• Lowell

iPad Meets Mouse

Beginning with iPad OS 13.4, Apple provided Bluetooth mouse support. I have used a mouse extensively since that time. There are upsides and downsides to using a mouse, of course.

Downsides

  1. A mouse is an extra piece of equipment to carry around.

  2. On some websites, you cannot scroll left/right with the mouse.

Upsides

  1. Your screen stays cleaner because you aren't constantly touching it with your finger or stylus.

  2. Navigate your iPad similarly to navigating your computer.

Connect and configure the mouse

On the iPad, go to Settings>Bluetooth and then follow your mouse instructions for pairing mode. When the mouse name appears in the Bluetooth devices section, tap it to connect the devices.

  1. At Settings>General>Trackpad & Mouse, set the tracking speed and secondary click option (I chose the default right-click setting).

  2. Turn off Natural Scrolling if you want mouse movements to mimic mouse actions on a computer. Otherwise, the mouse scroll wheel will move opposite to what you expect.

  3. At Settings>Accessibility>Pointer Control, set pointer contrast, hiding options, color, size and scrolling speed to your liking. I also activated Pointer Animations, which visually indicates when an icon is active.

  4. Assistive Touch allows swiping left/right on websites with horizontal scrolling, but, this option places a distracting 1/2” X 1/2” icon on the screen. Go back one level and click Touch>Assistive Touch to activate. Click Customize Top Level Menu to see the options you can apply to the Assistive Touch icon. Change Idle Opacity to limit visual distraction (lower number means less visible). Explore Custom Actions. When the Assistive Touch icon is onscreen, you can long click it and drag it to a position where it will not interfere with your work.

Using the mouse

  1. You can swipe left and right on your home screens by moving the mouse while depressing the left button. You can also do this within many apps on the device.

  2. Scroll the mouse wheel away from you to open the Search box.

  3. Scroll web pages vertically using the mouse scroll wheel.

  4. Long press an app icon with the left button to open options specific to that app. When you release the button, the apps will be "jiggly" indicating they can be moved around. If you long press with the right button, there is no "jiggling" when you release the button. To go directly to "jiggling" and bypass the app options, long press an empty area of the screen with the left button.

  5. When inside an app, drag downward to display the Dock at the bottom of the screen. Continue dragging downward to display the Home Screen. Continue further to display the App Switcher, which is the screen that displays running apps. i had to practice a little to get this third downward swipe to work.

  6. You may not have noticed the small dots at the bottom of your screen. They represent the number of Home pages on your device. You can click any individual dot and move one screen at a time. i had hoped it would change to the screen indicated by the dot's position, but doesn't work that way. It's probably easier to swipe left or right, though. Those dots are small.

  7. Double click a word to select it. Triple click a paragraph to select it. Right click a selection to get Share or Copy options.

  8. Drag across text to select it, but you may get weird results on some web pages. this depends on how the page is programmed/formatted.

Additional Thoughts

I bought the Logitech M590 because it has a soft click feature for the buttons. I thought this would limit irritating others in the room with me with constant clicks, and it does. What I didn't anticipate is a noisy scroll wheel. Fortunately, I do more clicking than scrolling.


I have the Logitech M720 mouse on my laptop. It supports connections to three different devices and the M590 supports two connections. I've paired both of them to both the iPad and computer. there are times when I'm working from both devices at the same time. It is sometimes easier to press a button on a mouse to switch between computer and iPad, than it is to switch from one mouse to another.


I can use either mouse on multiple surface types - granite counter tops, sofa, bed, mouse pad, even my pants leg (but not easily). This eliminates a lot of reaching and touching the iPad screen, which is helpful during these Covid times. Yes, I have to clean the mouse, but it's much easier to turn the mouse off and clean it, than to clean the iPad screen.


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