Best Keyboards for iPad

Best Keyboards for iPad

As more features are added to the Apple iPad and iPad Pro, making them nearly as capable as a full computer, many of us use them as our primary portable devices for getting work done. However, typing on a touchscreen can be rather frustrating. We’ve tested some of the best keyboards for ipads available, and we can help you find one that suits your needs so you can stay productive no matter where you are.

Fast-forward to the present and iPad users the world over have come to appreciate the benefits of a physical keyboard over the onscreen one, especially for longer typing sessions. While the onscreen keyboard is a good option for shorter sessions, a physical keyboard offers a level of speed, accuracy and tactile feedback that an onscreen keyboard lacks. With the right keyboard, the iPad can even go a long way toward replacing a computer.

If you’re ready to take your iPad productivity to a new level, read on to see what you need to know to pick the right keyboard for your specific iPad, factors to consider when choosing a model and some tips to get the most from your new keyboard and iPad setup.

5 Best Keyboards for iPad 2021:

1. Logitech K380

Logitech K380

The best portable keyboard for iPad that we’ve tested is the Logitech K380. This wireless model is ideal for carrying around, as it’s quite lightweight and compact in size. It can pair with your iPad and up to two other mobile devices over a Bluetooth connection, and switching between them is easy thanks to hotkeys. It’s also very quiet and should be suitable for any type of environment.

It has good ergonomics, and its low profile makes it comfortable to type on, even without a wrist rest. It uses standard scissor switches that feel light and responsive while giving great tactile feedback. The pre-travel is very short, though, so it may lead to more typos if you’re not used to it. There are hotkeys for media control, and some of the function keys can be reprogrammed from a list of preset commands.

Unfortunately, it has poor software support with minimal customization options, but at least the Logitech Options software is available on both Windows and macOS. Also, it doesn’t have any backlighting, and its build quality is only decent, as there is some flex to it. That said, it still feels solid enough for regular use. All in all, this is an excellent choice if you want something small and portable to go with your iPad.

  • Recessed keys make for pleasant typing experience
  • USB-C makes charging quick and convenient
  • Connect up to three devices
  • Number pad makes key spacing feel cramped

2. CHESONA Backlit Keyboard Case

CHESONA Backlit Keyboard Case

Not having a consistent workspace can be a pain if you never know how you’ll be able to use your tech setup. Working on the go is much more common now, but knowing if you’ll be able to find a table or desk to work at is not guaranteed. Having the ability to be flexible with your iPad Pro can help make your work more efficient. The CHESONA Backlit Keyboard Case gives you the benefit of variety in how you work.

The CHESONA Backlit Keyboard Case has three different angles. You can choose to set your iPad Pro for the best viewing angle. The keyboard itself detaches from the case, giving you all the options for your work station. You will simply need to reattach to the magnetic area on the case to reset.

The CHESONA Backlit Keyboard Case offers all-around protection for your iPad Pro so you can be confident when you travel that it’s safe from cracks and scratches. The cutouts for the cameras, speakers, and microphones are precise, so there are no complications added to their use.

Especially if you’re working on the go, long battery life is important. The CHESONA Backlit Keyboard Case has a built-in rechargeable battery that can last up to 80 hours after 2-3 hours of charging. The keyboard will go to sleep mode automatically after 10 minutes of non-use and disconnects itself from your iPad. Simply press a button, and it will reconnect and turn back on.

  • RGB backlit keys adds some flair to the iPad
  • Magnetic keyboard is easily removed to become a regular cover
  • 4 months of battery life
  • Charges using micro-USB, which is wildly outdated at this point

3. Apple Magic Keyboard

Apple Magic Keyboard

The Magic Keyboard is the very best keyboard case we’ve used for the Apple iPad. When it launched it was only compatible with the Apple iPad Pro 2018 and 2020, but Apple then made the 4th-generation iPad Air compatible with it too. That’s great news, as these represent the pinnacle of Apple’s iPad range.

The keyboard is very comfortable to type on. Each key has 1mm of travel, and gives precise feedback with each press, making it easy to type at full speed without much practice. The entire keyboard is backlit for use in low light and doesn’t flex, so it’s suitable for use on both a desk and your lap. The trackpad looks small in the pictures, but it never feels like it. Combined with iPadOS 14 the trackpad makes using the iPad Pro more like a laptop.

The angle of the iPad Pro’s screen can be adjusted easily, and the floating design looks fantastic, while the strong magnets ensure the tablet won’t accidentally come close. The case has a USB-C connector on the side which can be used to charge the iPad Pro, while leaving the tablet’s USB-C port free for a USB hub or other accessory.

Apple’s Magic Keyboard is expensive. The 11-inch version costs $300 and the 12.9-inch $350; but if you want to work on your iPad in any serious way, it’s a great investment. If you buy the 10.9-inch 4th-generation iPad Air, you should purchase the 11-inch Magic Keyboard.

  • Battery lasts a surprisingly long time
  • Apple compatibility makes for easy pairing
  • Scissor switches make typing a breeze
  • Model with number pad makes it less than ideal for travel

4. Arteck Bluetooth Backlit Keyboard

Arteck Bluetooth Backlit Keyboard

The Arteck Bluetooth Backlit Keyboard is a great choice for those who are looking for a budget-friendly price tag, backlit keys, and a long-lasting battery.

At right around $20, this keyboard is a great buy for those who want a keyboard for their iPad but don’t want to spend a lot of money. It’s the cheapest option on this list while still maintaining great quality. The keyboard is only available in black but features great backlight colors that add some novelty and style.

Backlit keys are ideal for those who enjoy working in the dark. This backlight design has seven different colors, two brightness levels, and an auto-sleep feature that helps to preserve battery. While some reviews note that the auto-sleep feature does kick in a little faster than some would like, it’s still a great feature when it comes to battery preservation overall.

The six-month battery life that the manufacturer boasts for this iPad keyboard is based on two hours of continuous daily use with the backlight turned off. While this isn’t entirely consistent for students or anyone who wishes to utilize the backlight feature, it’s still great to know that this keyboard can hold a charge well. It’s also rechargeable with an included charging cable.

  • Budget-friendly
  • Portable
  • Great keyboard colors
  • Last-minute “low battery” warning

5. MX Keys

It’s common to use multiple devices nowadays for work, which can be difficult using different brands of computers. Luckily, your keyboard can help make the process easier. The Logitech MX Keys keyboard is compatible with Android, macOS, Windows, Linus, and iOS and can pair up to 3 of these devices at a time.

The flow cross computer control of the Logitech MX Keys keyboard makes working on different devices a breeze. You can type on up to 3 different computers in 1 easy workflow. You’re able to customize the F-key shortcuts for your specific functions to help maximize your workflow to work for you.

The design of the keys on the Logitech MX Keys keyboard is made specifically for comfort. The keys have spherical dips that fit the shape of your fingertips and leave you feeling satisfied after each type. The keyboard detects when your hand is near and uses the smart illumination hand proximity detector to light up your keyboard automatically.

If you’re looking for a keyboard for your iPad Pro that can help you work on multiple devices while maintaining comfort, this may be for you. The hand detection backlight is also a great feature for being able to seamlessly use your keyboard.

  • Recessed keys make for comfortable typing experience
  • USB-C charging, no lugging around old cables
  • Sturdy build and comfortable typing make it ideal for long work days
  • Still slow to pair, like all other Bluetooth keyboards

iPad Keyboards Buying Guide

The Apple iPad has many strengths, but its on-screen keyboard isn’t one of them. It’s a problem with tablets in general, especially if you’re more interested in getting actual work done than sending birds flying through space. For productivity, an external keyboard for your tablet is a must-have. You could opt for a standard add-on Bluetooth keyboard, like Apple’s own $79 Wireless Keyboard, or, even better, get a combination case/stand/keyboard to protect your tablet in transport, and prop it up for video watching.

Keyboard folio cases come in a variety of form factors, ranging from thin and flexible to sturdy and substantial, but the main draw is the good old-fashioned hardware keys. External keyboards not only bring that familiar tactile feel to your tablet, but also free up valuable screen real estate so you can see and do more while typing. These keyboards also include some convenient iPad-specific function keys like Cut, Copy, and Paste, as well as Home and Search keys.

Key Considerations for iPad Keyboards

  • Size: The single biggest factor in selecting the right keyboard is choosing one that is the right size for your iPad model. Since its introduction, the iPad has been available in several different sizes, often requiring a keyboard that is designed to specifically support that model.
  • Case or Standalone: Another factor that will determine both cost and features is whether you opt for a standalone keyboard, or one integrated with a protective case. Standalone keyboards are usually cheaper, and typing on a standalone is often an overall higher-quality experience.
  • Connection: There are three primary ways to connect an iPad to a keyboard: via the charging connector, Bluetooth or the Smart Connector on iPad Pros.
  • Backlit Keys: Another feature to consider when choosing a keyboard is whether it offers backlighting. Backlit keyboards are not only easier to see and use in low-light conditions, but they can also indirectly save your battery life.

TIPS

  • If you’re coming from Windows, substitute the Command key for the Control key in any keyboard shortcuts. For example, Command + C copies the selected contents to the clipboard, rather than Control + C.
  • Go to Settings > Keyboard > Hardware Keyboard to customize how your external keyboard will function. For example, you may want to disable auto-capitalization and auto-correction for the external keyboard.
  • Use Command + Space to perform a Spotlight Search. This can be used to search for a contact, file or an app. Pressing the Enter key selects the top hit.
  • Hold the Command key to see what shortcuts are available in the current app.

Conclusion

While you can use the onscreen keyboard to type on your iPad, it can be fiddly, plus it makes typing long pieces a chore. Keyboards for iPads make it much quicker and easier to write reports, articles, emails, or just long instant messages to your friends. To find the best keyboard for your iPad, you’ll need to consider a range of features. Do you want a keyboard that connects wirelessly or a wired model? What kind of battery life do you require? Read on for everything you need to know before you invest.