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Once upon a time, and not very long ago at that, you could use a Magic Mouse 2 with an iPad so long as you were running iPadOS 13. It worked well enough—for a while, anyway. But lately Macworld readers have been telling me that their Magic Mouse 2 no longer works on Apple’s tablet, and some of them have singled out January’s iPadOS 13.3 as the culprit. The most frustrated users are those who never had a chance to see the mouse work at all, so they’re convinced they’re doing it wrong. Surely, they think, Apple wouldn’t pull support for one of its own products—and who could blame them?
Apparently, it did. I’ve confirmed this with my own iPad Pro that’s running iPadOS 13.3.1, and nada—nothing works. (That’s true of my iPhone, too.) I’ve tried the backdoor route described in my how-to. I’ve tried multiple methods of hooking up devices through Bluetooth. If I hook up the Magic Mouse 2 with a wired connection, I can at least get the AssistiveTouch feature that powers the iPad’s mouse control to recognize that a mouse is attached, but I can’t actually move the pointer. Of course, it’s not like I could actually use the Magic Mouse 2 with a wired connection anyway, thanks to this infamous design flaw:
So Apple giveth and Apple taketh away. But why? I’ve reached out to Apple itself, and haven’t received a response. The weirdest aspect of this episode is that I can hook up every other Bluetooth mouse I have on hand with the iPad and they’ll work fine—and that includes the first-generation Magic Mouse.
This probably isn’t because of a simple bug. After all, Magic Mouse 2 support on the iPad had never worked the way you might expect. Instead of simply pairing the device through Bluetooth as you would through any other mouse, you have to take an unintuitive trip into the Switch Control panel under Accessibility and hook it up through Switches. It was always weird—and a sign that Apple likely never intended us to use the Magic Mouse 2 with the iPad in the first place. As much as I hate to admit it, the Switch Control backdoor might have been something that slipped under Apple’s radar.
So instead our only options are either to use another company’s mouse or to pair our iPads with an 11-year-old Apple mouse. And it’s not like the Magic Mouse is all that useful on the iPad anyway, regardless of generation. Apple didn’t bother to include support for the Magic Mouse’s touch-based scroll gesture on the iPad, so unless you’re using a mouse with an actual scroll wheel, you’re stuck clicking on the screen and pulling down, much as you would if you were using your finger (but far more awkwardly). Apple’s mouse might look elegant, but it’s about the most inelegant means of interacting with its tablet.
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COMMENTS VIA TWITTER
@lindseyromain Well, they just added proper cursor support if you want to connect a Bluetooth mouse or Apple’s Magi… https://t.co/9lFEqbl7Hc
All this mouse/trackpad support on iOS is great until you realize the Magic Trackpad 2 is $115-$130, around 1/2 the… https://t.co/b66WQGui9b
Offical mouse/trackpad support on the iPad is the greatest thing to happen to the iPad since the iPad, imo. Almost… https://t.co/mYgQjJhO6q
Anyone uses the Apple Magic Mouse 2 with iPad Pro and iPadOS 10.4? Does the Magic Mouse 2 support gestures with iPa… https://t.co/Tt4wOPOUZO
@cgalleyedu @Jamsie Yeah. That’s what has my excitement peaked tbh. The trackpad and mouse support in 13.4 is excel… https://t.co/qnpWo6ulsX