As iPadOS rolled out, I was not super excited about mouse support. Oh sure I saw some utility in using it for recording screencasts with my iPad, but I didn’t think I’d use it day to day.
I was completely wrong.
One of the biggest votes in favour of using a mouse with your iPad is that you can use your iPad in an ergonomic fashion. Looking down at your iPad screen all day is bad for your neck, but with a mouse you can put it in a stand and then position the iPad where you want.
For me that means I have my main 4K monitor front and center, with my iPad mounted on an Ergotron clamp and VESA arm on my left side. I went with left because I’m left handed so I can easily use my Apple Pencil to work on my iPad screen when I want to use the pencil.
This does mean I have to turn my head to the left to use FaceID, but it’s so fast that it’s entirely workable.
Mouse support with iPadOS also makes an external monitor useful with your iPad. Before monitor support you had to keep the iPad easily accessible because every interaction you had with the operating system meant you needed to touch your iPad. Now you can just use your external monitor and the mouse cursor shows up on the screen directly in front of you.
While most apps still simply mirror your display, others like LumaFusion take advantage of the second screen. I’ve been loving editing videos on my iPad while viewing the 4K output on my external monitor which I also reviewed.
Ultimately mouse support on iPadOS feels almost entirely natural. I continue to find myself reaching for a mouse when I’m using my iPad at any point. Sitting here with the Inatek keyboard case I’m testing, I wish it had a trackpad so that I could be using a mouse while working.
When Brydge comes out with their keyboard with a trackpad in 2020, I’m likely going to purchase one. I don’t use my Brydge every day, but I do love it when I’m mobile for the day and have a bunch of typing to do. I just wish it had a trackpad because far too many of the places I end up working mobile have small tables and wouldn’t work with an external mouse.
I love using a mouse so much with iPadOS I ordered a folding bluetooth keyboard with a built in trackpad to see if that was a viable option as a travel iPad keyboard. Make sure you subscribe to watch for that review.
Despite loving mouse support in iPadOS, it’s not all roses. In many cases the touch targets feel a bit small. I find that getting the fine control needed to hit them is a bit of a pain in some applications. One notable app for this is Affinity Photo, where I always default to using the iPad directly with my Apple Pencil instead of trying to wrangle all it’s buttons with a mouse.
I also long for the day when more apps support external monitors well. There is no reason my writing apps should confine themselves with black borders instead of taking up the entire screen real estate. Even if iPadOS expanded to take up the full screen width, it would be better than the black bars.
iPadOS also has a bug related to mouse and keyboard support with bluetooth devices. If your keyboard sleeps before your mouse, or the mouse wakes up faster than the keyboard you’ll loose some of the keyboard commands that are typically accessible from the keyboard. No more CMD+TAB or CMB+SPACE until you turn the mouse off and on again so that the keyboard is connected without the mouse.
It took me a while to diagnose that problem, but it’s easily repeatable and super annoying.
Even with these annoyances, I love mouse support and will continue to use it. I also look forward to the day when more apps support an external monitor and take full advantage of all the power and iPad brings to the table.