Type on Your iPhone or iPad Using Your Mac Keyboard
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Your iPhone’s tiny screen doesn’t make for a great keyboard. Fortunately, you can use your MacBook or Apple keyboard to type on your iPhone or iPad, without wrestling with the touchscreen.

With iOS 8, Apple finally introduced third-party keyboards for iPhones and iPads. Also, iPadOS has a flexible onscreen keyboard. No doubt, these options do make typing easier. But it still doesn’t match up to the experience of typing on your MacBook.

What we are looking for here is a seamless shift between typing on your computer and typing on your phone or tablet. And they should work with any Mac keyboard, like some of the best wireless all-in-one keyboards.

Connecting A Bluetooth Keyboard

These apps function by posing as real Bluetooth keyboards, so it helps if you know how to connect a Mac to your iPhone or iPad. It’s pretty simple.

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  1. Click the Bluetooth icon in the customizable Mac Menu Bar and make sure Bluetooth is On.
  2. On your iPhone or iPad, go to Settings > Bluetooth and switch it On too. You can also use Control Center (accessed by swiping up from the bottom of the screen) to access a Bluetooth toggle.
  3. On your Mac, click the Bluetooth icon in your menu bar then Open Bluetooth Preferences > Pair.
  4. You’ll get a confirmation message on your iPhone or iPad, tap “Pair” again.

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That’s it! Couldn’t be easier, right? Follow our Mac Bluetooth troubleshooting guide 7 Fixes When Bluetooth Is Not Available on Your Mac 7 Fixes When Bluetooth Is Not Available on Your Mac Is Bluetooth not available on your Mac? Here's how to troubleshoot Mac Bluetooth problems and get your devices working again. Read More if you have any trouble.

1Keyboard ($9.99)

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1Keyboard is our favourite option for sharing your Mac’s keyboard with your iPhone. Install the app and it sits quietly in the Menu bar. It’s best to keep it there and have it become one of your favourite Mac Menu bar utilities.

Connect your iPhone or iPad to your Mac via Bluetooth and 1Keyboard will recognise it. You can connect multiple devices too, and easily toggle between them using the menu bar icon.

Click the menu bar item, select the device, and start typing. Your letters will show up on the selected device. Click somewhere on your Mac’s screen and start typing to switch back to the computer. It’s one of those “it just works” apps that is an absolute delight to use.

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1Keyboard also adds the ability to copy and paste clipboard content to your touchscreen device. For example, if you copied a few lines of text online, you could press Shift+Command+V to paste it on your iPhone. It’s a nice useful feature, but not as powerful as other tools to share and sync the clipboard between iOS and Mac Sync Your Mac & iOS Clipboard With Command-C & Scribe Sync Your Mac & iOS Clipboard With Command-C & Scribe Transferring the contents of your Mac's clipboard to your iPhone or iPad usually involves sending yourself an email or message, but that's cumbersome and inefficient. Read More .

You can set a custom shortcut to activate 1Keyboard, as well as further shortcuts for each device, toggling between all as needed.

Type2Phone ($5.99)

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In many ways, Type2Phone works like 1Keyboard. Download the app, connect your phone via Bluetooth, fire it up and start typing. It even automatically disconnects when not in use, and reconnects to the last device when you start using it.

More importantly, Type2Phone offers a whole lot of control over Function keys and lets you set small key sequences, like deleting a word to the left or right of where your cursor is. You can already use Option+Backspace on your Mac keyboard, and now you can do the same on your iPhone. Neat! Of course, it’s not got the full power of all the Mac OS X keyboard shortcuts Everything You Need To Know About Mac OS X Keyboard Shortcuts Everything You Need To Know About Mac OS X Keyboard Shortcuts No matter what operating system or program you're using, keyboard shortcuts are a tool you can use to make things quite a bit easier for yourself. Simply not having to take your hands off the... Read More , but it’s still pretty good.

This app also includes voice dictation, but that doesn’t seem to be particularly useful, especially since Siri already does a fantastic job of it on iOS 8 Type Superfast With Real Time Voice Dictation in iOS 8 Type Superfast With Real Time Voice Dictation in iOS 8 It's time to do less typing and more talking with the new real time voice-to-text feature in iOS 8. Read More .

The only problem with Type2Phone is that it seems more intrusive than 1Keyboard, what with its floating window and the big icon sitting in your dock.

What Should You Get?

If you have a Mac and an iPhone or iPad, and if you type often on the latter, then these apps are worth it. For example, if you’re having a long conversation on WhatsApp, you’d be stuck. But while Android users can get WhatsApp on their PC, you can now use your Mac keyboard to type directly into WhatsApp on your iPhone or iPad.

Of the two apps, my preferred choice is 1Keyboard, but that’s purely because of its unobtrusive nature. Type2Phone’s shortcuts and control over function keys seems like it might be the better tool for power users.

And if you’re looking to turn things around, here’s how to remotely access your Mac from your iPhone How To Remotely Access Your Mac From Your iOS Device How To Remotely Access Your Mac From Your iOS Device Read More .

Image credit: Denys Prykhodov / Shutterstock.com

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  1. Dorian
    June 10, 2018 at 4:21 am

    does the return key work?
    I paired my keyboard with my iPhone, but never was able to use the return (enter) key. So had to do it manually every time.
    Also when my iPhone's Bluetooth is on, I can not access the on-screen keyboard on my phone. Then I have to manually turn off my bluetooth

  2. Ben
    December 13, 2017 at 2:08 pm

    Option 1 that you described didn't work. I got to paired the bluetooth but that's it... Never got the keyboard of my Mac to work with my iPad

  3. blah
    April 30, 2016 at 1:55 am

    Layouts of 1keyboard are wrong. Money wasted.