did was ask a question, a valid question. I've never, EVER, been somewhere and had to do something so important that I have to carry around a bt keyboard...just in case. To each his own though, I just didn't appreciate being insulted because I asked a simple question.

mostly all tech questions that start with "who would need" are ignorant, because if someone thinks of something it usually has a purpose.

Last year, I took several long motorcycle road trips. I did not have space to pack my macbook. I compiled and sent a rather long travelogue on my iPhone. Most times traveling, my iPhone is sufficient. Having a portable keyboard would be great for when I'm writing from the road.

@Fastlane: Good point. For most people, it's probably easier to grab a laptop than have the extra clutter of peripherals for a phone (although the stowaway has a stand built-in, so it's not too much extra). And yeah, most laptops won't net you the same attention, haha...
Obviously, this app won't be helpful, sensible, or worth $5 for the vast majority of users. I'm thankful that I can grab my bt kb now for some ultra-portable word processing. It fills a niche for what, 1% of people like me with no laptop and random old hardware lying around and need for attention (new meaning for attention deficit disorder) Haha.

Another reason I'd love this is that short sided people can't seem to figure out that we can do more on our phones than text message now days.
I've been in countless meetings and classes where I've been told to put my phone away (even though I was taking notes) and stop texting my "girlfriend."
I'm sure a keyboard would make them realize I'm actually taking notes.
Also, I had a really cool fold up keyboard for a palm pilot 9 years ago; it folded up to the size of a wallet. That would be perfect for this

@iDutch You just contradicted yourself. "mostly all tech questions that start with “who would need” are ignorant, because if someone thinks of something it usually has a purpose." By using the word usually, you're admitting that there are times when a tech gadget really doesn't serve a purpose. Therefore, "who would need..." becomes a valid question, albeit a small percentage one.

It is really a computer that happens to have a phone. When you are doing documents for school or work, you need a larger keyboard. All depends what you need your device for.

On my trip to China/Tibet a couple of years ago, I took a Palm Lifedrive PDA with a small fold out keyboard and it was perfect for taking notes/journaling and doing some light word processing/emailing. It was also perfect on a multiday bike ride where we didn't want to carry alot of extra stuff. Also backpacking trips (either wilderness or the european kind hostels/trains) would also be perfect.
I've been waiting for this to come out for the iPhone so it can finally do all the things that my old Palm Lifedrive did (though it also does lots more stuff as well).

It's a great addition for those that would use it, as is any addition to the iPhone. There's no need to chastise one another over it's significance.
I actually do type novels; and find it cool that they sell compact, portable bluetooth keyboards that are more efficient than the virtual keyboard when away from my computer. However, that's just me. I appreciate a device that can be so flexible.

I think this is a neat idea and potentially useful primarily to those seeking to use an iPhone to further replace their notebook/laptop. I remember being interested in a BT keyboard with PalmOS devices and found I did not use it as much as I anticipated. But, having a Stowaway keyboard and iPhone takes up less room and is more easily charged for much longer periods of time than a laptop. So, it could be a worthwhile replacement if the user was willing to deal with the current tradeoffs.

It's hard to imagine how few people get that smart phones are our future computers. But it's obvious from a lot of these posts that they just don't get it. Imagine your phone is the CPU and hard drive of your personal computer. It's always with you, on your person. It does almost everything, from phone calls, TV, to swiping it to purchase goods. When you go home and want a larger display, it just hooks into your TV or any dumb terminal. Want to type faster and use a mouse, no problem. The smart phone is just the core, the hub. A host of peripherals can be connected to it depending on hour needs. And I'm just stating the obvious, much bigger things than this will surely be thought up, but this seems to be the way things are headed, at least I hope. The smart phone is the new desktop and Dell is shaking in their boots; hence the news about them getting into phones. I thought TIPB readers were more advanced than this. The haters posting on this thread must be new visitors as they have shown themselves as ignorantly short sighted.

Is there a way of simulate a bluetooth keyboard using a desktop keyboard (windows) with a bluetooth dongle?? It would be perfect for me, because i don't have a bluetooth keyboard yet! Thanks!

I am having trouble with BTstack. Okaky I downloaded it form Cydia and when I run it for some reason it says that it has found a source for connection via a Nokia is that possible when I am using a ipod touch 2nd gen? Ok after that it finds the keyboard but then searches for something else that I have no idea what for. It's just not working. Any advice.

I spend too much time in transit, restaurants, coffee shops & airplanes, and I like to travel light (the clothes on my back). Since getting the right apps and sync set up properly on my iPhone, I have managed to shed my laptop pretty successfully over the last year. But it's pretty darned tough to keep up with email without a laptop keyboard to clack on. Since I loaded up BTStack & started carrying my foldable Stowaway keyboard (plus nice earbuds and micro-charger), I've discovered I can actually manage bag-less overnights now as well. Everything in my pockets, no lumps, no discernible weight, no discomfort (drip dry underclothes and a suit jacket help). Perhaps I'm an extreme case, but I'm as connected as anyone I know and I seldom carry a bag any more...perhaps only 15% of my trips.
By the way, I guess iGo bought ThinkOutside, and I cannot find the Stowaway keyboard new and in stock any more. I happen to have two so I'm covered when my current one (inevitably) fails, but I would like to think the idea of a super-portable, high quality keyboard is still shared by many beyond just this list. Anyone know anything about the Palm mini BT keyboard, or any other options?

I have the same problem as someone else previous mentioned.
Bluetooth std Logitech Nivo works perfectly with iphone.
I typed all of this on the Logitech Keyboard. Handy when you want to text someone something complex and also have an iphone. If you know 6 or more people with iphones then long messages to them are easy to read. Although it works pefectly. There has to be a way to kill somehow the onscreen keyboard so you can have the whole screen visible.

The post above says that "Palm Universal Wireless Keyboard" is supported, but what is the connection type? That keyboard doesn't seem to be bluetooth, and there's no usb to try to place a dongle.
Anyone have an idea?

can I buy it? I lost cydia from my iphone when updating and I'd like to have this app in my iphone