iPad Pro and Magic Keyboard gestures, tips, and customizations


iPad Pro users, here are keyboard and trackpad shortcuts you should know. Also, learn how to modify the globe key behavior in iPadOS.

Image: Apple, Inc.

With the introduction of iPadOS 13.4 and the Magic Keyboard, Apple has changed the experience when it comes to productivity on the iPad Pro. You can now utilize mouse and trackpad support on the iPad to perform tasks more efficiently without ever having to move your hands to the screen.

I’ll walk you through some of the most useful keyboard shortcuts (some of which are available for the first time thanks to iPadOS 13.4), how to change the modifier keys on your keyboard to fit your preferences, and information on how to use gestures and connect a mouse or trackpad to your iPad Pro if you don’t already have the Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro.

SEE: Apple iPad Pro 2020: Cheat sheet (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Keyboard shortcuts all iPad Pro users should know

These are some of the shortcuts I use on a daily basis when using iPadOS. These shortcuts make life easier when navigating between apps, in iPadOS, using Safari, and using Mail.

Home Screen

  • Command + H to go Home from any app or split screen view.
  • Command + Space to show Spotlight search. You can then search for an app and drag it to the side of the screen to open a split screen mode if the app supports it.
  • Command + Tab to move between recently used apps. To remove a recently used app from this section, use Command + Tab to move the cursor over the app you want removed; then, while holding Command down, press Q.

Safari 

  • Command + S to save the current webpage on your iPad.
  • Command + F to find on the page; if text is already selected when using this command, the selected text will be used for searching automatically. 
  • Command + Option + Tap Link to open the link in a new window instead of the current or new tab.
  • Control + Tab to make the next tab in the list visible.
  • Control + Shift + Tab to make the previous tab in the list visible.

Text shortcuts

  • Option + Shift + Left/Right when a cursor is placed in a text block, it highlights the text to the left or right of the cursor by word.
  • Shift + Command + Left/Right selects the entire line from left/right of the current cursor position.
  • Shift + Option + Up/Down selects the entire paragraph above/below the current cursor position.

Mail shortcuts

  • Command + Control + A archives the currently visible/selected email. 
  • Command + Shift + J moves the currently visible/selected email to the Junk folder. 
  • Command + Shift + L flags the currently visible/selected email. 
  • Command + R replies to the original sender of the email. 
  • Command + Shift + R replies to all recipients of the email, including all of those email addresses CC’d.

If there’s one keyboard shortcut to remember, it’s pressing and holding on the Command button on the keyboard. When you do this, if the app supports keyboard shortcuts, a modal window will appear and display all of the available shortcuts for the app or the section of the app you’re viewing (Figure A).

Figure A

ipadprokeyboard-figure-a.jpg

If you can only remember one shortcut, remember this one, as it’s the gateway to finding out about other keyboard shortcuts.

Cory Bohon / TechRepublic

How to modify the globe key behavior in iPadOS

Ever since Apple released its first keyboard for iPad Pro back in 2015, one of the chief complaints has been and continues to be the lack of escape key for use inside iPadOS and when using VNC and connecting to another computer and controlling it remotely.

Fortunately, Apple has added the ability for customization of the globe (also known as the keyboard selection/emoji) key and other keys in iPadOS 13.4. By remapping this key, you can change it to a few pre-defined options in Settings.

To remap the globe key (or another key), perform the following steps. 

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Navigate to General | Keyboard | Hardware Keyboard | Modifier Keys.
  3. Select the globe key, then select Escape, or another action that you wish to remap the globe key to (Figure B) or select No Action to disable the key.

Now whenever you press the remapped key, it will perform the remapped action. If you ever need to restore defaults, you can do that from the Modifier Keys section of Hardware Keyboard settings by pressing Restore Defaults.

Figure B

ipadprokeyboard-figure-b.jpg

Reconfiguring the key mappings is a powerful new feature of iOS 13.4.

Trackpad shortcuts all iPad Pro users should know

If you haven’t already tried it, the trackpad and mouse support in iOS 13.4 has been life changing for iPadOS users who rely on their devices daily to perform various workflows at their jobs.

With the Magic Keyboard, Apple has added a trackpad to the keyboard cover that many iPad owners utilize. You can use this trackpad, or connect a Magic Trackpad 2 from Apple to the iPad over Bluetooth to get all of the same features.

Read my article on
How to use the mouse and trackpad features in iPadOS 13.4
for more information on this topic as well as information on how to connect a mouse or trackpad to your existing iPad running iPadOS 13.4.

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