Is Apple planning to bring full mouse support for iPad?

Gaming is one segment that almost all big tech companies are focusing on currently. Apple, however, it seems, is more serious than others. The company has already launched Apple Arcade, and now there are reports that it could add full mouse support for iPad, in order to woo hard-core gamers.

Full mouse support for iPad: what it means?

Apple has already introduced mouse support for the iPad as an accessibility feature with the iPadOS. Cliff Maldonado, principal analyst and founder of BayStreet Research, believes that going forward the company may add full mouse support to make the iPad a productivity and gaming platform.

Maldonado believes that the introduction of mouse support could prove to be a game changer for the iPad credentials, making the gadget a mainstream gaming device. “Apple could have a PC gaming play with the iPad with the mouse and the chips prowess they have, the way they’re moving these things forward. It could be Apple’s first foray into hard-core gaming,” the analyst said, according to CNET.

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Apple already allows gamers to connect Xbox and PlayStation controllers to their iPhone, Apple TV and iPad. So, adding full mouse support for the iPad should be a natural extension to Apple’s gaming strategy. Moreover, mouse support will also make services such as Apple Arcade and GameClub more useful.

Since Apple focuses on customers and developers, a shift toward mouse support and hard-core gaming would be beneficial for both customers and developers as well. Also, the analyst believes that full mouse support would give gamers a competitive edge.

“It could be a perfect disruption to PC gaming,” Maldonado said.

What’s holding Apple back?

Many see Apple’s limited mouse support for iPad as a way to limit the cannibalization of MacBook sales. Apple’s current mouse support is very limited and it is even not enabled by default. The mouse support currently is more like a finger simulation. Moreover, Apple hasn’t made any changes to the way the OS works when using a mouse, or you could say, when you use a mouse, the iPad OS is still purely a touch-based OS.

On the other hand, Apple has previously pitched the iPad Pro as a replacement for a computer. Moreover, Apple CEO Tim Cook seems to be okay with cannibalizing the sales of its own products. For example, previously, Cook suggested a similar thing when talking about larger iPhones reducing the demand for the iPads.

“I think it clearly created some cannibalisation – which we knew would occur – but we don’t really spend any time worrying about that, because as long as we cannibalise [ourselves], it’s fine,” Cook said previously.

Additionally, once Apple adds full mouse support for the iPad, it would turn the iPad into a more productive platform. An iPad with keyboard and mouse accessories would surely appeal to many more than a PC. The accessories would also make the iPad more compatible with the Microsoft Office suite and G Suite tools, the analyst notes.

With a starting price of $329, mouse support would also put the iPads in direct competition with Google’s Chromebooks. The Chromebooks have a similar price range and are popular as lower-cost PCs.

How to use a mouse with iPad?

As said above, Apple has added mouse support for the iPad as an accessibility only feature, and it is not enabled by default. The option to enable it is buried deep inside the settings. You can connect both a wired and wireless mouse with the iPad. The best option, however, is to connect via Bluetooth as it is relatively easy, fast and stable.

Let’s check the steps to set up a Bluetooth mouse on the iPad. Before we detail the steps, do ensure that the Bluetooth is turned on and you have unpaired the mouse (the one you plan to use) from any other device. The following are the steps:

First, open the Settings app, scroll down to Accessibility and press it.

Second, press Touch under the Physical and Motor section. A toggle for AssistiveTouch will now be visible at the top, reading Off. Press it.

Third, you will now be directed to another screen. Now, enable the AssistiveTouch using the toggle at the top.

Fourth, scroll down to the Pointing Devices and press it.

Fifth, press Bluetooth Devices, and now take your Bluetooth mouse and put it in pairing mode.

Once the mouse gets paired with the iPad, it should immediately start working.

You can also refer to the video below for help:

Separately, setting up a wired mouse is comparatively more complex. You will need to buy a $29 USB-A to Lightning dongle to connect any standard wired mice to older and lower-end iPads. If you own a 2018 iPad Pro, you need $19 USB-A to USB-C dongle. Once you have connected the dongle to the mouse, follow the below steps to complete the setup:

First, open the settings and go to the Accessibility option. Press it.

Second, press Touch under the Physical and Motor section.

Third, press the toggle for AssistiveTouch at the top.

Fourth, use the toggle at the top to enable the AssistiveTouch.

Now plug the mouse into the device and it should work now.