MacMost Now 389: Using an External Keyboard With Your iPad

You can use both an Apple Wireless Keyboard and the iPad Keyboard Dock with your iPad. Learn what each has to offer, and what special features you get when using an external keyboard instead of the on-screen keyboard.

Video Transcript
Hi this is Gary with MacMost Now. On todays episode let's look at using the iPad with the Apple wireless keyboard. It's one of the great things about the iPad is you can combine it with an apple wireless keyboard or most modern bluetooth keyboards and use this to type on this. Lets take a look at how it works. So here I've got the blue tooth keyboard and my iPad right next to it let me connect the two of them. I'll go to settings and then under general settings - bluetooth it will look for keyboards and it's gonna see one there and it says its not paired to it I've turned on the keyboard by pressing the button here and you can see it's blinking showing that it is receiving a signal. So i'm going to click right there and it's going to communicate with it. And it's going to present me with a five digit code which I have to do to in order to pair the two keyboards together. So there it is an actual six digit code. I'll enter that in. It's just a random number. And i'll press the return key and then you can see it'll say "connected to the keyboard". So now let's go to an application. Let's go to pages for instance and then I can type in the keyboard here. And the text will come up just as if I was typing on screen keyboard. Notice it didn't put the onscreen keyboard there automatically. Now there's all sorts of special things you can do but the first thing I wanna point out is you can use the arrow keys here. So if you're used to using arrow keys for editing this is very useful you can also use it in conjunction with the shift key and hit select you can cut copy and paste using command X C and V. You can even undo with command z. The keys at the top of the keyboard do special things as well as you would expect you can adjust the brightness with that key there. You also can use the play keys here for the iPod software on the iPad. And you can use the volume keys as well and they work just fine. One of the most useful keys is the eject key changes to bring up the onscreen keyboard or close it. So sometimes there's special keys you that wanna hit here depending on the application you wanna bring that up. So i've heard that the iPad doesn't work with the oldest apple wireless keyboard. And likewise it might not work with some older bluetooth keyboards as well. But it works fine with some of those popular fold up travel bluetooth keyboards that work with palm devices. It connects with those just fine and you can type with em. Of course you don't have some of these special keys. Now of course if you want to go another route you can go with the apple iPad keyboard dock. This isn't a wireless keyboard. This is basically a dock with a keyboard attached to it and it has some special keys that are just for iPad users. So the keys at the top of the keyboard are only special keys they are not f keys. The first one is one that makes the home button on the device and there's one that goes to the search screen. There's brightness buttons. There's one that launches picture frame mode. There's one that opens and closes the on screen keyboard. There's play rewind and next buttons. Volume buttons and all the way at the right a lock button. So which one is better? Well I think the bluetooth keyboard has a big edge. First of all you can use it with other devices like your mac and other bluetooth keyboard compatible devices. Second of all you can use it in any orientation you want. So for instance with the iPad keyboard dock you have to dock the iPad so it's got to be in vertical orientation. Well what happens if you want to type in horizontal mode or what happens if there's an app like keno that only works in horizontal mode. That's a real problem but with this you can kind of position your iPad however you want depending upon the cage or stand you have for your iPad. And of course this is a little more portable, easy to carry around than the dock. So if you found this look at iPad keyboards useful till next time this is Gary Rosenzweig with MacMost Now.

Comments: 17 Responses to “MacMost Now 389: Using an External Keyboard With Your iPad”

    Mark Adams
    4/23/10 @ 4:11 pm

    Have not decided if I should buy ipad. I had iPhone 3g, now 3gs. The 4g comming out soon. Too much $$$

    5/16/10 @ 8:38 pm

    Thanks for the great review comparing the two keyboards. I’m glad I watch it before getting the keyboard dock. I’ll get the Bluetooth model instead. Thanks!

    7/5/10 @ 12:36 pm

    I tried this and it never connected… Do I have to unlock the keyboard from my iMAC before it will connect…?

    HELP = Thanks, Kit

      7/5/10 @ 12:45 pm

      You may need to reset it, yes. Play around with the one and only button for a while. Sometimes it is tough to get it to connect the first time.

      7/5/10 @ 4:45 pm

      I finally figured it out… I pressed and held the on/off button on the side at the same time, I held the “home” button on the front for 5 or 10 seconds… I did this twice and finally, the apple appeared and it rebooted… I still don’t know exactly what I did, but everything is working fine now… And, Yes, my Blue tooth, magic mouse is working… I use it to advance the slides in KeyNote…

      Thanks, Kit

    7/5/10 @ 4:49 pm

    Thanks Gary…

    My next project was to try and connect my blue tooth MAC keyboard, but I haven’t been able to make it work… YET… Should I disconnect the keyboard from the iMAC before trying to connect to iPAD…? – Kit

      7/5/10 @ 5:36 pm

      I think it makes things easier on both ends, yes.

    1/24/11 @ 7:15 pm

    I tried to pair my brand new Ipod Touch 32g gen. 4 to my wireless Apple keyboard but it would not even recognize it. Any ideas? I followed just what you did in this video.

      1/24/11 @ 7:25 pm

      How old is the keyboard? Only the current model supports modern bluetooth — the older ones do not.

    Larry Rush
    3/4/11 @ 6:42 pm

    I bought the Apple external keyboard to work with my Ipad. the first one did not communicate with the ipad, it was returned and a second one also would not work. Tech Support was no help. I found that the ipad protective cover (sold by Apple) prevented the connection to the Ipad. I had to slice away the opening with an Exacto knife in the cover in order to make the pins fit tightly. Very poor engineering, and even worse support. I do
    NOT recommend using an external keypad if you plan to use a protective cover on your ipad.

    Jessy Streur
    5/9/11 @ 7:20 pm

    I have the external keyboard and ipad and they work very well together, however when I am in google docs and typing either quickly or deleting more than about six letters at once, it returns to the top of the paragraph, sometimes for the rest of the deleting and sometimes (when adding text) only for one character.
    Is there something I may be clicking thats making it do this?
    A high school student with an essay due tomorrow.

      5/9/11 @ 7:23 pm

      Does this only happen in Google Docs? If so, then I would suspect a bug in the Google Docs code that is the cause. Google Docs doesn’t work very smoothly on the iPad. Perhaps use another word processor (like Pages) for this?

        Jessy Streur
        5/9/11 @ 7:47 pm

        Thank you so much!, Yes it is only google docs, I have had a lot of issues attempting to make the formatting compatable with other things. This will help a lot bc google docs also doesn’t let me tab.

    Susan Schwartz
    9/20/11 @ 12:31 pm

    I have an ipad and wireless keyboard. WHen I am away from my office, I connect using Remote Desktop app(RDP). My office computer is a PC. Is there any way to ‘right-click’ on the wireless keyboard/ipad when working on the PC through them?

      9/20/11 @ 5:07 pm

      It depends on the app. I’ve never used that one, but I have used others. Look in their help docs to see how the facilitate right clicks.

    3/23/12 @ 1:48 am

    My shift button doesn’t work on my wireless keyboard. Any solutions?

      3/23/12 @ 6:44 am

      First, try turning off Universal Access in the System Preferences. Perhaps a setting there is affecting it. But it could simply be a hardware failure.

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