iPad and iPhone could get huge mouse support improvements in iOS 14

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An iPad Pro with Smart Keyboard Folio and Magic Mouse, or a MacBook by another name?
Exciting news for full-time iPad users.
Photo: Apple

Apple is planning huge improvements to mouse support on iPhone and iPad for its iOS 14 update, a new report claims.

It is believed users will see more traditional cursor options — like those you’re used to seeing on desktops. Apple is also expected to add new gestures that will work alongside a new Smart Keyboard with built-in trackpad.

iOS 13 and iPadOS brought mouse support for iPhone and iPad for the first time last fall. It works relatively well — and can be incredibly handy for those who use an iPad all day — but it’s certainly not a polished experience.

Enabling mouse support today sticks a laughably large, rudimentary cursor on your screen, and many of the features you would expect from a mouse are missing. iOS 14 could finally bring some fixes this year.

Apple steps up mouse support for iOS

“The changes coming to the software will bring most of the cursor features you recognize from a Mac desktop experience to iOS,” reports 9to5Mac, which claims to have already seen some code from iOS 14.

This supposedly includes more traditional cursors, like the familiar arrow seen in every other operating system. Other cursors may also be included, such as the hand you see when hovering over a link in Safari, the report adds.

Apple could also include trackpad gestures, like a three-fingered swipe to reveal all apps, similar to those you currently get with macOS. They are expected to complement a new Smart Keyboard with built-in trackpad.

Apple reportedly has multiple next-generation Smart Keyboard designs in development, which we first heard about in February. The code indicates it will offer a “tap to click” option, suggesting some form of haptic feedback.

A brand-new Smart Keyboard

“Although we could not find information on the physical shape of the new accessories, the code findings imply a standard laptop-like design with keyboard above and large trackpad below,” 9to5 adds.

These mouse improvements would not only improve Catalyst apps on Mac, which currently lack proper mouse support, but they would also greatly improve the experience of using a mouse with iPad.

Apple seems to have accepted that some users would prefer a mouse when using iPad to replace a notebook, and that holding back these features makes little sense. But of course, all this could change before iOS 14 makes its debut.

We’re hoping to see our first preview of iOS 14 at WWDC 2020. However, with the COVID-19 outbreak forcing similar conferences to be scrapped, it’s unclear if or when Apple will host this year’s event.