The release version of iPadOS 13.4 is on the way, and if you follow Apple news, then you doubtless already know that support for mice and trackpads is included. Maybe you are even running the developer beta already. I know I’ve enjoyed getting a sneak peak of this feature this week. I am very impressed with Apple’s implementation in my limited testing.
As simple as Apple’s implementation of iPadOS touchpad support is, there are still settings and options that let you customize the experience. Here’s a quick look at what you can adjust.
The first rule of trackpad club is….
Whether you talk about it or not, if you don’t have a compatible trackpad or mouse connected to your iPad, the new Trackpad settings will not appear in Settings.
As you can see, the Trackpad heading shows up under Settings-General-Trackpad once you connect a device.
Tracking the features
The more generic features appear here. First you have Tracking Speed, which works in real-time as you move the slider and just as you expect it would.
Next is Natural Scrolling, which reverses the scrolling action of your trackpad strokes or scroll wheel movements. Using Natural Scrolling is “backwards,” which is actually more typical of how scrolling with a trackpad or mouse works these days. Pushing up goes down the page and pulling down takes the page up. Turning the features makes your movements exactly match the action on-screen.
If you have a trackpad (I’m using Apple’s Magic Trackpad 2 for my testing), then you have the option for Tap to Click next. This was off by default when I first added the trackpad to my iPad Pro, but I much prefer keeping it on. I also like having the ability to use a Two Finger Secondary Click to simulate a right click, as well. If you don’t prefer this, a long press with the cursor will accomplish the same thing.
But that’s not all, folks
While the features here are limited, there’s more to be found a little below the surface. Head over to Settings-Accessibility-Pointer Control to see more available options.
These features give you control over the cursor and its appearance. You can increase the contrast of the cursor, which just makes it darker.
You can set the cursor auto-hide delay, which is defaulted to 2 seconds. That’s a little short for me, personally.
The color option is somewhat limited, in that it only adds a colored ring around the neutral cursor. However, as you can see at the bottom, there’s a slider that lets you adjust the size of the color band and make it wider.
The Pointer Size feature is also pretty self-explanatory. Like the Tracking Speed, this works in real-time as you slide, so it’s easy to test.
Pointer Animations simply inhibits the cursor from conforming to objects that you interact with on the screen. The picture above is shown with the feature turned on. With it off, the cursor would retain its normal shape when hovering over similar objects. I like the animations at this point, as it adds a unique element that can help in identifying objects you can work with or manipulate.
Trackpad Inertia is also pretty self-explanatory. Turning this feature off removes the sense of cursor or scroll physics that go beyond you releasing your finger from the touchpad.
As for Scrolling Speed, this controls the two finger scrolling motion of pages and content. This contrasts with the earlier Pointer Speed feature, which controls the speed of the actual cursor.
Consider this an Assist
If you look at the bottom of the screenshots above, you can see a link to the AssistiveTouch feature that has been available on the iPad for almost a year now. While the new Trackpad support is definitely more advanced, there are customization features available there that can be especially helpful with a multi-button mouse, allowing you to define specific custom actions to buttons. More on that another day.
So those are the basic Settings involved in trackpad support in iOS 13.4. While everything is pretty simple, as long as you know where to go, Apple has included all of the typical features and adjustments that you need to customize the basic trackpad and mouse experience. There’s certainly more that Apple can add in the future, and it would be nice to have more of the basics on one Settings screen, but this is a pretty good start.