Sunday, August 18, 2013

Sharing the Apple Keyboard with Multiple iOS Devices


Lessons from sharing the wireless, bluetooth Apple Keyboard amongst a family's mobile Apple devices.

On a family vacation recently, the wireless Apple Keyboard proved a popular accessory to have handy. Blogging, long emails and creative writing were way easier with the bluetooth keyboard!

Of course to facilitate keyboard sharing, one needs to know how to share the Apple Keyboard with different devices.  Bluetooth is a slick technology, but it also has made device sharing more complicated than simply passing the keyboard to the next person. The bluetooth Apple Keyboard is a true believer of Serial Monogamy - once "paired" with a device, it will not connect with any other device until "unpaired" with the original.

The key to sharing the keyboard is knowing how to pair and unpair it easily. Fortunately for Keyboard Sharers, this bluetooth keyboard does not dwell on the past, and will freely "move on" to its latest device!

How to Pair / Unpair the Bluetooth Apple Keyboard

Here's a simple example, sharing a bluetooth Apple Keyboard with iPad A (a regular iPad) and iPad B (a mini iPad). The same sharing steps would apply to other iOS devices - the iPhone and iPod Touch.

1. The Apple Keyboard is being used by iPad A. iPad B may also be on and in the vicinity, but no matter, iPad A is bluetooth-paired with the wireless keyboard and will have nothing to do with iPad B. But what if we want to switch so iPad B can use the keyboard?
2. Unpair the Bluetooth Apple Keyboard from the first iPad. Remember, the current relationship has to end before a new one can commence! The easiest way to "unpair" the bluetooth keyboard is to turn off Bluetooth on the iPad it is currently "paired" with, i.e. iPad A. Do this: Settings App > Bluetooth >OFF.
3. It may also help to power off the Apple Keyboard to complete the unpairing.
4. While Bluetooth remains OFF on iPad A, turn on iPad B and make sure Bluetooth is ON for that device (Settings App > Bluetooth > ON).
5. Turn on the Bluetooth Apple Keyboard. With iPad B Bluetooth on, and iPad A Bluetooth off, it will switch allegiances and pair with iPad B. When iPad B shows "Apple Keyboard Connected" it can now use the Apple Keyboard.

Remember, iPad B is now the sole focus of the keyboard, and you must "break them up" before your Apple Keyboard can be shared again. Just repeat the 5 Step Pair / Unpair process again.

Happy keyboard sharing!

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