iPhone × Bluetooth Keyboard: The Definitive Guide


𝓘𝓽 𝓶𝓲𝓰𝓱𝓽 𝓼𝓸𝓾𝓷𝓭 𝓪 𝓵𝓲𝓽𝓽𝓵𝓮 𝓼𝓲𝓵𝓵𝔂... 𝓘𝓽 𝓶𝓲𝓰𝓱𝓽 𝓵𝓸𝓸𝓴 𝓪 𝓵𝓲𝓽𝓽𝓵𝓮 𝓼𝓽𝓻𝓪𝓷𝓰𝓮...

...but real, lovely iPhone users all over the world prop our phones up on broken, hand-me-down MagSafe docks, ratchet them into terrible homemade tripod/car windshield mount hybrid monstrosities, or simply rest them on the back of our hands so that we may type to them on physical keycaps.

Apple Insider History

Some of us having been doing so regularly since support for Bluetooth keyboard inputs were first added, (actually at least one of us has actually been using an external hardware keyboard with mobile computers since the 1990s... Oh yes. Now you're intrigued, right?,) though nobody can tell you exactly when this was done, or what iPhone OS version first included it.

...yes, from the very beginning, the simple abstract truth that Apple's iPhone supports Bluetooth keyboard inputs has only been acknowledged a handful of times in user-facing documentation, specifically, from Apple.

In fact, here is the entirety of what the current version of Apple's iPhone User Guide has to say about it:

Use Magic Keyboard with iPhone

You can use Magic Keyboard, including Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad, to enter text on iPhone. Magic Keyboard connects to iPhone using Bluetooth and is powered by a built-in rechargeable battery. (Magic Keyboard is sold separately.)

Note: For compatibility information about Apple Wireless Keyboard and third-party Bluetooth keyboards, see the Apple Support article Apple Wireless Keyboard and Magic Keyboard compatibility with iOS devices.

Pair Magic Keyboard to iPhone

  1. Make sure the keyboard is turned on and charged.
  2. On iPhone, go to Settings ⚙︎ > Bluetooth, then turn on Bluetooth.
  3. Select the device when it appears in the Other Devices list.

Note: If Magic Keyboard is already paired with another device, you must unpair them before you can connect Magic Keyboard to your iPhone. For iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, see Unpair a Bluetooth device. On Mac, choose Apple menu 🍎 > System Preferences > Bluetooth, select the device, then Control-click its name.

Reconnect Magic Keyboard to iPhone

Magic Keyboard disconnects when you turn its switch to Off or when you move it or iPhone out of Bluetooth range—about 33 feet (10 meters).

To reconnect, turn the keyboard switch to On, or bring the keyboard and iPhone back into range, then tap any key.

When Magic Keyboard is reconnected, the onscreen keyboard doesn’t appear.

Switch to the onscreen keyboard

To show the onscreen keyboard, press ⏏︎ on the external keyboard. To hide the onscreen keyboard, press ⏏︎ again.

Switch between language and emoji keyboards

  1. On Magic Keyboard, press and hold the Control key.
  2. Press the Space bar to cycle between English, emoji, and any keyboards you added for typing in different languages.

Open Search using Magic Keyboard

Press Command-Space.

Change typing options for Magic Keyboard

You can change how iPhone automatically responds to your typing on an external keyboard.

Go to Settings ⏏︎ > General > Keyboard > Hardware Keyboard, then do any of the following:

  • Assign an alternative keyboard layout: Tap a language at the top of the screen, then choose an alternative layout from the list. (An alternative keyboard layout that doesn’t match the keys on your external keyboard.)
  • Turn Auto-Capitalization on or off: When this option is selected, an app supporting this feature capitalizes proper nouns and the first words in sentences as you type.
  • Turn Auto-Correction on or off: When this option is selected, an app supporting this feature corrects the spelling as you type.
  • Turn “.” Shortcut on or off: When this option is selected, double-tapping the space bar inserts a period followed by a space.
  • Change the action performed by the Command key or other modifier key: Tap Modifier Keys, tap a key, then choose the action you want it to perform.

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