Mobile gaming has been on the rise this past few years, with an evergrowing list of more complex games that you can play anywhere with your phone. For a lot of people, it´s the only way to play games, even if the control scheme is a bit clunky.
So you might be wondering if there is a better way to play mobile games. Mobile controllers are a well-known solution, and we have written about how to use them in the past with iPhone and android phones. but maybe you don´t like them, so you look for the other classic alternative, a mouse and a keyboard.
Maybe you grew up with PC gaming, or you can only play at the office. In any case, can you connect a keyboard or mouse to your phone and use it to play games?
Can you connect a mouse and keyboard to an android phone or an iPhone?
Yes, you can connect a mouse and/or keyboard to your phone. However, not every mouse and keyboard will do. So how can you know what works with what?
Let´s start with android phones. So long as they are android OS 3.0 or higher, they should be able to connect with pretty much every wireless Bluetooth keyboard or mouse out there.
Wired keyboards are a bit more complicated. If your phone supports USB On-the-Go connections, then you should be able to plug them in, so long as you have an adapter, like this one if your phone has a USB-C port or this one for micro USB cables. Alternatively, you might want a hub to connect all kinds of devices at the same time.
iPhones are a bit of a different story. Until recently, they were not able to use any keyboards or mice with them, but thanks to the 13.4 update, you can now connect a wider array of devices to iOS.
When it comes to keyboards, officially, only Apple´s products, like the Magic Keyboard are supported. Unofficially, you can connect most Bluetooth keyboards out there.
For wired keyboards, you will need an adapter for the iPhone´s famous lightning port. By connecting a USB keyboard to the adapter, you might be able to force the iPhone to recognize it, but there´s no official support for this feature, so there´s a good chance that it won´t work on every keyboard out there.
For mice, it is pretty much the same thing. Either with Bluetooth or an adapter, you should be able to use them so long as they pair up with the iPhone.
How do you connect a mouse or keyboard to a phone?
Android or iPhone, the way to connect a keyboard or mouse is pretty much the same.
If you are using Bluetooth to connect a wireless accessory to your phone:
Go into the corresponding Bluetooth menu on your phone
Turn Bluetooth on.
Activate pairing mode in whatever keyboard or mouse you are using, usually by pressing a small button on the side.
You should be able to find the device on your phone´s menu and connect to it
That should be all you need to do to pair the device to your phone using Bluetooth.
When it comes to a wired connection, it´s not that difficult either:
You need to plug one of the aforementioned adapters into your phone.
Connect the cable from your mouse or keyboard to the adapter.
Your phone should detect the device and give you a little message.
Some adapters will let you connect several devices at the same time, but not all. Needless to say, as Android and iPhone phones use different ports, dongles that work with one, won´t work with the other.
And that´s it, your devices should be paired and ready to be used... but how can you use them? Do they work in video games?
How do I play on iPhone and Android phones with a mouse and keyboard?
So, you connected a mouse and maybe a keyboard to your phone. Now, you might have two problems: The devices aren't working correctly, or you can´t play with them because the game won´t let you.
If the mouse isn´t working correctly on iPhone then you might need to do a little tweaking. You might need to go to the Accessibility Settings, Touch, Assistive Touch, and the Devices. From that menu, you need to select your mouse to be able to use it to move a cursor around your iPhone's screen. You can even customize what each button does.
Similarly, keyboards might work on text boxes, but if you try to move to use them to move around in a game, you will probably find that they don´t work as they do on a computer.
Making them work is a bit trickier, you need to download a keymapper app for your phone, and then assign the WASD keys to forward, backward left, and right respectively on your touch screen. The same for all the other motions on the game that you want to replace with keyboard key presses.
Or, if you don´t want to go with all the hassle, you can try a specialized adapter designed especially to play with a mouse and keyboard on your phone.
The problem may come from the game itself. Some consider it cheating, and there are reports of players being banned from using a mouse to play PUBG mobile, for example. After all, a mouse does bring a big advantage when it comes to aiming in pretty much any platform.
As such you might want to think twice about playing with a mouse while on mobile. In addition, some developers might patch their games to avoid players from using these devices on their games.
Now, if you want to do the opposite, use your phone as a controller for your computer, we have also written about it!