A surprising little secret is hidden in the settings of iOS 13 and iPadOS: support for Bluetooth mice. If you've ever dreamed of turning your iPad or iPhone into a disassembled laptop with a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, it does not live up to your imagination. The feature works, and you can definitely use a mouse with Apple mobile devices.
Let me first clarify that I'm not an accessibility expert. I am a powerful individual and this is written solely from the perspective of a user who is curious to try out a new feature. If you need detailed information about using the accessibility features to meet a specific requirement, this article is probably not the best option. Nevertheless, I hope that at least it will give all users an idea of what is needed to make the function work and a full understanding of what it actually does (and does not do).
 How to Pair a Mouse with an iPad or iPhone
To start, you need an Apple device running iOS 13 or iPadOS. Both are currently available in public beta and will be released in the fall of 2019. It is possible that these features will work very differently or will only become available on the release of iOS 13 and iPadOS. That's the nature of beta software. However, Apple's public beta versions are usually pretty well baked, and the features seemed stable enough in my ad-hoc tests.
If you run the correct software, you need a Bluetooth mouse. As far as I can tell, every mouse is enough. In my tests, I used an outdated Apple Magic Mouse that, surprisingly, poses some unique issues that are outlined below. You should be able to use any Apple device running iOS 13 or iPadOS. I used an iPhone XR and a 5th generation iPad – proof that even an older device can handle mice well.
Make sure your Bluetooth mouse is not already paired with another device. If this is the case, disconnect and set the mouse back to enter pairing mode. How you pick up the mating depends on your mouse and pairing. If your mouse is paired with the Mac, open the Bluetooth settings, hover over it, and click the X next to the name. Now you can pair it with an iPhone or iPad.
On your iPhone or iPad, open the Settings app and navigate to the Accessibility area.
Tap at the top of the Touch area and then tap the AssistiveTouch option.
Turn on AssistiveTouch on the next screen.
A small white circle should appear on the screen. That is normal. You can tap this AssistiveTouch launch button to do many iOS and iPadOS tasks with one hand.
In AssistiveTouch Scroll to Pointing Devices in the app Settings screen and tap it.
On the next screen, tap Bluetooth Devices. This section should display a list of available Bluetooth devices that can be paired. Search for and tap on your Bluetooth mouse. Within a few seconds, it should be paired. To unlink your mouse, go to Settings> Bluetooth, tap the blue "i" icon next to your device, and then tap "Forget this device".
During my tests, I noticed that I had to restart the devices before they recognized the mouse I wanted to pair. Hopefully this will work more reliably in the final version. I also had problems with nearby Apple computers trying to connect to my mouse automatically. I suggest either turning off the Macs or plugging / pairing another mouse to calm them down.
If you're trying to pair an older Apple Magic Mouse, like me, you may be asked to enter a PIN code to pair the device. Apparently, these older devices have a hard-coded PIN of 0000. I entered them and paired them without any problems.
In the Pointing Devices area Where you've paired your mouse, you can tap your mouse to see more options. Each of the two buttons on a standard two-button mouse can be programmed for a variety of tasks, from simple typing to pinching and many more.
More options are available on the AssistiveTouch screen. In the Cursor section, you can specify that a larger mouse cursor be displayed on the screen. You can also change the color of the cursor from the standard gray.
Further down the AssistiveTouch control panel, you can track the speed at which the mouse moves quickly across the screen. I found that the default setting was way too fast to handle, and therefore switched to the turtle option.
There are many more settings in AssistiveTouch and the accessibility menus, but here are the basics.
What It's Like a Mouse on an iPad or iPhone.
It was a bizarre experience for me to zoom in on a mouse over the screen of an iPad. It felt weird and somehow wrong – even more so when I tried it on the iPhone. After my feelings calmed down, I still had problems using a mouse with an iPad and an iPhone.
For one thing, it may be better to think of her as a distant finger rather than a computer mouse. Your mouse pointer can only interact with your screen in the same way as your finger. It can tap, drag, but not batch select items on the desktop. However, you can use your mouse pointer to swipe, for example: For example, a swipe down to open the Notification Center.
Also, I could not click on text and highlight it by dragging. Instead, I had to double-click (or even double-tap) a line of text to highlight the entire section. I could then touch the paddles on both sides of the selected area to make it smaller.
Some swipe gestures are harder to execute than others. It turned out to be very difficult to swipe up from the bottom of an app to close it or open the lock screen. I often clicked on the AssistiveTouch circle to access a virtual home button instead.
I am not an artist and have no extensive experience with the Apple Pencil. Still, I do not see iOS / iPadOS mouse support as a cheaper alternative to Apple's custom stylus. I do not feel that it has enough control to work fine lines. It is also difficult to use the pressure-sensitive brushes and shapes that are available when using the Apple Pencil or your finger.
After using a
mouse Bluetooth Pointer on an iPad and an iPhone, it's clear that this is not a truly superior alternative to using a digit if you're capable of doing so. It's great to be able to navigate with your phone and interact with apps without using your hand directly. This is very useful as an accessibility feature. If you are looking for a traditional desktop experience with a mouse on an iPad or iPhone, this is not the case. This may change in the future, but this feature was initially designed to meet the needs of accessibility users, not to emulate a desktop.