Using a mouse with your iPad is possible, but a little awkward. Improve the experience by changing this setting.
Even the most affordable iPad is now more powerful than most budget laptops, but is it really a laptop replacement? We recently purchased an inexpensive Bluetooth keyboard and mouse combo and decided to give it a try.
The setup works much better than expected but configuring the mouse to work properly takes time. If you’re in the same boat, here’s everything you need to do to pair your mouse with your iPad, and how to adjust the settings to make them more useful.
How to Pair a Mouse With an iPad
Let’s get to the basics quickly. The first thing you need to do is put your mouse in pairing mode. The way to do this varies by device but you usually need to press and hold the button pairing on your Bluetooth mouse.
Now on your iPad, go to Settings > Accessibility > Touch > AssistiveTouch. Scroll down, tap Devices, and select Bluetooth Devices here. Tap your mouse’s name to pair it with your iPad.
This is when you can see the mouse pointer and move it around the screen, but if you’re expecting a desktop-like experience, you’ll be disappointed. You will need to adjust a few more settings to speed up your iPad mouse experience.
Let’s start right now.
Disable Natural Scrolling
Using the mouse scroll wheel on an iPad can be frustrating because it looks like it’s upside down. When you scroll down with the mouse, things on the screen scroll up, and vice versa.
We prefer elements on the screen to move in the same way as the mouse wheel, and that’s why this is the first setting we always change when pairing a mouse with a new iPad.
You can do this by opening Settings > General > Trackpad & Mouse. Here you have to disable Natural Scrolling.
Change Mouse Pointer Color and Size
By default, the iPad mouse pointer is grayed out, which is a big problem when you’re using iPad in dark mode. We could barely see the mouse pointer thanks to this camouflage and we had to change the color immediately.
To change the pointer color, go to Settings > Accessibility > Pointer Control. Here you want to tap Color first and change the mouse pointer color to whatever you like.
Once you’ve done that, go back to the previous page and activate Increase Contrast to make sure the pointer stands out. Finally, use the slider below Pointer Size to increase or decrease the size of the mouse pointer for optimal visibility.
Change Scrolling Speed
This is also something you need to fix right away when you start using a mouse with your iPad. The default scrolling speed seems to make the mouse spin faster than Usain Bolt, which is great if your mouse pointer goes to the Olympics, but not so great if you’re trying to click the little x button above the ad.
Luckily, we can easily fix this. Just open Settings > Accessibility > Pointer Control and use the slider below Scrolling Speed. We moved it to the slowest speed (near the turtle icon) to keep it at a usable level.
Reduce Your Reliance on Touchscreen Buttons or iPad
When our iPad is connected to a keyboard and mouse, we absolutely hate having to use the touch screen or iPad buttons for things like opening Control Center or taking screenshots. If this bothers you too, then you should set the AssistiveTouch button and configure it.
AssistiveTouch places clickable buttons on your iPad screen and lets you perform physical actions and gestures without touching iPad.
open Settings > Accessibility > Touch > AssistiveTouch and enable AssistiveTouch.
Once you’ve done that, tap Customize Top Level Menu and choose how many icons you want to see when you press the AssistiveTouch button. You can have one to eight icons here, and tapping each icon lets you assign an action to it. For example, the Shake to Undo action can be assigned to a single icon.
You need to do one last thing to finish setting up AssistiveTouch. Right below Customize Top Level Menu You will see a subhead labeled Custom Actions. Here you can configure what happens when you click the AssistiveTouch button.
Under Single Tap make sure that the action Open Menu chosen. This will ensure that all the shortcuts you configured will appear when you click the AssistiveTouch button once.
Under Double Tap and Long Press, feel free to select commonly used actions like Home, App Switcher or Screenshot. Next time you want to quickly perform this action, you just need to double-click or click and hold the AssistiveTouch button.
Extra Mouse Key Configuration
If your mouse has a few extra buttons on the side, you can actually make it do some really useful things including running Siri Shortcuts. This is probably our favorite feature, and here’s how you can use it too.
open Settings > Accessibility > Touch > AssistiveTouch. Now you have to tap Devices and then pressing Bluetooth Devices. Under Connected Devices tap your mouse name. Here, tap Customize Additional Buttons and then click any additional button on your mouse.
This button will now appear on the screen as Button X where X is the number that iPadOS assigns. Tap that and then you can add whatever features you need, like Pinch and Rotate, Hold and Drag, Screenshot, Volume Down or Up, or even your favorite Siri Shortcuts.
Your Mouse Feels on the iPad
With this setup, your mouse will feel like it should ship with the iPad. However, it will take you a while to get used to all the awesome mouse shortcuts you’ve just configured. But once you do, there’s no way to go back to the old touchscreen.