Using a smart keyboard with our iPads helps us all get the most out of the device. So when your iPad’s Smart Keyboard is not working anymore, it’s frustrating!
Some users reported challenges working with their Smart keyboard and iPadOS. When you connect an external keyboard to the iPad, the iPad only shows the on-screen keyboard or worse, the entire display goes black and shows a spinning circle.
In the latter case, the keyboard is pretty much non-functional after that.
A different, but a similar problem is around using Smart Keyboard and iPad following an iPadOS update is the message ‘This accessory is not supported’ and the inability to switch off the on-screen keyboard in an app.
In this post, we explore these three common issues when it comes to using your Smart Keyboard with your iPad and provide tips that help you address these issues.
- How to turn off the iPadOS floating keyboard on your iPad
- Use an iPhone or iPad without touch? How to use Full Keyboard Access to do just that
- How to enable and disable your iPhone as your Apple TV keyboard
- 10 of the Best Third-Party Keyboards for iPhone ( Swype Will Be Missed )
- How-To Fix an iPad Keyboard That’s Split in Half or Two
iPad Display Shows black screen and gets stuck when connecting a smart keyboard
This problem is relatively common when attaching third-party keyboards (even Apple’s smart keyboard) following an iOS / iPadOS update.
iPad Black Screen with Smart Keyboard after iPadOS update
- If you use any other type of case or covering, remove these first
- Check that nothing is covering the Smart Connector pins on the keyboard AND the Smart Connector on the iPad
- Before attaching the external keyboard to the iPad, open up an app such as Notes and bring up the on-screen keyboard. Once the on-screen keyboard displays on the screen, attach the external keyboard to your iPad. For some users, this disables the problem of a black screen and the spinning circle on your iPad’s display
- Many of the initial hiccups following an iOS update can be handled via Reset function on your iPad
- Tap on Settings > General > Reset > Reset All Settings
- Reboot your iPad
The Reset All followed by the reboot action should fix this issue for you, and your external smart keyboard should not have any problems connecting to your iPad running iPadOS.
How to enable or disable the on-screen keyboard on iPad
Currently, we need to use the on-screen keyboard instead of the Smart Keyboard to do accented characters, use dictation, and other less common things.
Many users encounter another usage issue with their Smart Keyboards. Once the smart keyboard successfully connects to the iPad Pro, they cannot use it as the on-screen keyboard on the iPad Display keeps popping up.
This issue is not limited to iPadOS. We have seen this issue in iOS 12.x versions as well.
First, make sure of the following:
- Make sure that your iPad and keyboard are in the Type position–seat your iPad in the groove above the number keys
- Remove and the Smart Keyboard from your iPad. Restart your iPad. And finally, reconnect the keyboard
How to show the on-screen keyboard when Smart Keyboard is connected
It’s important to note that while your external keyboard is connected, you can still bring up the on-screen keyboard on your iPad.
To show the on-screen keyboard when Smart Keyboard is connected
- Tap the down arrow key on your Smart Keyboard
- Then, press and hold the on-screen arrow until the software keyboard appears
Toggle the downward arrow a few times and see if it solves your issue otherwise, you may have to try and Reset All Settings as shown above.
To hide the keyboard again, tap the keyboard symbol in the lower-right corner.
Bring up your iPad’s virtual keyboard when a Bluetooth keyboard is already connected
If you use an Apple-branded Bluetooth Keyboard designed for Macs with your iPad, you can also use the eject button to show or hide the on-screen virtual keyboard.
Or disconnect Bluetooth keyboards temporarily to open the on-screen keyboard
Open your Bluetooth settings from Control Center and disconnect the keyboard. Using control center is a lot quicker than unpairing the keyboard–and it’s easy to re-pair too!
This Accessory not supported message on iPad
Following the iOS/iPadOS update, do you see a message that says ‘accessory not supported’ when connecting and using your smart keyboard?
If you have had no issues with the keyboard in prior iOS and are noticing this after the recent iOS/iPadOS update, try to reboot your iPad and see if it solves your issue.
The other thing that can do is press the CMD button and then the Spacebar and check if the message disappears and it allows you to operate your keyboard.
Look at the connection
The last tip on this issue is to make sure that the connectors between your external keyboard and iPad are clean. Simply use a piece of clean cloth to clean the connectors and then try attaching the smart keyboard to your iPad.
Rubbing a magnet over all the connectors on both the iPad and the iPad Smart Keyboard also appears to help.
We hope that this short article helped you tackle some of the common Smart Keyboard issues that happen following an iPadOS update.
If nothing helped, contact Apple or make an Apple Store Support appointment.
If your device is still under warranty, it’s always a good idea to contact Apple and have them review your issue. See if you can reproduce the problem when you at right in front of the Apple team member and if so, ask them to replace it.
And even if your iPad keyboard is no longer covered under its original warranty, there may be a known quality issue where Apple replaces out of warranty keyboard for free.
Please let us know in the comments below if you have a tip that you want to share or if you have questions around other issues with your Smart Keyboard and iPad.
Obsessed with tech since the early arrival of A/UX on Apple, Sudz (SK) is responsible for the original editorial direction of AppleToolBox. He is based out of Los Angeles, CA.
Sudz specializes in covering all things macOS, having reviewed dozens of OS X and macOS developments over the years.
In a former life, Sudz worked helping Fortune 100 companies with their technology and business transformation aspirations.