The latest release of iPadOS adds a feature that few expected – but many would love to see – in the form of the ability to change modifier keys on an external keyboard attached to an iPad. That includes the Bluetooth keyboard, Magic Keyboard, and even the Windows keyboard used with the iPad.
This is a great solution for people who are also changing what the modifier keys do on their Mac and have to live with the muscle memory that stumbles them when they switch to the iPad. It doesn’t need to be a problem anymore, and it can be a big problem for the people affected by it.
It probably goes without saying, but none of this applies to the iPad software keyboard. But if you’re using any external keyboard, whether it’s the iPad Smart Keyboard, Magic Keyboard, or Bluetooth keyboard, you’ll want to keep reading.
You must be using an iPad with iPadOS 13.4 or later installed for this to work. You’ll also need to attach an external keyboard, either via Bluetooth, USB, or the Smart Connector.
How to Change the Function of the Modifier Keys on the iPad Keyboard
Ready to customize modifier keys on an iPad hardware keyboard? Here’s what to do:
- Open the “Settings” app then tap “General”.
- Tap “Keyboard” to enter the section where all your iPad keyboard settings are located.
- Tap on “Hardware Keyboard” – remember that this will not appear unless a keyboard is connected to your iPad.
- Tap the “Modifier Button” option.
- Tap the modifier key for which you want to change the behavior: Caps Lock, Control, Option, Command, or Globe.
- Select the new action you want the button to take when pressed. Changes will be made soon.
Modifier keys you can change include Caps Lock, Control, Option, Command, and Globe keys. You can select one of these actions when you change key behavior with the addition of Escape. Yes, that means you can use this trick to generate a hardware escape key on the Apple iPad keyboard – hooray for vi fans!
Additional updates for the new iPadOS release build on existing updates that have brought lots of changes to the iPad. We’ve covered a lot of them including changes to how to update apps and using iPad Dark Mode which we’d really like to try. The iPad continues to go hand in hand with new features and improvements, and new iPadOS releases often bring nice little changes like the ones discussed here.
Using the keyboard with an iPad also completely changes the game. There are more keyboard shortcuts than you might realize, from Safari keyboard shortcuts for iPad to tons of shortcuts for Pages, Numbers, Word, Chrome, and you can even take screenshots on iPad with the keyboard without pressing any key on your own iPad. . .
Did you customize the modifier keys on your iPad keyboard? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.