Back when I first got my iPad, a Mini 4, I picked up a reasonably cheap keyboard to go with it. It’s rechargeable, and coated with a kind of cloth surface. It’s not been bad, really, but it’s getting quite worn out, with the cloth bubbled up over the keys, making it a bit hard to use. Enough to put me off typing on the iPad a lot of the time.
I’d been looking at alternatives, but hadn’t seen anything that looked ideal, and in some cases, they were really quite expensive. Then, today, I glanced across the room to where my old iMac’s keyboard and trackpad were sitting. My iMac is rarely used now, being really quite old. Most of what we’ve been using it for over the last few years has been replaced by a combination of a TV and a NAS unit. So taking its keyboard wouldn’t be much of a problem, and it could be easily replaced with a cheap USB keyboard.
Pairing wasn’t easy – it wouldn’t pair up at all until I removed it on the iMac. It might have been easier if the iMac wasn’t actually running, but I’m guessing every time the keyboard was powered on, it found it’s paired machine, and stopped trying to pair with anything else. Un-pair on the iMac, and it paired quite easily with the iPad.
I’d expected the Escape key to act as a Home button, which doesn’t seem to work, but everything else seems to be fine. Cmd-Tab works for switching apps and getting back to the Home screen. Not ideal, but close enough, and it’s a nicer keyboard to type on than most reasonably priced alternatives. Should be sturdy enough to survive life knocking about in my bag, too.
Bit of a shame the power button is kind of awkward (mostly being too easy to hit accidentally), and it uses three (!) AA batteries, but since it’s here anyway, it’s effectively free. Beats the price of any halfway-decent alternatives I was looking at, and every one I’d seen had some sort of problems or compromises of their own.
The result is a keyboard probably as good as any other I’d have got for at least £50, and it cost nothing.