Apple’s latest show’n tell at WWDC was one of the best, and arrived with something for everyone. Almost. The company rolled out women presenters, touched on accessibility built-in to new OS versions, quieted Mac Pro critics with the most powerful– and expensive– Mac ever.
Everything expected was given, right? iPad as external display for Mac. Dark Mode for iPhone and iPad. iPad got 30 more keyboard shortcuts. Even the unexpected showed up in Sign in with Apple to help you be more private and secure online.
One item that was missing in public was found in private.
Apple’s new Accessibility version in iOS 13 gets mouse support. Uh huh. That kind of mouse. A mouse that you can use with iPhone or iPad on iOS 13 or iPadOS 13.
How’s that for a surprise? Not only can you use those extra 30 keyboard shortcuts with a decent Bluetooth keyboard on an iPad (works on iPhone, too, but, well, why?) but now you can add a mouse.
Apple buries it and didn’t mention it at the recent WWDC 2019 keynote presentation.
Charlie Sorrel has the location because Apple won’t turn it on by default:
Settings > Accessibility > Touch> AssistiveTouch. You’ll see an item called Pointing Devices. Tap that, and you’ll be able to connect to the Bluetooth mouse or Magic Trackpad of your choice.
Just make sure whatever device you use is recently new because older devices do not appear to work on the iOS 13 beta versions.
Does that mean you get a mouse or trackpad pointer on the iPad’s display?
Kinda. Sorta. Mostly.
You can adjust the tracking speed of the mouse pointer using the familiar hare/tortoise slider that dates back to the original Mac. And the default pointer itself is not an actual pointer at all, but a circle.
What’s not to like?
With additional keyboard shortcuts and mouse pointer support– even if it does not actually point like a Mac’s screen pointer points– this is an improvement over iOS 12, yes, and a way to turn an iPad into a very inexpensive Mac-like experience.
Apple has made it clear that mouse and trackpad support is not meant as a standard UI feature. But like all of Apple’s Accessibility features, it is fully-realized, and offers deep functionality.
Why did Apple hide mouse support?
Apple is a hardware company and they want customers to buy both a Mac and an iPad and not just an iPad or Mac. When they switch, Windows users are free to buy both, too.