How to Turn iPad into Desktop Mode: A Step-by-Step Guide

Turning your iPad into desktop mode can be a game-changer. It allows you to use your iPad like a computer, enhancing productivity and making multitasking easier. Essentially, you’ll need to connect a keyboard, mouse or trackpad, and an external monitor. You’ll also optimize your iPad’s settings for a desktop-like experience. With a few tweaks, your iPad can transform into a versatile desktop station.

Step-by-Step Tutorial on How to Turn iPad into Desktop Mode

The following steps will help you set up your iPad to function just like a desktop computer. Let’s dive in!

Step 1: Connect a Keyboard

First, connect a Bluetooth or USB keyboard to your iPad.

Using a physical keyboard can drastically improve your typing speed and accuracy. You can easily pair a Bluetooth keyboard via the Settings app. Just go to Bluetooth, find your keyboard, and pair it. If you have a USB keyboard, you might need an adapter to connect it to your iPad.

Step 2: Connect a Mouse or Trackpad

Next, pair a Bluetooth mouse or trackpad with your iPad.

A mouse or trackpad enhances navigation, making it feel more like using a desktop. To pair, go to Settings > Bluetooth, make your mouse or trackpad discoverable, and select it from the list of available devices. Once connected, you can customize the pointer settings in the Accessibility menu.

Step 3: Connect to an External Monitor

Now, connect your iPad to an external monitor using a compatible adapter or cable.

An external monitor can provide a larger display, making it easier to work on multiple tasks simultaneously. Look for a USB-C to HDMI or VGA adapter, depending on your monitor’s input options. Once connected, your iPad should automatically detect the monitor and extend or mirror the display.

Step 4: Enable AssistiveTouch

Go to Settings > Accessibility > Touch > AssistiveTouch, and turn it on.

AssistiveTouch can give you quick access to many iPad functions that are usually touch-based, such as the Home button and App Switcher. This feature can be especially helpful when using a mouse or trackpad.

Step 5: Customize Dock and Apps

Rearrange your iPad’s dock and home screen for easier access to frequently used apps.

A clutter-free home screen and well-organized dock can significantly improve your workflow. Drag and drop apps into the dock for quick access, and create folders to keep your home screen tidy. Make sure to include productivity apps like Safari, Mail, and any others you use often.

After following these steps, your iPad will function more like a desktop computer. You’ll be able to enjoy the benefits of a larger screen, a physical keyboard, and easy navigation with a mouse or trackpad.

Tips for Turning iPad into Desktop Mode

  • Use a Stand: Prop your iPad on a stand to keep it at eye level and reduce neck strain.
  • Explore Keyboard Shortcuts: Learn and use keyboard shortcuts to speed up your workflow.
  • Invest in Quality Accessories: High-quality, reliable accessories can enhance your experience.
  • Keep Software Updated: Ensure your iPadOS is up-to-date to benefit from the latest features.
  • Optimize Settings: Tweak display and accessibility settings for a personalized setup.

Frequently Asked Questions

What iPad models support desktop mode?

Most recent iPads, including the iPad Pro, iPad Air, and iPad (8th generation), support desktop mode features.

Can I use any Bluetooth keyboard with my iPad?

Yes, most Bluetooth keyboards are compatible with iPads. Just ensure it pairs correctly via Bluetooth settings.

Is an external monitor necessary?

No, but an external monitor provides a larger display, which can enhance your productivity.

Do I need any special apps to turn my iPad into desktop mode?

No special apps are needed, but you may find productivity apps like Microsoft Office or Google Workspace helpful.

Will all my apps work in desktop mode?

Most apps will work, but some may not be optimized for external monitors or pointer devices.


  1. Connect a keyboard.
  2. Connect a mouse or trackpad.
  3. Connect to an external monitor.
  4. Enable AssistiveTouch.
  5. Customize dock and apps.


Turning your iPad into desktop mode can open up a world of possibilities. Not only does it enhance your ability to multitask, but it also makes working on your iPad feel more like using a traditional computer. Whether you’re a student, professional, or casual user, these steps can help you get more out of your iPad. So go ahead, gather your accessories, and transform your iPad into a versatile desktop setup. For further reading, explore articles on iPad productivity tips and best accessories for enhancing your iPad experience. Happy computing!

Join Our Free Newsletter

Featured guides and deals

You may opt out at any time. Read our Privacy Policy