How to connect the iPad mini (and iOS 6) to other devices and networks

Rob Clymo
4 February, 2013
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One of the most exciting things about buying a shiny new gadget – such as the Apple iPad mini – is exploring its features and functionality, many of which won’t have been available on your older devices. In the case of the iPad mini, that also includes a new way of getting connected, thanks to a slimline port called the Lightning connector.

This new port helped Apple achieve the much smaller construction of the iPad mini, but one drawback is that in order to connect it to an iPad accessory that uses the old-style 30-pin connector, you have to buy an adaptor. For some, that’s going to be an irritating but inevitable extra expense. But if your accessories have wireless capabilities, you don’t need to worry.

Although both the iPad and iPad mini come with wireless connectivity as standard, Bluetooth is a connectivity option that many tend to overlook. For example, an external Bluetooth keyboard makes a great add-on if you prefer traditional plastic keys to those virtual ones on your iPad screen. Hooking up to one, or connecting to headphones, speakers and other accessories is also a breeze using this option, which is given far more prominence in iOS 6.

Vital Info

Device: iPad

Difficulty: Beginner

Time required: 5 mins

What you need:


iOS 6.0 or later


01 Getting started

The Bluetooth functionality now has a much more prominent location inside Settings, and sits just below Airplane Mode and Wi-Fi at the top of the window. By default, this is turned off, as shown by the greyed-out ‘Off’ slider button on the right-hand side of the window. Simply slide this across to make your device ready for Bluetooth connectivity.


02 Time to pair

You can use Bluetooth to connect to a variety of devices, including speakers and headphones, but in this example it’s a third-party external keyboard. With Bluetooth switched on, the iPad will see the device, but you’ll then need to connect or ‘pair’ it with your tablet. At present, the dialogue box tells you that the Bluetooth keyboard is not connected.


03 Get connected

Pairing a device is easy. All you need to do is enter a unique code on the keyboard, which is displayed on the screen of your tablet, and then press Enter in order for the pairing request to be completed. This should only take a few seconds to complete, although be sure that any accessories have been suitably charged beforehand.


04 Forget it

After you’ve finished using a Bluetooth accessory, tap again to disconnect. In future your tablet will recognise it without the need for the full pairing process with the code. However, if it’s a shared or borrowed accessory, it’s also possible to tap the connected item, in this case the Bluetooth keyboard, and then opt to forget it.


05 Connect a laptop

The great thing about Bluetooth is that it also gives you the option of connecting a desktop computer or laptop instead. Use the same process as the one we used earlier to hook up an accessory, and enter the pairing code when prompted by the on?screen instructions. You can then move files between the two devices.


06 Try another device

Once you’ve got the knack of pairing devices with your iPad using Bluetooth, the process can then be called upon to hook up other non-Apple gadgets such as smartphones. You may need to check compatibility issues via your manual, but you should have more connectivity and without any need for cables.

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  1. Neil H. says:

    I tried to connect my iPhone running the latest IOS 6.1 to my iMac running OSX 10.6.8 as per the above instructions – to “then move files between the two devices”.
    The iMac shows up but trying to connect gives the message “Connection Unsuccessful – make sure xxxiMacxx is turned on and in range” Needless to say the computer WAS turned on and within around 400mm proximity. Bluetooth sharing was also turned on on the iMac.
    I even tried connecting the other way (from the iMac) the iPhone shows up and clicking it in the Bluetooth dropdown menu shows it as configured AND paired (I may have done this in the past when playing around) but NOT connected.
    In the bluetooth dropdown menu, the option agianst the iPhone is “connect to network” rather than just “connect” and selecting this gives the message ” The bluetooth network is unavailable – There was a problem connecting to your device. Make sure the device is on, in range, paired correctly, and services such as bluetoth tethering are set up properly.” Which implies the iMac is trying to connect to the iPhone as an internet connection, rather than for file sharing. This was confirmed by turning on the phones internet hotspot and turning off the iMac’s Airport connection. The Bluetooth “connect to network” now worked and, after adding the Bluetooth PAN to the network services, I could connect to the internet via Bluetooth. However, although the iMac now shows as “connected” in the iPhone Bluetooth settings, I cannot see how to “then move files between the two devices” as the iPhone does not show up as a device in the finder.
    I don’t need to use Bluetooth for the personal hotspot – it’s easier to use wi-fi for that, if I need it – but it might be nice to use Bluetooth for file transfer – so what’s the story? Am I missing something obvious here? Step 05 above says it should just work – but it doesn’t seem to.

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