Huge iOS 14 leak reveals key features, including precise mouse and trackpad support for iPads

iOS 14 code is providing a treasure trove of information about Apple’s upcoming releases for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, including precise mouse and trackpad support for iPads (via iPad OS 14).

iPad mouse trackpad. Image: Renders of 2020 iPad Pro 12.9-inch design
Renders of 2020 iPad Pro 12.9-inch design

Samuel Axon for Ars Technica:

Code seen by 9to5Mac suggests “Apple is set to roll out rich system-wide support for mouse cursors with iOS 14.” The code references two new Smart Keyboard models for the iPad product line, and given a recent report from The Information on a similar subject, at least one of them may include a trackpad.

There will also be trackpad gestures, similar to what users already experience on Macs. 9to5Mac gives “tap with two fingers to right-click” as one example and adds that a “tap to click” setting was also found.

9to5Mac says it discovered support for multiple pointer graphics for different hover states (like for hovering over a link). However, it’s not all identical to the Mac; the article says “the pointer disappears automatically after a few seconds of not touching the connected mouse or trackpad, a concession to the touch-first experience of the iPad.”

Apple introduced pointer navigation support as an accessibility feature in iOS and iPadOS 13, but it is designed entirely for users with disabilities and does not follow conventions common on laptop and desktop systems.

MacDailyNews Take: As long as an iPad can still be used as it was designed to be used, the ability to add trackpads and precise mouse support to iPad will benefit those who need, or who feel they need, such input devices.


  1. I WANT to love the iPad. I have owned 2, including currently a Pro with a keyboard. Some of the apps I use frequently on the Desktop, like Affinity apps, are also on the iPad. However, I find that in practice I don’t use the iPad for much of anything other than content consumption, reading ebooks, watching YouTube videos, maybe a little email. These are all things I can do just as easily on my iPhone 11MaxPro. In the evenings after I leave the office, I sometimes like to sit on the couch and do some work with a mobile device. With the iPad, there is a lack of font integration, so projects I start on the Desktop in the office will be missing fonts when I open them on iPad, making it essentially unuseable for that purpose. Integration with syncing services like Dropbox seems to be kludgey. iMovie works, but no Final Cut, etc. I find that putting my 2015 Macbook on my lap works almost as well for content consumption AND allows me to do a little bit of work, too. Frankly, writing, which I do a lot of, is also easier this way even though I have the Apple keyboard for the iPad Pro. Maybe I’m missing something, but after years of use and experience, I don’t think I would buy another iPad unless it mimicked a Mac in many of the ways it currently does not. That’s my take anyway.

  2. Whither or not to iPad is a circuitous conundrum. If your iPad can do it, a conventional laptop certainly can and more. So why iPad? If your computer needs aren’t to demanding, a nice MacBook Air will do everything an iPad can do.

    Or will it?

    It’s hard to see how the iPad fits between the iPhone and conventional computers until you truly learn to use the iPad.

    After using the iPad as my primary go to computing device for over a year now, I find many things difficult to do on my MacBook Pro 16 beast with its 64GB and 4TB of storage. When using the iPad Pro multitasking the first seems clumsy and unproductive gets more productive over time especially in the way the iPad makes you focus on specific tasks. Pairing of open applications causes you to create familiar groups of apps that you use together all the time.

    So I have groups like:

    SSH/Network App

    There are all kinds of combinations and slide over apps as well. You get really fast at going between them. When you sit back down at your conventional computer, moving overlapping windows around to access underlying applications seems old fashioned, clumsy and slow.

    The iPad just seems more mobile than conventional laptops as well. Everywhere you look around the Internet where people are talking paperless, future, and mobility they’re talking iPad and not laptops.

    At the moment though I’m on my MacBook Pro I’m setting up a calendar server on LINUX and I can’t do that on an iPad. Not easily anyway. Later I have some python to crank out an the MacBook Pro is better for that, for now, also.

    I mean of course the iPad is not for everyone, but it is for more people than you think.

    I think people should stop asking if it’s supposed to replace their laptops and simply ask, is this a viable alternative for me? Have an iPad Pro show you how the darn things really work.

    Interestingly, you might want to take a look at the Microsoft Surface X. That thing is a re-thinking of the iPad to fit the Windows world.

    Our future is minimalist computing supported by the cloud, but it will take another generation to figure it out. Folks who are just now entering high school for example.

    1. I am willing to learn and adapt, and have many times :-). Perhaps the younger generation is more comfortable with it because they have grown up with many similar UIs. However, I don’t think it’s yet proven that it’s BETTER. I DO see a lot of consumption reasons for an iPad, but not much for content creation, which you seem to agree with also. Perhaps I should have said that at this time I don’t see a reason to spring for another iPad Pro, but perhaps another regular iPad for consumption.

    2. GoodNotes, huh? Just curious but why not Notability? I’ve been using/beta testing GoodNotes for a while and it’s good but stil no audio recording. The Mac program is pretty good but the company seems to have stalled a bit on that one. Just being nosy 😉

  3. For me, even a laptop is less than ideal due to screen limitations. I could see where anyone for whom something of that nature is not a concern would enjoy the iPad for certain things, but I have to ask: with this addition, at what point does the advantage not skew toward a laptop with it’s greater capabilities? I love my iPad for consumption too, I use it for that purpose pretty much daily. I can’t envision it ever being ideal for my own work, and the cloud on a portable device definitely wouldn’t suffice for me, either. I think the current lineup of devices is good though, it can suit just about anyone in one combination or another. There are plenty of people that loved the MacBook Air, I think the iPad is actually a better device compared to it.

  4. The real purpose an iPad exists: babysitting. When you are simply too preoccupied to supervise your children, toss them a portable gaming and social media germ-and-slime covered electronic box. Let Cook’s censorship decide what time wasting rubbish the little ones can find on the app store, and hope that your kids haven’t met the brats at school who figured ways around all the parental controls.

    It’s so handy, the iPad can be toted around from dinner table to TV room to the car to the pooper and to bed. It’s such a personal device, only one child at a time will have his grimy hands smudging the screen, or so the ads suggest.

    As tornadoes are divine responses to shoddily built trailer parks, coronavirus is the answer to filthy touchscreens.

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