How to Switch Back & Forth Between your Software & Hardware iPad Keyboard

A Magic Keyboard or other external iPad keyboard is convenient, but you may want to change back to your on-screen iPad keyboard.

If you have an external keyboard or iPad keyboard case, you know how convenient this type of iPad accessory can be. Still, there are times where you may want to change the keyboard you're using back to your on-screen keyboard. We've already written about how to connect a keyboard to your iPad, including the new Magic Keyboard for the iPad Pro and iPad, and how to turn the floating iPad keyboard off and on. Now, let's go over how to switch back and forth between your software keypad and the hardware keyboard for your iPad. 

* This post is part of iPhone Life's Tip of the Day newsletter. . *

Related: iPad Multitasking: The Complete Guide to Split Screen, Slide Over & Picture in Picture

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How to Change Your iPad Keypad from the On-Screen Keyboard to a Hardware Keyboard

Let's go over how to quickly switch between the on-screen iPad keyboard and a hardware keyboard. This way, you can switch to an external keyboard as needed, then get your on-screen keyboard back whenever you want it. For more tutorials on how to navigate your iPad, check out our free Tip of the Day

  1. Select the text field in any app where you use your iPad's keyboard and begin typing on-screen as usual. 
  2. Tap the keyboard icon with the down arrow in the lower-right corner of your display. 

    tap the keyboard icon with the arrow
  3. Your hardware keyboard may offer a choice of languages; tap the language you want to use. 

    choose the language you want to use with your hardware keyboard
  4. When you're ready to transfer back to your on-screen keyboard, tap the keyboard icon at the bottom of the display. If you're using a Magic Keyboard, tap the eject icon to transfer back to the on-screen iPad keyboard. 

    tap the keyboard icon again
  5. Tap the keyboard without the arrow icon to transfer back to your on-screen iPad keyboard. 

    keyboard icon options for hardware keyboard
  6. Now you'll see and be able to use your iPad's on-screen keyboard once again.

    back to onscreen ipad keyboard
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Author Details

Leanne Hays's picture

Author Details

Leanne Hays

Leanne Hays is an SEO Content Strategist and Feature Writer at iPhone Life, and has written hundreds of in-depth how-to and troubleshooting articles. She's a former Associate Editor for iPhone Life magazine, and has written for the Iowa Source, as well as web content for education marketing. Leanne has an associate's degree in education, with a focus on curriculum development, as well as a bachelor's degree in science. She has over nine years of experience with SEO, social media management, and web development and writing. Despite years of web work, Leanne is by no means an early adapter; she's only owned a smartphone for five years, which makes her highly sympathetic to the learning curve of new iPhone owners. She enjoys making reader's lives easier and putting her education experience to work by walking them through the most practical ways to use Apple devices, step-by-step.

In off-work hours, Leanne is a mother of two, homesteader, audiobook fanatic, musician, and learning enthusiast.