How to Use Apple’s Magic Keyboard for iPad

Magic Keyboard Essentials Featured

Apple’s Magic Keyboard is a pricey accessory – but a highly usable one. Just like the company’s commercials say, it can genuinely transform your iPad into a laptop-like device. However, even though it looks simple, this keyboard comes with a bit of a learning curve. Let’s talk about how to use Apple’s Magic Keyboard for iPad.

Which iPads Are Compatible with the Magic Keyboard?

First, let’s give a quick overview of what you need to use the Magic Keyboard. Keep in mind that Apple’s Magic Keyboard comes in two sizes: 11-inch and 12.9-inch. That makes it compatible with an iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd and 4th-generation), iPad Pro 11-inch (1st and 2nd-generation), and iPad Air (4th-generation). Aside from that, your tablet must run iPadOS 13.4 or newer.

How to Connect the Magic Keyboard to Your iPad (Pro & Air)?

The Magic Keyboard comes with a keyboard on one end, which is connected to its lid via a sturdy hinge. That lid, even though it’s very slim and light, comes with magnets embedded throughout its body, keeping your iPad firmly attached.

Magic Keyboard Essentials Closeup

That also means that your iPad’s bottom side will “float” a bit, creating very modern and new-age aesthetics. Don’t worry – your iPad will be incredibly firmly connected to the Magic Keyboard with very little space to move. To learn more about its design, make sure to read our hands-on Magic Keyboard review.

The Essential Magic Keyboard Shortcuts

If you have a Mac, you already know plenty of helpful keyboard shortcuts. However, to help you get started in no time, we’ll explain some of those – which you can find just below.

  • Command + H: Return to your iPad’s Home screen. 
  • Command + Space Bar: Activate iPadOS’ search. Type anything and then move through the search results using the Arrow keys. Press Enter to select.
  • Command + Tab: Switch to the most recently used app. You can also hold down the Command key and press Tab to switch between multiple apps.
  • Command + Shift + 3: Take a screenshot. 
  • Command + Shift + 4: Take a screenshot and open the Markup tool, letting you edit your photo and save it locally to your tablet (or share it with someone). 
  • Command + Option + D: Hide or show the Dock. 

How to Change and Customize Keyboard Shortcuts

At any moment, you are free to customize and even unlock new shortcuts, which will most definitely come in handy. With that said, here’s how to assign key combinations to specific actions. 

1. Open the Settings app, then tap on “Accessibility.”

Magic Keyboard Essentials Navigating To Keyboard Accessibility Ipados

2. Scroll a bit down and tap on “Keyboard” (a grey-colored icon). 

3. Tap on “Full Keyboard Access” and enable this option. 

Magic Keyboard Essentials Full Keyboard Access Ipados

4. Tap on “Commands” and select any command to edit it.

Magic Keyboard Essentials Changing Keyboard Shortcuts

5. Press a custom key combination to assign it. 

Magic Keyboard Essentials Editing Shortcut

6. Select Done.

Check These Essential Magic Keyboard Gestures

It’s time to talk about this product’s true power, and yes – we’re talking about gestures (as the Magic Keyboard comes with a trackpad as well). So, here are some of the most helpful trackpad gestures. 

  • Click/Select: Press with one finger until you hear a click. This is one of the essential gestures, used to select an item anywhere within iPadOS’ interface.
  • Click & Hold: If you press and hold, you will select an item and pick it up for any extra actions. That’s how you can move an item and do additional operations. 
  • Open the Dock: Use one finger to swipe past the bottom of the screen. This could be a somewhat tricky gesture, as it does require a bit of practice. 
  • Go Home: Swipe up with three fingers. If you do that slowly, you’ll enter the Multitasking view. If you do that quickly, you’ll return to the Home screen.
Magic Keyboard Essentials Product Shot
  • Launch Control Center: To access the most important functions quickly, use one finger to move the cursor to the status icons, and then click on them.
  • Zoom: As you can already imagine, you can zoom in using two fingers near each other. Pinch open to zoom in, or pinch closed to zoom out. 
  • Launch Search: If you swipe with two fingers from the top, you’ll launch iPadOS’ search. However, this gesture only works on the Home screen. 
  • Secondary Click: And lastly, you can click using two fingers to open any dropdown menu, revealing a set of extra actions present throughout iPadOS. 

Wrapping Up

Those are the essentials on how to use Apple’s Magic Keyboard with your iPad. In case you’re still not convinced whether the Magic Keyboard is the right choice for you, check our overview of the best alternatives to Apple’s Magic Keyboard.

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Isaac Norman Isaac Norman

Isaac is a freelance writer with over a decade of experience covering the latest technological innovations. Mainly focused on Apple-related software and hardware systems, his aspiration is to explore all the ways today's digital world intertwines with our everyday life.

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