I often pick up my iPad and move away from its Bluetooth keyboard without turning the keyboard off. Whenever I need to type some text, I'm reminded that I can't see the virtual iOS keyboard until I either:

  • walk to the Bluetooth keyboard and turn it off,
  • turn off Bluetooth on my iPad, which disconnects the keyboard but also other devices like Bluetooth speakers or Apple Pencil.

Is there another, more convenient option?

(Sent from my Bluetooth-disabled iPad since I was too lazy to walk to my Bluetooth keyboard)

8 Answers 8


Long press the arrow in the keyboard menu bar (or whatever this thing is called) to bring up the keyboard:

enter image description here

  • 4
    Commenting just to note this is apparently an iPad-only feature. There seems to be no menu bar on iPhone (not even on Plus). Commented Aug 14, 2017 at 7:43
  • I knew there had to be a better way. Good tip!
    – SmileBot
    Commented Jul 1, 2019 at 20:09
  • 1
    Is there a way to get that triangle up on iPad once it’s dismissed?
    – bmike
    Commented Feb 24, 2020 at 19:10
  • If it can be useful to anyone in the same situation as me: with an iPad Pro with a smart/folio keyboard running iOS 14, the "shortcut bar" (having a keyboard switching button on the bottom right, similar to what is show above), only appeared after I have toggled the "Settings -> General -> All Keyboards -> Shortcuts" option.
    – cjauvin
    Commented Jul 31, 2021 at 17:04

Although this is an old thread, I’m sharing this with you - just in case it’ll help somebody: If you’re using an Apple wireless keyboard, you can use the eject (top right) button to show up / hide the virtual keyboard. To switch input language, use the "Fn" (bottom left) button. Since this is very helpful and since iPad pro Smart Keyboard is probably the most expensive keyboard in the world, this key is of course missing on it.. Great, especially because as far as I know there not no other way to start dictation (microphone button)...

  • Perfect, exactly what I was looking for. Thank you.
    – Glenn Wark
    Commented Apr 6, 2019 at 14:03
  • I once accidentally discovered a keypress combination on specific brands of Bluetooth keyboards. It was an Fn key, combined with a modifier key (forgot which), combined with one of the function keys (forgot which). Depending on your brand of Bluetooth keyboard, you might have a hidden three-key combination that sends the same keycode as a show/hide keyboard. Unfortunately this is hit-and-miss and I no longer have that specific keyboard, but it was an easter egg. Commented Feb 24, 2020 at 18:27

Open Bluetooth settings, disconnect from the keyboard is quicker than unpairing the keyboard entirely. If that works for your specific keyboard, you can use it - if not, you’ve already got the fastest method of disabling Bluetooth entirely.

  • 1
    I found it quicker to slide up the control panel and just disable Bluetooth by clicking on the Bluetooth icon. Then you can use the on screen keyboard
    – Matthew
    Commented Sep 10, 2018 at 5:46
  • 1
    Briefly cycling off-on the Bluetooth works for me -- double tap the button. This brings up the popup keyboard, while keeping the external keyboard ready to reconnect. Once you're done with the onscreen keyboard / emojis / dictation / etc -- just resume typing on the external keyboard. Most good external keyboard Bluetooth keyboards (of recent Bluetooth version) will automatically hide the on-screen keyboard upon the next keypress. Commented Feb 24, 2020 at 18:26

The solution to this is to add a mouse to the iPad and enable 'Show Onscreen Keyboard'

I had to do this to some iPads in a Kiosk with an RFID scanner attached so the onscreen keyboard would go away. I couldn't figure out a way to do it my config profile.

I guess Apple's thinking is that if you want to use mouse with iPad you'd want to use the mouse to 'type' with the Onscreen Keyboard.


Sadly, that setting has gone in iPad 15.x :-(

Anyone know how to keep the on-screen keyboard displayed, even when a Bluetooth keyboard (barcode scanner) is attached?

If it can't be done as a setting, then perhaps in Javascript (only need if for an in-house web app)?

  • Were you able to be find a solution? I don't have iPad OS 15 yet but just wondering.
    – Noitidart
    Commented Nov 18, 2022 at 1:16
  • 1
    Sadly no @Noitidart
    – jlbrown
    Commented Nov 19, 2022 at 2:16
  • Darn, thanks, if anyone finds out how would be awesome to hear. I'll also keep you updated if I get my hands on a iPad OS 15
    – Noitidart
    Commented Nov 19, 2022 at 2:49
  • Also me interested in solution for this. Commented Feb 15 at 10:29

The logitech combo touch keyboard for the iPad actually has a button in the top row to call up the keyboard on the screen. I do a lot of voice dictation instead of typing, so I like this feature when the keyboard is attached to my iPad.


My only annoyance is not being able to bring up the emoji keyboard. It hides it once an external keyboard is connected. Although, I did figure out a fix for that...

Go to Settings > Accessibility > Keyboards > Full Keyboard Access (turn this on).

You will be able to control your device with the keyboard. When you are typing in a window, press control to bring up the keyboard options.


Campbell McDermid’s comment above solved it for me. I use the Logitech K380 with my iPad (currently with iOS 17).

I found another way to launch the emoji keyboard. press and hold the command key to show all a the keyboard shortcuts. Then, tap on the “Emoji fnE” and the emoji keyboard pops up. What’s strange is typing fn+E does not work.

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