10 Easy Way for Customizing & Getting the Most Out of iPad Magic Keyboard

When you start using a Magic Keyboard with your iPad or iPad Pro, you may notice some of the standard Mac keyboard functions are missing. After using it for a while, many Magic Keyboard users wish they could tweak some features to better meet their individual needs. Luckily, they can.

If this Magic Keyboard experience sounds familiar to you, the following list of ways to customize your iPad’s Magic Keyboard will help.

1. Boost Your Trackpad’s Power

Many websites and apps still don’t support full trackpad integration, so you often have to stop typing and tap your iPad screen. It’s worth activating AssistiveTouch if you hate having to tap your screen when this happens.

To do this go to Settings > Accessibility > Touch > AssistiveTouch. Here, you need to turn on AssistiveTouch. This will essentially make your Trackpad work as a cursor all the time, so websites and iPad apps that weren’t working correctly before can now be controlled via your Magic Keyboard’s Trackpad.

2. Edit Your Trackpad Settings

It’s well worth spending some time setting up the trackpad to your liking. Many people don’t like natural scrolling; if you’re one of them, you can deactivate this by going to Settings > General > Trackpad. You can also customize settings like tracking speed, natural scrolling, tap to click, and two-finger secondary clicks.

3. Familiarize Yourself With Trackpad Gestures

Even if you’ve been using a Mac for years, it’s worth spending some time refreshing your knowledge of trackpad gestures. Did you know you can zoom in and out by pinching with two fingers on the trackpad, just like you would on your iPad’s touchscreen?

If you’re within an app and want to get back to your Home screen, swipe up on your Trackpad with three fingers, and you’ll go straight there. There’s plenty of other cool trackpad shortcuts to learn, too.

4. Adjust the Keyboard’s Backlight Brightness

The iPad will adjust the Smart Keyboard’s brightness automatically. If you want to overwrite these levels, you can do so, via your iPad. Go to Settings > General > Keyboard > Hardware Keyboard. Then use the Keyboard Brightness slider to adjust the brightness level to where you want it.

iPad Pro Magic Keyboard Close-Up

5. Add an Escape Key

Something many iPad Magic Keyboard users miss is the Escape key. If you’re one of them, you can add it back by going to Settings > General > Keyboard > Hardware Keyboard > Modifier Keys. You will now see a list of keys, which can be overwritten.

Tap whichever one you’d like to redefine as the Escape key, and from then onwards, that key will be “Escape”.

6. Charge Your iPad Via the Magic Keyboard

Whenever possible, you should charge your iPad via the Magic Keyboard charging port. This way, you can still use the USB-C port on your iPad for tasks like charging your phone or Apple Watch, connecting an external monitor, or transfering data to an external hard drive.

You’ll find this charging port on the left-hand side, at the Magic Keyboard’s swivel point. Using this charging port means your Magic Keyboard and iPad will both remain charged. It also means you won’t have an ugly lead hanging down from the side of your iPad, so your setup looks sleeker.

Close-up of a white iPad Pro Magic Keyboard Charging Port

7. Access Emojis Via the Globe Key

One of the features many people miss when using a Magic Keyboard is the ability to access emojis. Fortunately, a little research reveals that pressing the Globe Key on the bottom-left of the Magic Keyboard will make the emoji list appear on your iPad’s screen.

8. Split View and Slide Over Shortcuts

Split View allows you to use two apps side-by-side. To activate it via your Magic Keyboard, you need to open both of the apps you want to use. Leave one of them open on-screen, then use your trackpad to bring up the Dock at the bottom of your iPad screen. Finally, drag the second app you want to use to the left or right of the already-open app on the screen.

9. Use the Keyboard as an Easel

If you’re drawing, or don’t need the actual Keyboard, you can prop the bottom of your iPad against the ridge below the keys, and rest its top edge against the Magic Keyboard cover. This creates a stable elevated easel, or drafting stand, which is perfect for using your Apple Pencil to make handwritten notes, or for drawing at a more comfortable angle.

white iPad Pro Magic Keyboard in Easel Mode on a white desk

10. Activate Hot Corners

Hot Corners have been around on Mac for years. Fortunately, Apple added them to iPad recently too. They are essentially shortcuts that, when you hover your cursor in the designated corner of your screen, will carry out your assigned function. You can choose from functions like Volume Up, Dock, Screenshot, Home, and many more.

To activate Hot Corners, go to Settings > Accessibility > AssistiveTouch. In here, you need to activate Dwell Control. Next, you need to scroll down and tap Hot Corners. Here, you have four options: Top LeftTop RightBottom Left, and Bottom Right. Tap on any you want to add a command to.

Many people choose to add Volume Down to the top-left Hot Corner, and Volume Up to the top-right. That way, you can adjust the volume without moving your hand from the keyboard. Adding Home to the bottom-left corner and Scroll to Top to the bottom-right is great for efficiency.

If you use your trackpad to move to any corner, you will see a small circle appear. This has a darkening ring around it. Once the ring is fully dark, the pre-set action will occur. (So if you set Home as your Bottom-Left Hot Corner, you will be directed to your iPad’s Home Screen.)

The Magic Keyboard Also Works With Keyboard Shortcuts

Once you’ve adjusted and customized your iPad’s Magic Keyboard settings, it’s also worth familiarizing yourself with all of Apple’s global keyboard shortcuts. They can greatly improve your user experience, and increase your productivity massively.

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