How to customize mouse buttons on an ipad

How to customize mouse buttons on an ipad

When Apple released iOS 13.4, it included the ability to use a Bluetooth mouse or trackpad with your iPad. At first, it seems strange to use a mouse with an iPad, but you will be surprised at how quickly you get used to using one, especially if your main device is a laptop or desktop computer. It’s easy to get started, but the nuances of customizing it to meet your needs are hidden a little deeper than you might expect. In this post I will show you how to connect a mouse to your iPad and give you some options to customize it to work the way you want. Here’s what you need to know.

How to Connect a Bluetooth Mouse to Your iPad

Apple’s implementation of cursor support on the iPad is so broad that you should be able to pair just about any Bluetooth mouse or trackpad by following the instructions below.

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPad
  2. Tap Bluetooth and make sure it is turned on
  3. Put your mouse in pairing mode (see manual for help)
  4. Tap on the name of your mouse when it appears under “Other Devices”

That’s it! Once paired, you should see a circular cursor appear on your screen. You can use that in place of your finger to navigate around your iPad. The left-click button imitates a tap on the screen, while the right mouse button simulates a long press and can activate a context menu.

Customize Tracking Speed & Scrolling on the iPad

Once your mouse is connected, you will notice a new option in the Settings app called Trackpad & Mouse. You can find it by going to Settings > General > Trackpad & Mouse. Here you can change the tracking speed, (the speed that the cursor moves when you move the mouse), as well as the scrolling direction. Apple has Natural Scrolling enabled by default. It is not my preferred scrolling behavior, so the first thing I did was disable it to reverse the scroll direction. Lastly, you can choose whether the left or right mouse button will act as your secondary click. This is a great option for left-handed users who may want to switch the orientation of their mouse.

How to customize mouse buttons on an ipad

The Best Mouse for the iPad

There are literally hundreds of mice you could use with your iPad. You can even use Apple’s Magic Trackpad if you want. However, when it comes to mice, I have always been drawn to Logitech. They have always made good, reliable products that feel natural in my hand, so when the time comes to get a new mouse in my house, that is the brand I am looking at.

A lot of people like the Logitech MX Master 2s for their iPad. It is a fantastic mouse, but it’s not cheap so if you want to save some money, I would encourage you to take a look at something like the Logitech M720 Triathlon. Not only is this mouse great value, but you can pair it with up to three different devices and switch between them by toggling the button under your thumb. The three illuminated numbers let you know which one you are connected to at any given time. The M720 has a 24-month battery life, and two additional scrolling buttons that can be programed to perform additional functions. It also works on both Windows or Macs.

How to Customize iPad Mouse Buttons

If you buy a mouse that has more buttons than a right and left click, then there is a good chance that you will be able to map those buttons to a different function. For instance, I have a mouse that lets you press on the scroll wheel to register a click. When I click that button on my mouse, I have the iPad set up to go back to the home screen. You need to dive pretty deep into the Settings to make this happen, but it is an option if you want it. Here’s how to set up your own mouse button actions on the iPad.

  1. Go to Settings > Accessibility > Touch
  2. Turn on Assistive Touch
  3. Tap Devices, and then tap on the name of your mouse
  4. Tap Customize Additional Buttons and follow the on-screen prompts to recognize additional buttons on your mouse
  5. Choose a function for the buttons by tapping the button number and selecting an action from the list

Top Tip: If you are a fan of Apple’s Shortcuts app, you will notice that you can assign a shortcut to one of the extra buttons on your mouse. Simply scroll all the way down to the bottom of the button actions to find a list of your available shortcuts.

How to Adjust the Cursor Size and Scrolling Speed in iPadOS

If you head over to Settings > Accessibility and tap on Pointer Controls, you can make some additional adjustments that help fine-tune your cursor experience on an iPad. Here you can adjust the size of the pointer, add a colored outline to the cursor, and tweak the scrolling speed. These are really useful options to have and can make a big difference if you have been finding your mouse performance a little sluggish or unwieldy. You can also increase the contrast of the cursor and turn auto-hide on or off.

How to customize mouse buttons on an ipad

More Mouse Options for iPadOS

Personally, I don’t tend to use a mouse unless I am sitting at a desk with the iPad for an extended period of time. Cursor support is a relatively recent addition to iPadOS, but I am always surprised at how quickly I get used to using one. The way it was implemented feels very natural so I do enjoy using a mouse when I get the chance.

If the M720 Triathlon is not the mouse for you, take a look at these other mice that Logitech says are 100% compatible with the iPad. There is something here for all tastes.

By Charlie Sorrel • 11:00 am, March 23, 2020

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So many ways to control an iPad.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The new mouse and trackpad support coming in iPadOS 13.4 is just fantastic. And, in typical Apple fashion, it just works as soon as you connect a trackpad or mouse via Bluetooth or USB. But there are also plenty of options to customize how the mouse behaves, and even how the pointer looks.

You may already have checked the obvious options in the Settings app under General > Trackpad & Mouse. But several hidden iPad Pointer Control options offer even deeper customizations.

Mouse and trackpad support in iPadOS 13.4

Previously in iPadOS 13, you could hook up a mouse and adjust its options inside the Accessibility > Touch > Assistive Touch > Devices > Your mouse section. (Yes, Apple buried the settings deep.) Now, in addition to the Mouse & Trackpad section in the General settings, there’s a section in Accessibility > Pointer Control. It looks like this:

Those options are still there, including the (excellent) ability to assign custom functions to all the buttons on a multibutton mouse. But in iPadOS 13.4, which should arrive Tuesday, you can take advantage of a bunch of excellent new everyday settings.

iPad Pointer Control settings in iPadOS 13.4

Let’s run through those settings, from top to bottom.

Increase Contrast

This switch makes the mouse pointer circle darker. When your iPad is in Dark Mode, the pointer gets lighter.

Automatically Hide Pointer

This setting lets you set the timeout before the iPad pointer disappears. Unlike the Mac, where the mouse pointer is pretty much always visible, the iOS pointer only appears when you move the mouse. The default (and minimum) timeout is two seconds. The maximum is 15 seconds.

Pointer Color

Color lets you add a colored rim around the pointer, and change its color. This all takes place in a sub-window that looks like this:

As you can see, you can also set the thickness of that colored stroke.

Pointer Size

Pointer Size adjusts the size of the pointer, from the minimum (default) up to a fat circle that is impossible to miss on the screen.

Pointer Animations

Pointer Animations Are on by default. This is the feature that morphs the pointer to make it fit what you’re doing at any given time. For instance, if you mouse over some text, it turns into an I-beam cursor. If you mouse over an on-screen button, the pointer disappears, and the button itself becomes highlighted. The same thing happens when you hover over an app icon on the iPad Home screen.

If you turn off this Pointer Animations setting, some of these animations remain, but the mouse pointer never disappears. It’s a somewhat misleading name for the setting, I reckon, because the animations remain, albeit toned down somewhat, in some spots.

Scrolling Speed

This one changes the speed of the scrolling action when you use two fingers to scroll a list, a web page or whatever. Even at the fastest extreme, the feeling is still quite natural and controllable. The slow end, though, seems way too slow (at least for me).

Other iPad pointer options

As I mentioned above, there are yet more mouse options inside the iPad accessibility settings. There’s also the main Mouse & Trackpad settings panel, which lets you adjust the mouse tracking speed, the scrolling direction, and tap-to-click settings (picture above). It seems a bit nuts that Apple didn’t put all these settings in one place. The General and Pointer settings anyway. But now, at least you know where they all are hidden.

Learn how to use a Bluetooth mouse or trackpad to navigate your iPad, and find out how to customize the experience.

Get connected

First, learn how to connect a Bluetooth mouse or trackpad to your iPad. To use this feature, you need an iPad with iPadOS 13.4 or later.

Navigate your iPad

When you connect a Bluetooth mouse or trackpad to your iPad, a circular pointer appears on the display.

Move the mouse or swipe on the trackpad just as you would with a desktop or notebook computer. You can adjust how quickly the pointer moves, along with other trackpad and mouse settings.

As it moves across different elements on the screen, the pointer changes shape. For example, it turns into an I-beam over text, indicating that you can insert the pointer into a text document or highlight and copy words from a webpage:

How to customize mouse buttons on an ipad

When the pointer hovers over various parts of iPadOS, they also change appearance and use subtle animation to help you navigate. For example, toolbar buttons in apps change color, and app icons on the Home screen get bigger:

How to customize mouse buttons on an ipad

The pointer disappears after a few seconds of inactivity. To make it appear again, just move the mouse or touch the trackpad.

Adjust trackpad settings

To change how your Bluetooth trackpad works, go to Settings > General > Trackpad. On the screen that appears, you can adjust these settings:

  • To adjust how quickly the pointer moves when you use the trackpad, drag the Tracking Speed slider.
  • To make content track the movement of your fingers when you scroll, turn on Natural Scrolling.
  • To make a tap on the trackpad register as a click, turn on Tap to Click.
  • To have a two-finger click or tap behave as a secondary click, turn on Two Finger Secondary Click.

In iPadOS, a secondary trackpad click acts like a long press on the iPad touchscreen, or a Control-click (or right-click) on a Mac. For example, when you use a secondary trackpad click on an iPad app icon, its contextual menu appears.

You can also perform a secondary click on iPad with any pointing device by holding the Control key as you click.

Adjust mouse settings

To change how your Bluetooth mouse works, go to Settings > General > Trackpad & Mouse. On the screen that appears, you can adjust these settings:

  • To adjust how quickly the pointer moves when you use the mouse, drag the Tracking Speed slider.
  • To make content track the movement of your fingers when you scroll, turn on Natural Scrolling.

With a mouse, you can also choose a behavior for a secondary click. In iPadOS, a secondary click acts like a long press on the iPad touchscreen, or a Control-click (or right-click) on a Mac. For example, when you use a secondary mouse click on an iPad app icon, its contextual menu appears.

Select Secondary Click, then choose whether you want a secondary click to happen when you click on the left or right side of your mouse, or not at all. You can also perform a secondary click on iPad with any pointing device by holding the Control key as you click.

Customize the pointer

To change how the pointer looks and how it works, open the Settings app and tap Accessibility > Pointer Control. There, you can customize these features:

  • To make the pointer darker and less transparent, turn on Increase Contrast.
  • Tap Automatically Hide Pointer, then select how long you want the pointer to stay visible when it’s not moving.
  • To select a different color for the pointer, tap Color.
  • To make the pointer larger or smaller, drag the Pointer Size slider.
  • Turn on or turn off Pointer Animations.
  • To adjust how quickly pages scroll when you use your Bluetooth mouse or trackpad, use the Scrolling Speed slider.

How to customize mouse buttons on an ipad

Show and hide the onscreen keyboard

Don’t see the onscreen keyboard when you have a trackpad or mouse connected? Tap the keyboard button in the lower-right corner of the screen. In the menu that appears, tap the show keyboard button . To hide the software keyboard, tap the dismiss button .

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Click and scroll away on the iPad now

Apple has released iPad OS 13.4. And while it comes with a number of changes, perhaps the one that most people would be looking forward to trying out is support for the mouse and trackpad. Well, in most cases, the mouse. After all, not too many keyboards come with trackpads right now, and what’s more, not too many folks actually invest in a separate trackpad. So, we are going to mainly focus on connecting and setting up a mouse on an iPad.

First off, do remember to update your iPad to iPad OS 13.4. Secondly, mouse compatibility is available on all iPad Pros, iPad Air 2 and later, iPad fifth generation and later and iPad mini 4 and later. If your device is supported and has iPad OS 13.4, go right and grab mouse magic.

Connecting – easy peasy Apple squeezie

Setting up the mouse connection to the iPad is extremely simple. There is no need to go into accessibility settings or anything. Just connect your mouse – Bluetooth or Wired – to the iPad (using a dongle when needed). In most cases, it is as simple as plug and play. In some cases of Bluetooth mouses, you might need to go to Bluetooth and select the mouse from devices, but that has not happened in our case!

You will know the moment you are connected – a small spherical, greyish, transparent cursor (Apple calls it the “pointer” but we will call it cursor for the sake of simplicity) will appear on the display of your iPad.

Some basic tweaks – tracking speed, scrolling, secondary clicks!

The mouse will work from the moment it is connected with the iPad, but if you want to do more, Go to Settings, and select the General option. You will see “Trackpad & mouse” on the right among the options. Please note that this option appears only when a trackpad and/or mouse is connected to your iPad. It will not appear otherwise.

How to customize mouse buttons on an ipad

Once there, you can change the tracking speed of the mouse – there is a tortoise on end of the scale and a hare at the other to let you know what is fast and what is slow. You can also set your mouse to “Natural Scrolling.” This means that when you rotate the scroll wheel on your mouse, the mouse will scroll contest just as your finger would have on the iPad display.

How to customize mouse buttons on an ipad

Sounds complex? All right, so if you have to scroll down on an iPad, you swipe down, and if you have to go upwards, you swipe up, right? Well, if you turn on “Natural Scrolling,” content will scroll up when you rotate the mouse wheel upwards and similarly, scroll down when the mouse wheel is scrolled downwards. Finally, you can also specify which mouse button is the secondary one – the right or the left one. Handy for left-handers!

Customizing that cursor!

That would be generally enough for most users, but in case you want to customize your mouse experience a bit more, well, you can. And rather oddly, things get a little complex now. For, you have to now head back to Settings and choose Accessibility.

How to customize mouse buttons on an ipad

In Accessibility, choose Pointer Control. You will now get options to increase the contrast of the cursor to make it stand out (we chose not to, but some might prefer it) and to decide when you want the pointer to disappear. It is two seconds by default and once again, we found that to be adequate. You also get the option to change the color of the cursor. You can choose from white, red, blue, green, yellow and orange or simply opt to have no color at all. The point to note is that the color of the cursor itself will not change – it will remain slightly grey-ish. You will, however, get a border of the color you have chosen around the cursor, and you also get the option to change the thickness of this border by increasing or decreasing Stroke Size, another option on this window.

How to customize mouse buttons on an ipad

Want a bigger cursor? Just choose the Cursor Size option and make it more of a blob than a drop if you so wish. You can also increase or decrease scrolling speed and finally, there is the matter of Pointer Animations. By default, the cursor comes with some animations, it sort of blends into a selected icon for instance or wraps itself around some options. We think this is very cool but if you find it distracting, go ahead and turn it off.

Meddling with the mouse buttons!

Finally, you can also choose to change some settings on the mouse itself. Once again, you will have to head to Settings and once again, you will have to choose Accessibility. There, choose the Touch. This will take you to different touch options. Just pick Assistive Touch (it will be turned off by default). Do not worry, this will turn it on straight away, it will simply take you to the Assistive Touch section, and there you have to choose Devices. The next window should show you the name of your mouse.

How to customize mouse buttons on an ipad

Click on this and you get the option to customize mouse buttons. You can choose from a whole number of options in this regard, and can even customize the primary button if you wish. So you can set the right mouse button to invoke the app switcher (showing open apps) or to open the Control Centre or take you to the Home screen or even invoke Siri. There is a whole lot you can do out there – you can even set what happens when you click the mouse wheel.

How to customize mouse buttons on an ipad

There is a tiny tweak however you will have to make. To make these changes take effect, you will have to enable Assistive Touch. Doing so will place a tiny Menu button on the display at all times, tapping which will allow you to access functions like the Control Centre, Notifications, Siri and other features.

You can opt to let the Menu button remain but we found it too similar to the cursor itself and did not actually need it, so we just turned off the Always Showed Menu option in the Assistive Touch section. Just remember that the Menu button will not appear only when the mouse is connected. It will pop up when you disconnect the mouse if you have Assistive Touch turned on. Frankly, we have no real problems with it, given the control we get over the mouse buttons.

That’s all there is to it. Get going and start using your mouse or trackpad with your iPad.

How to customize mouse buttons on an ipad

Apple now lets you control your iPad with a mouse or trackpad, but navigating using a mouse can be cumbersome without the ability to quickly click and go Home. Luckily, there are several ways to access the iPad’s Home screen using only the mouse.

Connecting a Mouse to Your iPad

In case you haven’t connected a mouse to your iPad yet, know that mouse support only works in iPadOS 13 and up. So, if you’d like to use a mouse, make sure you update your iPad to the latest version of iPadOS.

Most people connect a mouse to their iPad wirelessly using Bluetooth. Others connect pointing devices through a wired connection by using a Lightning to USB or a USB-C to USB adapter, depending on whether your iPad includes a Lightning or USB-C port. Mouse compatibility will vary by manufacturer. If you’ve connected a trackpad, you can use trackpad gestures to control your iPad.

The Default Way to Go Home With a Mouse

Once your have your mouse connected, you may find it annoying to navigate between apps by taking your hand off the mouse to push the Home button (or swipe upward from the bottom of the screen) on your iPad. And, it’s not obvious how to get to the home screen using the mouse pointer.

If you have an iPad without a home button (such as an iPad Pro), you can move your pointer to the bottom of the screen and click on the Home bar below the Dock.

For iPads with physical home buttons, Apple’s default solution for reaching the Home screen using only the mouse is to quickly swipe downward with the mouse cursor at the bottom edge of the screen. The speed and positioning it takes to pull this off can be fiddly to get just right. Luckily, there are two other ways to trigger the Home screen with the mouse.

Access the Home Button Using AssistiveTouch

Apple includes a wonderful accessibility feature in iPadOS called AssistiveTouch. It provides a shortcut menu, useful for all users, that allows you to perform certain complex physical swipes, gestures, and other functions from a centralized interface. You can also access those features using a mouse. Here’s how.

From here on out, we’re assuming that you already have a mouse connected to your iPad.

Open Settings, then swipe down the list on the left side of the screen until you find Accessibility. Tap on that, then tap on Touch.

How to customize mouse buttons on an ipad

In the Touch menu, locate AssistiveTouch and tap on it. This opens up the AssistiveTouch options.

How to customize mouse buttons on an ipad

In the AssistiveTouch options, tap on the AssistiveTouch switch near the top of the screen to turn the feature on.

How to customize mouse buttons on an ipad

Once AssistiveTouch is enabled, a movable menu button (that looks like a rounded gray rectangle with a white circle in the middle) will appear somewhere near the edge of the screen.

This button will remain on the screen in every app, and it will allow you to activate AssistiveTouch from anywhere by tapping on it or clicking on it with your mouse pointer.

How to customize mouse buttons on an ipad

To test it out, click on the AssistiveTouch button with the mouse pointer. From there, a small menu will pop up on the screen and present various options.

How to customize mouse buttons on an ipad

In this menu, you can click on the Home option, and you will go immediately to your Home screen from any app. There, you can pick another app to run or do other tasks.

There’s so much more you can do with the AssistiveTouch menu, including simulating gestures, accessing Control Center, or even taking a screenshot. We recommend taking some time to explore all the options, because it makes using a mouse on the iPad that much more powerful.

Turn a Mouse Button Into a Home Button

iPadOS also lets you assign different functions to extra mouse buttons, if you have any. Many mice include a third button accessed by pushing down on the scroll wheel. In this case, we’ll be using the scroll wheel button to access the Home screen.

First, open Settings. Enable AssistiveTouch using the guide above, or by navigating to Accessibility > Touch > AssistiveTouch, then tap the AssistiveTouch switch to turn AssistiveTouch on.

While in the AssistiveTouch options (Accessibility > Touch > AssistiveTouch), swipe down and tap on Devices.

How to customize mouse buttons on an ipad

You will see a list of connected pointing devices. Tap on the one that has the buttons you’d like to customize.

How to customize mouse buttons on an ipad

Tap “Customize Additional Buttons…”.

A pop-up titled “Customize Button” will appear in the center of the screen asking you to press a button on your mouse that you’d like to customize. Click the button you’d like to use to take you to the Home screen. We’ll use the center mouse wheel button as an example.

After clicking the button on your mouse you want to customize, a menu will appear with many options. Choose “Home” by tapping on it.

Next, navigate back out of this list by tapping the blue-colored name of your pointing device at the top of the screen.

How to customize mouse buttons on an ipad

From now on, whenever you push on the mouse button you picked, you will be taken to the Home menu, which brings a whole new world of handiness to using a mouse on the iPad.

If you’d like to customize other extra mouse buttons to do other tasks (such as launching the App Switcher), use the same steps detailed above but click a different button when you reach the Customize Button pop-up.

A Few Extra iPad Mouse Tips

Here are a few other tips about using a mouse with an iPad that may come in handy. For a detailed look at using and customizing mouse or trackpad pointer on the iPad, check out our in-depth guide.

  • You can change the behavior of the scroll wheel on the mouse in General > Trackpad & Mouse > Natural Scrolling. On that screen, you can also change the tracking speed and choose which button works as the primary click button.
  • The “Trackpad & Mouse” options only appear in Settings if a mouse or trackpad is connected to the iPad, so don’t be alarmed if it doesn’t show up at first.
  • If you have a mouse with a scroll wheel that tilts to the left or the right, you can tilt it to move between pages of app icons on the Home screen.
  • You can customize the size and color of the mouse pointer in Settings > Accessibility > Pointer Control.

When paired with a keyboard, a mouse can unlock amazing productivity gains with your iPad, especially in apps (such as spreadsheet or photo editing apps) that require many precise taps to get things done. Have fun, and happy clicking!

Microsoft Mouse and Keyboard Center software provides default commands for all of the mouse buttons. You can reassign some buttons to different commands or keyboard shortcuts to better fit your work style. You can also disable buttons you might press accidentally, such as the wheel button. If you don’t have the software or want to learn more, go to Mouse & Keyboard Center Download.

To reassign a button across all applications

Using the mouse that you want to configure, start Microsoft Mouse and Keyboard Center.

Select basic settings.

Select the button that you want to reassign.

In the list of the button that you want to reassign, select a command.
To disable a button, select Disable this button.

You must assign the Click command to either the left or right button. You can assign this command to additional buttons if you want.

Reassigned button commands may not work as expected for some programs or games. Some programs or games may not support customized button assignments.

Some mouse models include specialized buttons that cannot be reassigned.

How do I reassign my mouse buttons for a specific application?

You can assign mouse buttons to perform different commands in different programs. For example, you can assign the same mouse button to activate Digital Ink when in PowerPoint, a macro when in a game, and the Magnifier when in any other application.

To reassign a button for a specific program

Using the mouse that you want to configure, start Microsoft Mouse and Keyboard Center.

Select the app-specific settings.

Click Add New button, select the program that you want.
If the program that you want is not on the list, click Manually Add a Program at the bottom, select the program.

In the button command list, select a command.

To use a button that has been reassigned for a specific program

Start the program and click the reassigned button.

Note: If you open a program by using the Run as administrator command, you will not have access to application-specific mouse button settings. Instead, the mouse will use the global mouse button assignments. To enable application-specific mouse button settings, open the application without administrator credentials, or log on to Windows as an administrator.

Mar 24, 2020
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iPadOS 13.4 is now out and it brings extended support for the mouse and trackpad. Most features won’t work unless you’re using an Apple device but, for an ordinary Bluetooth or USB mouse, you do still have the option to customize the mouse pointer on iPadOS. Here’s how.

Customize mouse pointer

First, connect your mouse to your iPad. You can use both a Bluetooth mouse, like Apple’s Magic Mouse, or a mouse that connects via a USB dongle but you will need an adapter to connect it to the iPad.

Open the Settings app and go to Accessibility. Tap on ‘Pointer Control’. You will see entire section dedicated to ‘Appearance’. Under it, you can increase the contrast of the pointer making it easier to see, or you can change its color.

How to customize mouse buttons on an ipad

The color options are limited but the pointer itself is designed such that you won’t have trouble seeing it regardless of what type of app you’re working in. If you do have trouble, remember the contrast option mentioned earlier.

How to customize mouse buttons on an ipad

As far as appearance goes, this is the only change you can make. You can change the tracking speed or the scroll speed, depending on the device that you’ve connected. For a trackpad, you will find that you can use an extensive amount of gestures, much like those you can use on macOS. There are also keyboards with built-in trackpads now available from Apple and they’ll work just as well.

One other change that’s been made to the pointer’s appearance in iPadOS has to do with context. Before, no matter what type of app you were using, or what sort of element the pointer was positioned over, it always had the one appearance i.e., the little round dot. Now, the pointer changes its appearance based on what sort of content it is interacting with.

One example of this is text; in text boxes or text fields such as those you find in a spreadsheet, or just in simple note-taking apps, the pointer changes to a caret. This makes it easier to select text with the mouse since you can tell where it’s positioned. We tested it out with Google Sheets and it seems to take a little time to detect that it’s on an active text field.

How to customize mouse buttons on an ipad

Apps might need to update to accommodate this new feature which might be why there was a delay between the pointer’s appearance changing. For now, that’s the one context-based change in its appearance we found but perhaps there are others as well.

KEY POINTS

  • Apple has improved the iPad’s mouse support
  • iPad users can now enjoy deeper customization of the mouse for a better user experience
  • Customization options include adjustable pointer sizes, colors, animations and more

Apple has finally improved support for mice and trackpads on the iPad, allowing users to do more things on their device using the input peripherals. Now, users can enjoy a deep level of customization that the iPad didn’t offer before.

Apple Insider reported that one of the major improvements that Apple introduced to the iPad’s mouse support is the ability to customize the mouse’s pointer size, color, what it does when it hovers on different things on the screen and more. The improvements allows users to make their iPad more useful to them, especially when it is connected to a mouse or a trackpad.

Here’s a quick look at how to customize all those things easily for a unique, personalized iPad user experience:

Pointer Size

Users can enlarge or reduce the pointer size according to their preferences. First, users will need to launch the Settings app, then proceed to Accessibility, then Pointer Control. Once there, users can adjust the Pointer Size slider to make the pointer go bigger or smaller.

Pointer Color

Users will also be able to change the pointer color under Pointer Control. First, users can toggle the Increase Contrast switch to make the pointer look more opaque. This will help users distinguish the pointer when using it.

Next, by clicking on Color, users will be taken to a sub-menu that allows them to choose from six colors that can be used as a border for the mouse pointer. These colors –white, blue, red, green, yellow and orange– will make the pointer look more visible when in use. Users can also adjust the border’s stroke size using the slider beneath the colors sub-menu.

Those who are worried about the pointer obstructing their view of things displayed on the screen can go back to the Appearance section and click on Automatically Hide Pointer to set a specific amount of time the iPad will wait before the pointer disappears. The pointer will reappear when the mouse is moved.

Pointer Animations

The pointer’s look normally changes when it hovers above different elements on the screen. For example, the pointer shapes-shift to a button when hovering above a button. At times, it changes to become a hand with its index finger pointing out as if to tap on something. Users who don’t like these animations can simply turn it off by toggling the switch next to Pointer Animations.

There are more ways to customize the pointer on the iPad. Check back for more tips as they come.

How to customize mouse buttons on an ipad

2020 iPad Pro with the new Magic Keyboard. Photo: Apple

How to customize mouse buttons on an ipad

Apple recently unveiled sweeping changes to mouse functionality in iPadOS. Starting with iPadOS 13.4 (available March 24), you’ll have full cursor support when using a Bluetooth mouse or trackpad.

These features launched alongside Apple’s new Magic Keyboard with Trackpad, but they will work with any compatible accessory. So, continue reading to find out how to take full advantage of these new cursor features in iOS 13.4!

First, Connect a Mouse via Bluetooth

In the previous version of iOS 13, you had to connect your mouse in the Accessibility settings. Now, in iOS 13.4, you can connect your mouse directly in Bluetooth settings. Before you try to connect your mouse, make sure it’s not connected to your Mac or another device.

On your iPad, go to Settings > Bluetooth and look for your mouse. It should be at the bottom of the list. Tap on the entry for the mouse, and it should pair automatically.

Wake the iPad

Once connected, you can use your mouse to control the cursor on the screen. The mouse can wake your iPad from sleep, so merely moving it will turn on the iPad’s display.

How to Use the Cursor on an iPad

The cursor appears as a circle by default and is not the arrow we are accustomed to seeing on a computer. You can use it to click around the interface in place of tapping your finger. You’ll notice the cursor change as you scroll over different content.

  1. When your cursor is on the Home screen or the dock, you will see a circle.
  2. When you hover over an open document that you can edit, it will change to the familiar I-beam bar for selecting text.
  3. Buttons also are highlighted as you hover over them.

Clicking and Right-Clicking

Clicking the mouse works just like a tap on the screen. Use it to open apps, select menu items, and more. There’s also support for right-clicking, which will open a contextual menu where available.

Accessing the Homescreen

At the bottom of the screen is a small white bar that can you click on to return to the Home screen.

Accessing the Dock

Move the mouse down to the bottom of the screen to reveal the dock. You may have to move downwards further than expected to reveal it. Also, make sure you are not hovering over the white Home screen bar

Using Control Center

Make the Control Center appear by moving the cursor to the top right corner of the screen and clicking on the status bar indicators for battery and Wi-Fi. Inside the Control Center, you can interact with the widgets and use a right-click on a widget to open a contextual menu with additional options.

View Your Notifications

To access your notifications, move the cursor to the top edge of the screen and drag upwards.

Reveal Slide Over Apps

Move the cursor to the right side of the screen to reveal the Slide Over apps. Once again, you may have to move rightwards outside the bounds of the screen.

Gestures (Mouse)

The mouse functionality in iOS also supports gestures.

  1. You can use your finger to scroll through a document or web page.
  2. Swiping left and right also works inside of apps.
  3. In Safari, it will move you forward and backward through your web pages, for example.

Gestures (Trackpad)

A trackpad supports all of the aforementioned features and adds support for gestures.

  1. You can use a two-finger scroll to move through a document or web page.
  2. The three-finger swipe is exceptionally versatile. You can use a three-finger swipe to the left or the right to cycle through your open applications.
  3. Swiping with three fingers upwards will bring you to the home screen while a three-finger pinch gesture will close the current app and open the multitasking tray.

Change Cursor Tracking Speed

The cursor tracking speed is slow by default, you can speed it up by going to the Settings app and scrolling until you see Accessibility > Pointer Control. Use the slider to adjust the speed.

If you are using a trackpad, you may also want to disable the inertia feature, which moves the cursor a bit after you have removed your fingers from the trackpad. That’s a personal preference, as some people don’t like this extra cursor movement.

How to Change Trackpad Settings on an iPad

If you are using a Bluetooth trackpad or Apple’s new Magic Keyboard with Trackpad, there will be a new Trackpad menu inside Settings > General. Here you can change cursor speed, tap-to-click, and more.

How to Change the Appearance of the Cursor

The iPad cursor appears as a small grey circle instead of the familiar arrow. You can change how it looks and behaves by going to Settings > Accessibility > Pointer Control.