How to use a mouse with your iPad or iPhone

Ap­ple greatly im­proved the ex­pe­ri­ence of us­ing a Blue­tooth mouse – less so a wired on. Leif John­son re­ports

iPad&iPhone user - - CONTENTS -

When Ap­ple in­tro­duced iPadOS 13.4, hook­ing up a mouse to your iPad be­came a lot sim­pler than it was when iPadOS 13 first dropped, and the over­all ex­pe­ri­ence has im­proved, as well. And at long last, you can hook up Ap­ple’s own Magic Mouse 2 with­out div­ing deep into the Set­tings app or wor­ry­ing about sup­port drop­ping af­ter iPadOS up­dates. Here we’ll show you how.


The eas­i­est way to use a mouse with your iPad is to set it up with

Blue­tooth. Any old Blue­tooth mouse should work. Be­fore iPadOS 13.4, you had to dig in the Ac­ces­si­bil­ity menu in or­der to pair some spe­cific Blue­tooth mice, but now you can do it straight through the reg­u­lar Blue­tooth in­ter­face.

First, make sure the Blue­tooth mouse you want to use is un­paired with any Mac or PC. On the Mac, you can do this by go­ing to the Set­tings app on your Mac, press­ing Blue­tooth, and then right-click­ing on your mouse in the list you see. Click Re­move and the mouse will un­pair.

When you’re ready to pair the de­vice with your iPad, make sure you have Blue­tooth turned on, and then set your mouse to pair­ing mode.

1. Go to the Set­tings app.

2. Press Blue­tooth.

3. Make sure Blue­tooth is tog­gled on at the top. (The tog­gle will be green.) 4. Put your mouse into pair­ing mode. If your Magic Mouse 2 is un­paired, you should sim­ply have to turn it off and on again for it to show up.

5. You should see your de­vice ap­pear un­der a header in the Blue­tooth in­ter­face called Other De­vices. 6. Press the name of your de­vice. 7. You might get a ‘Blue­tooth Pair­ing Re­quest.’ If you do, press Pair.

Your mouse should im­me­di­ately start work­ing. You’ll know it’s work­ing if you can see the new cir­cu­lar pointer mov­ing around the screen.

You can cus­tom­ize your mouse ex­pe­ri­ence by go­ing to Set­tings > Gen­eral > Track­pad & Mouse. There you can change the track­ing speed and choose whether the ‘Se­condary Click’ (right-click) will be on the right or the left. You can also turn off Ap­ple’s ‘Nat­u­ral Scrolling’, which I’ve per­son­ally never found nat­u­ral.


You can also use a wired mouse with your iPad, but the set-up is con­sid­er­ably more awk­ward than it is with Blue­tooth. For one thing, you’re go­ing to have a hard time hook­ing up any­thing be­sides a generic op­ti­cal mouse to any­thing be­low the iPad Pro and you’ll likely get a mes­sage like the one shown op­po­site.

For an­other, you’re go­ing to need to buy the USB-A to Light­ning don­gle (£29 from­bww) be­fore you can hook up most stan­dard wired mice to iPhones and older and low­erend iPads. If you have a 2018 iPad Pro, you’ll need the USB-A to USB-C don­gle (£17 from Once you’ve at­tached the don­gle to

your mouse, you should just be able to plug it in and it will start work­ing – at least if you’re on an iPad Pro.

If you’re on a weaker iPad, you might see the warn­ing above un­less you’re work­ing on a weak, rinky-dink mouse like the HP N18ROU. That was the only model I had on hand that I could get to work on the lat­est iPad mini. As with Blue­tooth mice, you can change the track­ing speed, the ‘Se­condary Click’, and turn off Nat­u­ral Scrolling by go­ing to Set­tings > Gen­eral > Track­pad & Mouse.


You still have to use the com­par­a­tively awk­ward pre-iOS 13.4 method of set­ting up a mouse on iOS if you want to use one with your iPhone. You’ll al­most cer­tainly need a USB-A to Light­ning don­gle for any iOS 13-com­pat­i­ble iPhone, and based on my tests with sev­eral dif­fer­ent mice, only the most ba­sic mice will work – even on a pow­er­house like the iPhone 11 Pro. Once you’ve hooked up your don­gle and plugged the mouse into your iPhone:

1. Open the Set­tings app.

2. Scroll down to Ac­ces­si­bil­ity and press it.

3. Press the Touch sec­tion.

4. In the next menu, you should see a menu item for As­sis­tiveTouch at the top. It will likely read Off. Press it.

You’ll then go to an­other menu. Turn on As­sis­tiveTouch through the tog­gle at the top. It’ll turn green if it’s on.

Af­ter this, your wired mouse should start work­ing, so long as it’s ba­sic enough to avoid the warn­ing we saw in the iPad sec­tion. Again, you can change the track­ing speed, the ‘Se­condary Click’, and turn off Nat­u­ral Scrolling by go­ing to Set­tings > Gen­eral > Track­pad & Mouse.

Since As­sis­tive Touch is now on, you may see a cir­cu­lar menu that stays on every screen, and which in­cludes short­cuts to fea­tures like the Con­trol Cen­tre or Siri. To hide it, you can go to Set­tings > Ac­ces­si­bil­ity > Touch > As­sis­tiveTouch and then un­tog­gle Al­ways Show Menu. Even if you take this step, the menu will stay vis­i­ble if you dis­con­nect the mouse. To make it van­ish, you’ll have to turn off As­sis­tiveTouch by re­do­ing the num­bered steps above.

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