You’ve been able to use keyboards with iPads for as long as there have been iPads. But mouse support? That’s a different story.
The first time Apple added any support for an external mouse was the release of iOS 13, which included mouse support as an accessibility setting — but you can basically just use a mouse to emulate touch input.
But according to a new report, full mouse and trackpad support is coming in
iOS 14 and iPadOS 14, letting you use Apple’s tablets more like… laptops running an operating system originally designed for phones and tablets, I guess.
Update 3/18/2020: The rumors were true — except we got the version number wrong. Mouse and trackpad support are baked into iPadOS 13.4.
The news comes courtesy of 9to5Mac, which says it has seen code indicating “rich system-wide support for mouse cursors” in iOS 14.
In other words, you’ll be able to see an on-screen cursor that moves across the screen as you move a mouse, and it will change depending on where it is on the screen — you may see a pointer arrow change to a hand when hovering over a link, for example.
Other code points to support for touchpad gestures including two-finger right-clicking… which suggests that not only will the next version of Apple’s iPhone and iPad operating system support mice, but it’ll also support keyboards with trackpads.
Since the code also indicates two new Apple Smart Keyboard models are on the way, it seems like a safe bet that at least one will have an integrated touchpad.
But you don’t necessarily need for Apple to release officially iPad accessories with touchpads. Third-party accessory maker Brydge is already taking pre-orders for the Brydge Pro+ keyboard (with a touchpad) and the company has a standalone iPadOS trackpad coming soon as well. Both products were unveiled in January, despite the fact that Apple had not yet indicated that it had any plans to expand mouse/touchpad support for its tablets at that time.