Apple reportedly testing a shortcut for changing iPad screen and keyboard brightness

Ipad Pro 11 Magic Keyboard Hero
Ipad Pro 11 Magic Keyboard Hero (Image credit: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple's Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro has no function row.
  • That means you have to tap the screen to change its brightness.
  • But a shortcut is in the works for a future release of iPadOS.

Users of Mac portables can happily change the brightness of their screen and keyboard lighting right from the keyboard's function row. But Apple's iPad keyboards don't have that luxury and it's crazy-making. That might be changing soon. Sort of.

According to code found in iOS 13.5.5, 9to5Mac believes that Apple is working on some kind of keyboard shortcut that will do the same job as a traditional function row. It's thought that the screen and keyboard brightness will get this treatment, although it isn't 100% clear at this point.

We've found evidence in code that suggests the existence of new keyboard shortcuts to change the brightness of the iPad screen or even the backlight of the keyboard. However, we haven't been able to activate these shortcuts yet, and it's unclear if these will be customizable.

Apple already allows users to modify what some special keys do on its iPad keyboards but this would be a step further. And, honestly, one that's mightily welcome. I'd still prefer a proper function row on things like the Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro but it's kind of difficult to update a physical limitation. For now, it's all down to software.

Speaking of software, all eyes are very much on iOS 14. We expect it to be announced during WWDC later this month. Hopefully, we'll see some iPad improvements then, too.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.