How to use a mouse or trackpad with your iPhone or iPad

In iOS 13 and iPadOS, your devices gain the ability to use mice and (in a limited sense) external trackpads. This isn't adding full mouse support that turns your iPad into a true blue MacBook replacement. It's an accessibility feature that will make it easier for some people to interact with their iOS devices as an expansion of the existing AssistiveTouch capabilities in iOS.

Here's how to get set up and using a mouse or trackpad with your iPhone or iPad.

Apple occasionally offers updates to iOS, watchOS, tvOS, and macOS as closed developer previews or public betas for iPhone, iPad, Apple TV and Mac (sadly, no public beta for the Apple Watch). While the betas contain new features, they also contain pre-release bugs that can prevent the normal use of your iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV, or Mac, and are not intended for everyday use on a primary device. That's why we strongly recommend staying away from developer previews unless you need them for software development, and using the public betas with caution. If you depend on your devices, wait for the final release.

How to enable AssistiveTouch on iPhone and iPad

  1. Open Settings on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap Accessibility.
  3. Tap Touch under Physical and Motor.
  4. Tap AssistiveTouch.
  5. Tap the switch next to AssistiveTouch so it's in the green 'on' position.

How to connect a Bluetooth mouse to your iPhone or iPad

  1. Open Settings on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap Accessibility.
  3. Tap Touch under Physical and Motor.
  4. Tap AssistiveTouch.
  5. Tap Pointing Devices.
  6. Tap Bluetooth Devices…
  7. Put your Bluetooth mouse into pairing mode.
  8. Tap the name of your mouse when it appears on the menu in your iPad. Your mouse will now connect to your iPad.

Once connected, your mouse should be good to go. You'll see a circular cursor appear on your device's screen. To use the cursor, just move your mouse to drag the cursor over something you want to click, then click on your mouse.

Connecting a wired mouse or Magic Trackpad 2

If you want to connect a wired mouse or a Magic Trackpad, it's a simple matter of physically connecting a cable to your iPhone or iPad, whether you use Lightning or USB-C. For example, if you want to connect an Apple Magic Trackpad 2 to your 2018 iPad Pro, you'll need a USB-C-to-Lightning cable, as the Magic Trackpad 2 has a Lightning port.

Once you've connected your pointing device with your iPhone or iPad, you don't need to anything else other than turn AssistiveTouch on.

How to manage settings for your pointing devices

  1. Open Settings on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap Accessibility.
  3. Tap Touch under Physical and Motor.
  4. Tap AssistiveTouch.
  5. Move the slider under Tracking speed left or right to decrease or increase how fast your cursor moves.
  6. Tap the switch to turn Drag lock on or off.
  7. Tap Zoom Pan
  8. Tap on Continuous, Centered, or Edges.

How to customize the buttons on your pointing device

  1. Open Settings on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap Accessibility.
  3. Tap Touch under Physical and Motor.
  4. Tap AssistiveTouch.
  5. Tap Pointing Devices.
  6. Tap the name of your pointing device.
  7. Tap the labels reading Button 1, Button 2, etc. to customize what each button does.
  8. Tap the action you each button on your pointer to control when it's pressed. The options range from simple actions such as single-tapping to opening the dock. You can also assign, if you have any, a particular Siri Shortcut to one of your mouse buttons.
  9. Tap the name of your pointer device in the upper-left corner of the menu pane.
  10. Tap Customize Additional Buttons…
  11. Click a button on your mouse to customize its function on iOS or iPadOS.

How to modify the cursor on your iPhone or iPad

  1. Open Settings on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap Accessibility.
  3. Tap Touch under Physical and Motor.
  4. Tap AssistiveTouch.
  5. Tap Cursor.
  6. Tap the switch next to Large Cursor to make the on-screen cursor bigger.
  7. Tap Color.
  8. Tap on a color to change your cursor to gray, white, blue, red, green, yellow, or orange.

Great accessories

Logitech M720 ($34 at Amazon)

This is an excellent Bluetooth mouse with a number of buttons to customize for your iPhone iPad.

Apple Magic Trackpad 2 ($106 at Amazon)

If you'd rather use a trackpad, Apple's Magic Trackpad 2 is a good choice.

Apple Lightning-to-USB-C cable ($19 at Amazon)

If you want to use the Magic Trackpad 2, you'll need to use this cable.

Questions?

Let us know in the comments if you have any questions about turning on and using a mouse with your iPhone or iPad.

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