iPad Guides
iPad Guides

iPad Keyboard Shortcuts

NavigationCommand-HGo to the Home screen
Command-Space barShow or hide the Search field
Command-TabSwitch to the next most recently used app
Command-Option-DShow or hide the Dock
Command-Option-ZUndo the last action
Command-Option-YRedo the last action
ScreenshotsCommand-Shift-3Take a screenshot
Command-Shift-4Take a screenshot and immediately open Markup to view or edit it
Command-ZUndo the last action
Command-Option-ZRedo the last action
Command-ASelect all
Text FormattingCommand-BBold
Command-Shift-SChange font style
Command-Shift-TChange text size
Command-Shift-LAlign text left
Command-Shift-CAlign text center
Command-Shift-RAlign text right
OtherCommand-Option-MMinimize an app
Command-Option-FEnter full screen mode
Command-Option-QClose an app

Note: This table is not exhaustive, and there are many other keyboard shortcuts available on the iPad. For a complete list, please refer to the Apple Support website: https://support.apple.com/en-us/102393: https://support.apple.com/en-us/102393

Introduction to iPad Keyboard Shortcuts

iPad users have the advantage of utilizing keyboard shortcuts, much like a traditional PC or a Mac, to expedite their interaction with iOS or iPadOS. These shortcuts are a series of keys that, when pressed together, execute specific commands on the iPad, improving both efficiency and productivity.

Common Shortcuts:

  • Command-H: Takes you to the Home screen
  • Command-Space: Opens the Search field

For those using an iPad Pro or any other iPad model with a keyboard, the learning curve is simplified. The presence of the Command ⌘ key on the Apple keyboard plays a central role in these shortcuts, operating similarly to the Control key on PC keyboards.

Shortcuts can also take advantage of the unique “Globe” key found on some iPad keyboards:

  • Globe + M: Shows all shortcuts
  • Globe + Q: Opens Quick Note

By embracing these shortcuts, users can navigate their device with greater speed. It’s also possible to create custom shortcuts, aligning the iPad experience more closely with individual needs. Beyond mere convenience, the integration of keyboard shortcuts into daily use can fundamentally transform the user’s interaction with their device.

Getting Started with Keyboard Shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts on the iPad help streamline your workflow and save time. By understanding the basic combinations, you can enhance efficiency with quick and easy commands.

Understanding Modifier Keys

Modifier keys on the iPad keyboard, such as the Command (⌘), Option (⌥), Control (⌃), and Shift (⇧), are the building blocks of most shortcuts. They alter the function of other keys when used together, enabling a variety of commands.

Command Key (⌘): Often used in shortcuts to perform actions.
Option Key (⌥): Introduces alternative actions or variations of other commands.
Shift Key (⇧): Usually modifies commands to perform related but different actions, such as capitalization.
Control Key (⌃): Less commonly used, but essential for some specific shortcuts.

Essential Commands for Beginners

For new users, there are a few key commands that are fundamental:

  1. Go to the Home Screen:

    • ⌘-H: Quickly switch to the Home screen from any app.
  2. Search:

    • ⌘-Space bar: Opens the search field to find apps, documents, and more.
  3. Text Editing:

    • Bold: While typing, select the text and press ⌘-B.
    • Italic: Select the text and press ⌘-I.
  4. Screenshots:

    • ⇧-⌘-3: Takes a screenshot of the entire screen.
    • ⇧-⌘-4: Takes a screenshot and opens the editing markup immediately.
  5. Dock and App Switcher:

    • Option-⌘-D: Shows or hides the Dock within an app.
    • ⌘-Tab: Opens the app switcher to move between apps.

Using these shortcuts can greatly enhance your ability to navigate and use your iPad efficiently. Remember, practice is key, and with time, these commands will become second nature.

Text Editing and Navigation

Efficiently editing text and navigating through documents is a breeze with the right keyboard shortcuts on the iPad.

Basic Text Manipulation

Using an external keyboard with your iPad enables quick text manipulation. Key combinations can perform actions like bold (Command+B), italics (Command+I), and underline (Command+U). These basic shortcuts help to emphasize text as needed:

  • Copy: Command+C
  • Cut: Command+X
  • Paste: Command+V

Advanced Text Editing Commands

To further refine texts, advanced editing commands come in handy:

  • Select All: Command+A to highlight all text
  • Redo: Shift+Command+Z lets you reverse an undo action

Navigating Text Fields and Documents

Navigating through text fields and documents is essential for productivity:

  • Jump to top: Command+Up Arrow
  • Jump to bottom: Command+Down Arrow

By pressing Tab, one can move between text fields and other interactive elements within an app, enhancing the speed of navigation.

iPad Screen Management

Mastering iPad keyboard shortcuts greatly simplifies navigating the interface and managing screens. Whether one is toggling between apps, utilizing the Dock, or accessing the Home Screen, these shortcuts enhance productivity and streamline the user experience.

Managing Apps and Windows

Switching Between Open Apps: Use Command + Tab to swiftly move to the last active app. To view all active apps, press and hold Command + Tab, then use the Tab key to cycle through the list. Release the keys to select an app.

Entering and Exiting Split View:

  • To enter Split View in Safari, one can drag a tab to either side of the screen, allowing for side-by-side browsing.
  • To exit Split View, they can drag the divider to the edge of the screen.

App Switcher Access: Press Command + H to quickly return to the Home Screen, or use the App Switcher (Command + Tab) to navigate to a specific app without returning Home.

Using iPad Dock and Home Screen

Accessing the Dock within Apps: The Dock is key for rapid task switching. Inside an app, Option + Command + D reveals the Dock.

Engaging with the Home Screen:

  • To visit the Home Screen using the keyboard, press Command + H.
  • For Spotlight Search from the Home Screen or within an app, press Command + Space bar.

Utilizing these specific shortcuts, one can manage their iPad screens efficiently, moving from one activity to another without fuss, and keeping focus on productivity.

Operating System and App Shortcuts

iPad keyboard shortcuts can make navigation and task management much more efficient. They offer quick actions for system operations and built-in apps, streamlining your workflow.

System Wide Shortcuts

Accessing Features Quickly:

  • Screenshot: Command (⌘) + Shift + 3 for capturing the screen, and Command (⌘) + Shift + 4 to capture and enter Markup.
  • Spotlight Search: Quickly find files, apps, or information with Command (⌘) + Space bar.
  • Control Center: Control + Space bar brings this up instantly.
  • Notification Center: Access your alerts with Command (⌘) + Shift + N.
  • Switching Apps: Use Command (⌘) + Tab to cycle through open apps.

Managing Settings and Accessibility:

  • Settings: Open settings with ‘Command (⌘) + Comma (,)’.
  • Accessibility Shortcuts: Triple-click the Home button or side button, depending on your iPad model.

Shortcut Commands for Native Apps

Calendar and Notes Management:

  • Calendar: Use Command (⌘) + N to create a new event.
  • Notes App: Create a new note with Command (⌘) + N, and search within notes using Command (⌘) + F.

Interacting with Siri and Other System Functions:

  • Siri: Activate Siri with Command (⌘) + Space bar and hold it.
  • App Exposé: View all windows from an app with Control + Down Arrow.


  • Apps often have unique shortcuts; hold down the Command (⌘) key within an app to see what’s available.
  • macOS and iPadOS share many shortcut key structures, which helps in switching between devices.

By integrating these shortcuts into daily use, tasks on the iPad become faster and more intuitive.

Web Browsing Shortcuts

Using shortcuts can make web browsing on the iPad’s Safari browser faster and more efficient. Whether it’s quickly searching for a topic or managing tabs, these shortcuts can save time and streamline your internet experience.

Navigation Shortcuts in Safari

When using Safari, efficient navigation means knowing the right keyboard combinations. To jump straight to the search field, press the shortcut Command (⌘) + L. This allows you to type in a URL or a search query without reaching for the screen. If you’re looking to open a new private tab, which lets you browse without saving history, use Command (⌘) + Shift + N.

To navigate through your bookmarks:

  • Command (⌘) + Control + 1: Show or hide the Favorites Bar
  • Command (⌘) + Control + 2: View the Reading List

Webpage Control and Management

Managing webpages can be a breeze with handy keyboard shortcuts. If you want to enter Reader mode in Safari, which strips away all the clutter and shows only the article text, press Command (⌘) + Shift + R. Not all webpages support Reader mode, but for those that do, it offers a clean and distraction-free reading view.

Quick controls for webpages:

  • Command (⌘) + R: Refresh the current page
  • Command (⌘) + T: Open a new tab
  • Command (⌘) + W: Close the current tab

By integrating these shortcuts into your daily browsing habits, you can navigate and control webpages on Safari with elegance and ease.

Productivity and Multitasking

Enhancing productivity on an iPad is chiefly about knowing the right keyboard shortcuts to juggle multiple apps efficiently.

Working with Multiple Apps

Managing several apps at once is a breeze with iPadOS’s multitasking capabilities. Users can swiftly switch between applications, making their workflow smoother. To activate the App Switcher, which displays all open apps, press the Globe + Up Arrow. When working with the App Switcher, individuals can easily move to the previous app by hitting Globe + Left Arrow.

Switching to a different app without using the App Switcher is also straightforward. Simply use Command + Left Arrow or Command + Right Arrow to toggle to the app on the left or right, respectively.

For those who frequently use Split View, this multitasking feature is enhanced with quick keyboard shortcuts that allow users to see and work with two apps side-by-side. The shortcuts for managing Split View and improving multitasking workflows include:

  • Globe + Down Arrow: Displays all windows for the current app, allowing users to choose which ones to enter Split View with.
  • Globe + A: Shows the dock, which can be used to drag apps into Split View.

Remember, the Globe key is your gateway to multitasking on an iPad. With these shortcuts, users can navigate through their tasks with the confidence of having top-notch productivity tools at their fingertips.

Customization of Keyboard Shortcuts

Customizing keyboard shortcuts on an iPad offers a more personalized and efficient experience. Users can quickly perform actions with ease.

Custom Key Combinations and Accessibility

Full Keyboard Access is a feature that’s built into the iPad’s operating system. It allows users to navigate the UI using only a keyboard. This is particularly handy for those who may find touching the screen challenging. Users can enable this feature in the iPad’s settings, which then lets them jump between different elements like buttons and links with key presses.

To customize keyboard shortcuts, one can go to the keyboard settings on the iPad and choose from a variety of options. Here’s how:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Scroll down and select Keyboard.
  4. Tap Hardware Keyboard.
  5. Choose Modifier Keys to assign different functions to keys like Caps Lock, Control, or Command.

Users can also create their own shortcuts for phrases or commands they use often. It involves the following steps:

  • Navigate to Keyboard settings as outlined above.
  • Go to Text Replacement.
  • Tap the plus (+) button to add a new shortcut.
  • Under Phrase, type the full phrase.
  • Under Shortcut, input the abbreviation you’ll type to trigger the full phrase.

Using these settings, one can make their iPad experience more accessible and tailored to their needs.

Compatibility with External Devices

The iPad offers seamless integration with a variety of external keyboards, whether you’re using a Bluetooth device or a hardware keyboard. This flexibility enables users to enhance their productivity on the go.

Pairing and Using External Keyboards

Pairing an external keyboard with your iPad is straightforward. Start by turning on your keyboard’s Bluetooth feature. On your iPad, navigate to Settings > Bluetooth and select your keyboard from the list of devices. Once paired, the external keyboard should connect automatically when turned on. Keyboards from Apple, like the Magic Keyboard and Smart Keyboard, are designed to work natively with the iPad. They connect via the Smart Connector or Bluetooth without the need for additional setup.

Shortcut Variations Across Different Keyboards

While many keyboard shortcuts remain consistent across various keyboards, there can be slight changes based on the manufacturer. For instance, the Command key on Mac keyboards initiates shortcuts, while on a PC keyboard, you might use the Ctrl key. Remember that custom shortcuts specific to a Mac or PC may not work on an iPad. It’s good to check the documentation for your keyboard or experiment to learn which shortcuts are available. The on-screen keyboard retains its functionality for quick access to the iPad’s features, augmenting the use of external devices.

Using Shortcuts in Creative and Professional Apps

Mastering keyboard shortcuts enhances efficiency, especially when working with creative and professional applications on the iPad. These quick key presses allow users to perform tasks without disruption, simplifying complex sequences into seamless actions.

Enhancing Workflow in Productivity Software

Pages, Apple’s powerful word processor, provides users with a rich set of shortcuts that streamline the workflow. For example:

  • Bold Text: Command + B
  • Italicize Text: Command + I
  • Underline Text: Command + U

By employing these quick commands, users can style their text on the fly, greatly increasing their productivity.

In creative apps used for markup, shortcuts can be particularly handy for making quick annotations:

  • Add Comment: Shift + Command + A
  • Highlight Selection: Shift + Command + H

Those working in a business environment will find that keyboard shortcuts can help manage spreadsheets and presentation software effectively, speeding up tasks like data entry or slide navigation. Tech teams can benefit too, using shortcuts to swiftly navigate through code editors or design tools.

Moreover, staying up-to-date with tech news can inform users about new shortcuts or updates to existing ones, ensuring that they always have the tools to stay ahead in their creative and professional tasks.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

When an iPad’s keyboard shortcuts stop working, it can be frustrating. Here are some steps you can take to resolve the problem:

General Troubleshooting Steps:

  1. Restart your iPad: Sometimes a simple restart can resolve minor software glitches.
  2. Check for updates: Make sure that your iPadOS is up to date, as new updates can fix known issues.

Settings Adjustments:

  • Navigate to Settings > General > Keyboard to ensure keyboard shortcuts are enabled.
  • If problems persist, try resetting all settings by going to Settings > General > Reset > Reset All Settings.

Accessibility Features:

  • Some accessibility settings might interfere with keyboard function. Look through Settings > Accessibility to make sure relevant features are configured correctly.

Hardware Keyboard Issues:

  • Ensure the physical connection between the keyboard and iPad is secure if using an external hardware keyboard.
  • If you’re using a Bluetooth keyboard, check the battery level and reconnect it.
  • For a nonresponsive keyboard, disconnect and then reconnect it.


  • Custom shortcuts can be added through Settings > General > Keyboard > Text Replacement.
  • If you’ve recently installed third-party keyboards, they can sometimes cause conflicts. Remove them from Settings > General > Keyboard > Keyboards and test again.

These steps should help you get back to using your iPad with all the convenience of keyboard shortcuts. If problems persist, contacting Apple Support may be the best course of action.

Frequently Asked Questions

Navigating an iPad with keyboard shortcuts can be a game-changer when it comes to productivity and efficiency. Here are some common questions and straightforward answers about using them on your iPad.

How can I copy and paste text using keyboard shortcuts on an iPad?

To copy text on an iPad using a keyboard, simply select the text and press Command + C. To paste it, place the cursor where you want the text and press Command + V.

What shortcuts are available for navigating and editing on an iPad running iOS 16?

On an iPad with iOS 16, you can use Command + Up Arrow to jump to the top of a page, and Command + Down Arrow for the bottom. Pressing Command + Space activates a search from anywhere, giving quick access to files and apps.

Can I use keyboard shortcuts with my Logitech keyboard connected to an iPad?

Most standard keyboard shortcuts that work with Apple’s Smart Keyboard also work with the Logitech keyboard. So, you can use shortcuts like Cmd + H for Home and Cmd + Tab to switch between apps.

What should I do if my iPad keyboard shortcuts are not responding?

First, ensure your Bluetooth keyboard is charged and properly connected to your iPad. If problems persist, check if keyboard shortcuts are enabled in your iPad’s settings, and consider restarting your iPad.

How can I enable and use full keyboard access on my iPad for better control?

Go to your iPad’s Settings, select ‘Accessibility’, and then ‘Keyboards’. Under ‘Full Keyboard Access’, toggle it on. You can now use your keyboard to navigate through the iPad’s interface.

Are there any differences in shortcut functionality between iPadOS 15 and iPadOS 16?

Yes, each new version of iPadOS usually brings additional shortcuts and enhancements. For example, iPadOS 16 might include new shortcuts for features that were not present in iPadOS 15. Always check the latest user guide for updates.

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