I have an Apple bluetooth keyboard (A1255) paired to my iPad. Pressing the keyboard's eject button lets me hide or display the virtual keyboard. It makes sense to hide it with the external keyboard attached.

Is there a way to turn the virtual keyboard back on, while the BT keyboard is still paired, but without having physical access to the BT keyboard?

The reason I ask is because the keyboard can remain paired to the iPad throughout my whole house, so it's easy for the two to be physically separated by a few rooms or a floor but still paired.


8 Answers 8


This solution just works on an Ipad. when the soft keyboard disappears just press and hold the down arrow on the bottom right of the screen and the soft keyboard will be back.

  • 1
    This is the real answer — one I had been looking for for a long time! Thanks!! Commented Oct 25, 2018 at 3:37
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    The problem is if you tap, instead of hold that arrow, the bar that has that arrow slides down and off the screen. That’s what I’m struggling with as I have no idea how to get that back again., Do you? Commented Apr 26, 2020 at 22:26
  • @MarkA.Donohoe that's the same problem I had. I accidentally didn't hold it. To get it back I had to restart the device. Is there any other way do you know?
    – Noitidart
    Commented Nov 11, 2022 at 2:19
  • Unfortunately, nope! Commented Nov 12, 2022 at 0:01
  • I have tested this but it doesn't seem to work. There's actually no more arrow now.
    – Thinkr
    Commented May 13, 2023 at 17:46

The easiest answer without having access to the keyboard or Jailbreaking is to simply swipe up for control center (available starting with iOS 7 in September of 2013), then tap the Bluetooth icon to toggle bluetooth off. This will disconnect your keyboard, and will allow the software keyboard to return to the screen.

When you are near your keyboard again, turning Bluetooth back on will quickly reconnect and return you to your prior state.


I have found a solution that works great. We use a CS4070 Symbol/Zebra scanner with the ipad. The minus button on the scanner invokes the popup keyboard on the ipad while keeping the scanner connected.


If a Bluetooth keyboard is paired and connected, the On Screen Keyboard hides unless called upon, which is only doable from the Bluetooth Keyboard.

The solution to your problem is to turn off the keyboard when you're leaving to another room, or turn off Bluetooth on the iPad. It's as simple, or as hard, as that. But there's really no better way.


Steps to bring up onscreen keyboard (tested on ipadOS 13)

  1. Tab on screen where you want to type. Cursor should be blinking now.
  2. A bottom line should come up now with Chevron arrow down at right corner. Press and hold the button.

Note: If the bottom line doesn't show or you just tab on the arrow without holding, the line will disappear, in which you may bring it back by pressing command+option+K (or try other similar combinations) on your physical keyboard. and then go to step 2.

  • This does not seem to work anymore.
    – Thinkr
    Commented May 13, 2023 at 18:46

my case : i was connecting bluetooth barcode scanner. solution: double clicking the scanner button brought back the virtual keyboard.


Not a perfect answer, but if you have a jailbroken iPad with SBSettings installed you could get pretty close to a quick & easy solution. The only other option I know of is to go turn Bluetooth off in the Settings app, go back to your other app, and then turn Bluetooth back on when done.

For a jailbroken app, though, life is simpler:

  • Double-tap your status bar to activate SBSettings
  • Click "Bluetooth" to turn Bluetooth OFF
  • Hide the SBSettings window
  • Type away on your Virtual Keyboard (it should have popped up on its own, but not always. You might have to exit the text field and tap back into it.)
  • Repeat the above process (Double-tap status bar, click "Bluetooth") to re-enable Bluetooth.

Your keyboard will remain paired, though unusable, of course, while Bluetooth is off. Once turned back on again, your keyboard should pair with the iPad again the next time you use it.

(IIRC, you should only have to jailbreak and install SBSettings in Cydia. There are other toggles you can add to SBSettings, but Bluetooth should come pre-installed with SBSettings.)


I couldn't find any Bluetooth keyboad that support what you are looking for, I found a barcode scanner from Arkscan can solve the issue for me, and not all barcode scanner on the market can solve this issue, need to be careful. I paired the BT keyboard and the Arkscan ES301 BT barcode scanner, and both must be on, it works like this: 1. I can toggle/switch between the on-screen keyboard and BT keyboard by pressing double pressing the scan button. 2. For newer version of iOS, it allows you to toggle between on-screen keyboard, and on-screen keyboard plus BT keyboard at the same time, which I really like this feature.

Not sure if this is a good reason to get one of the scanners to accomplish your goal, but it's really helpful, this is the model I am referring to, http://www.arkscan.com/product/barcode-scanner/wireless-barcode-scanners/es301-mini-bluetooth-barcode-scanner

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