iPad and Bluetooth Keyboards

| TMO Quick Tip

It’s no secret that I’m pleased with the virtual keyboard on Apple’s new iPad, but that doesn’t mean everyone is. Since Apple included Bluetooth support in the iPad, you can use external keyboards with the multimedia tablet, too, and you aren’t limited to Apple’s own wireless keyboard.

The Apple Wireless Keyboard is a perfectly usable option for the iPad, plus its light weight aluminum frame and compact size make it portable enough for regular travel or school work. The iPad, however, most likely supports the vast majority of Bluetooth keyboards available because it supports Human Interface Device Profiles — just like most Bluetooth keyboards on the market. That means if you already have a Bluetooth keyboard handy, it likely works with the iPad.

Enable Bluetooth to pair your iPad with a Bluetooth keyboard

Pairing a Bluetooth keyboard with your iPad is a fairly simple process:

  • On your iPad tap Settings, then tap General.
  • Now tap Bluetooth in the right column.
  • If the Bluetooth slider is set to Off, tap it to turn Bluetooth on. The slider will show On when Bluetooth is active, and you’ll see the Bluetooth symbol next to the battery indicator in the upper right corner of your iPad’s screen.
  • Now turn on your Bluetooth keyboard. Many keyboards enter a mode where other devices can find, or discover, them when turned on. Be sure to check the instructions for your keyboard to find out how to enable discoverable mode.
  • When in discoverable mode, your keyboard should appear in the Devices list on your iPad. Tap the name of your keyboard in the Devices list.
  • Some Bluetooth devices require special four-digit pass codes before pairing with your iPad. If a code appears on your iPad display, be sure to type it on your keyboard to complete the pairing process.

Once your keyboard is paired you can use it instead of the iPad’s on-screen virtual keyboard. Keep in mind that the onscreen keyboard typically isn’t available when a Bluetooth keyboard is in use, so be sure to turn off your Bluetooth keyboard when you plan to use the virtual keyboard.

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I don’t really need it, but I thought I would see how it worked so I tried my old white Apple Bluetooth keyboard.  The keyboard works just fine with my?2009 iMac.

When I try to pair it, the iPad recognizes that the keyboard is present but it doesn’t seem to pair.

Any clues, or does the iPad just not work with the white Apple keyboard.



  Is the 2009 iMac’s bluetooth still on, & paired with that keyboard ... and within the bluetooth range of the iPad?

{remedial question(s) I realize, but that has tripped me up in the past}


The keyboard I was trying to use is not paired with the iMac. I just tired again and I noticed that if I have the KB off that I was trying to pair with the iPad that the iPad does not recognize the KB connected to the iMac.

When I turn the other KB on, the iPad recognizes that there is a KB available and then it starts communication between the iPad and KB, the LED on the KB starts to flash and the LED on the KB connected to the iMac does not flash.

I infer that the iPad is only trying to communicate with the unpaired KB.

Still no success.



Any clues, or does the iPad just not work with the white Apple keyboard.

UNpair it with th emac FIRST.  Then it will pair with the ipad.


Nope, my old white one doesn’t work either, and I read another blog with another user with the same problem.


Mine neither.  My old white Apple bluetooth keyboard’s name is instantly recognized and displayed in the Devices slot on the iPad, but yet can’t seem to connect to that iPad That same old wireless keyboard connects easily to either my laptop or iMac after the requested numerical code is entered into the keyboard (via Preferences -> Bluetooth). 

Conversely, the new reduced-size Apple bluetooth keyboard in addition to the iPad connects easily to either my laptop or iMac.  And it uses different software on those last two computers to do this because the pairing process is slightly different [as one enters the pairing code with the new keyboard the pairing numbers disappear but with the old keyboard they all remain on the screen during the pairing process].

On a horse of a different color, neither the charging dock nor charging dock with keyboard can connect to the iPad when it’s within Apple’s new iPad case.  So one has to take the iPad out of its case each time one wants to use either of those two docks.  And taking the iPad out of its case is far more cumbersome that putting it in.

Ray V

Just throwing my name into the group of people with white Apple bluetooth keyboards that dont’ work with the iPad—it looks like it tries, then gives up.


Add thing is when you are pairing and you hit enter when waiting for the number to appear the number shows for a split sec and then you get the error that it was unable to do so.

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