Apple adds trackpad support to older iPad models


Apple just introduced a new iPad Pro, but older iPads are set to get a major update as well. On March 24, Apple is release iPadOS 13.4 which includes full mouse and trackpad support for the first time. It will work on all models of iPad Pro, iPad Air 2 and later, iPad 5th generation and later, and iPad mini 4 and later. Basically, if you’ve bought an iPad in the past four or five years, it should be supported.

Apple says it didn’t just replicate the cursor and mouse experience you get on a Mac. Instead, the slider is similar to the circular one that has been working as an accessibility feature since the iPad OS released last fall. It looks like the circle transforms and changes shape to highlight different UI options as you move around the screen, highlighting different UI elements as well as text to clearly indicate the elements on which you can click and manipulate. While the basic design is similar to the accessibility mouse support, the way the circular slider transforms to work with other elements is definitely new.

The trackpad will also support a number of gestures, including access to the control center, the docking station, and multitasking options such as the Slide Over view. It will work with all of Apple’s built-in apps, but the company claims that most third-party apps will work without any changes from their developers.

Naturally, the iPad’s trackpad support works with the new keyboard that Apple released with the new iPad Pro, but trackpads and external mice will also work. The company’s Magic Mouse 2 and Magic Trackpad 2 will work, and third-party mice and trackpads connected via Bluetooth or USB will also work.

Correction, 10:15 a.m. ET: This story originally stated that only Apple’s proprietary mice or trackpads would work with iPad OS over Bluetooth; Apple says Bluetooth will also work with third-party devices.

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