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.
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.