Steam Link for iOS picks up mouse and keyboard support … kind of

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Steam Link iPhone iPad Apple TV
It's not quite perfect yet.
Photo: Valve

Steam Link for iPhone and iPad just got a big update that adds mouse and keyboard support for the first time. Don’t get too excited just yet, however. While direct mouse input is available, it’s not ideal for many game genres just yet.

Mouse support for iPhone and iPad felt like an afterthought when Apple first introduced it with iOS 13 last fall, but the most recent iOS 13.4 update makes some huge improvements that suggest it’s more of a priority now.

Assuming Apple continues to improve it, mouse support could be huge for mobile games. Valve isn’t going to wait around for Apple to make more changes, though. Steam Link has already been updated with mouse support.

Steam Link adds direct mouse input on iOS

The newest version of the Steam Link app support direct mouse and keyboard input. That means you enjoy many games as they were meant to be played on a desktop computer, rather than being restricted to a game controller.

There is a catch, however. Because mouse support on iPhone and iPad still isn’t quite the same as mouse support in Windows or macOS — it still doesn’t support traditional mouseover — it won’t be suitable for every game.

“As it is, there is no way to lock a mouse cursor to the center of the screen and get relative movements from it, which is essential to first person shooter games,” developer Steve Troughton-Smith explained to Cult of Mac.

“Apple’s mouse APIs right now are only good for point and click games, like Civilization or Cities Skylines, not those where you control the camera viewport directly with the mouse.”

An exciting step forward

That could change in iOS 14 or another software update. In the meantime, though, this is an exciting step forward for Steam Link — one that suggests Valve will be ready to leap on improved mouse support as soon as it comes.

To enjoy mouse and keyboard support in Steam Link, download the newest update from the App Store today. It also brings the ability to play music in the background while you’re gaming, and fixes some pesky bugs.