Following my this question I finally decided to get a wireless Bluetooth keyboard for my iPad Mini. I bought some cheap (around 40 USD) Chinese crap, but designed specifically for iPad Mini -- i.e. an aluminium cover with Bluetooth keyboard inside.
The problem is, that iPad Mini is always disconnecting Bluetooth connection with this keyboard, once it goes dark, and can't re-establish it, once it comes back. As you may read from the following, detailed description, this seems not to be a keyboard-related problem.
So, the general question here is, how to force iPad Mini to keep Bluetooth connection alive even once it get off? Or, how to force it to reconnect to once paired device, after it returns on-line? So I don't have to re-pair device each time, I want to use it? Details follows.
Issue happens any time iPad Mini or Bluetooth connection is disabled -- i.e. screen is turned off, it has Bluetooth turned-off (same, as if I disable Bluetooth in the keyboard itself) or keyboard or iPad is turned off completely. Always after turning on, un-dimming or re-enabling Bluetooth, devices must be paired again. I.e. iPad Mini has my keyboard on Bluetooth devices list, but always marked as "disconnected". I had to tap it, enter PIN code on the keyboard and hit Enter to re-pair devices again.
It happens always, even after two minutes lasting screen-dim, when both devices are all the time on and Bluetooth is enabled on both of them. As you may imagine, this is very frustrating and causes using this keyboard nearly useless.
I've contacted manufacturer (supplier) of my keyboard and got immediate reply, that they weren't able to test exactly this keyboard, as they out of iPad Minis, but they tested very similar one with iPhone 4S and iPad 2. An no matter, what they did, devices were reconnecting together after any of them were awaken. There were no need to re-pair devices or enter PIN code once they were initially paired-up. This caused supplier to think, that device is malfunctioning and ask me to send it back to them.
Just before I did so, I made some tests with other devices. I used two Android-based devices, though keyboard is designed for iPad Mini with iOS. I conluded following tests:
- screen dim and un-dim in tested device,
- waiting 15 minutes for keyboard to go to power-saving mode,
- turning off Bluetooth on device and turning it on back,
- turning off Bluetooth on keyboard and turning it on back,
- completely turning off the device with Bluetooth enabled and restarting it back,
- completely turning off keyboard by using its power switch.
And -- shock (at least to me)! -- absolutely no problems. Exactly as supplier wrote to me -- no matter, what I would do, once both devices are brought back on-line, their pair-up and connect automatically and I can use it instantly or in worst scenario, I have to press any key on the keyboard and wait 3-5 seconds until it wakes up and reconnect.
So this is clearly not a hardware problem and keyboard is working just fine.
Every time I turn my iPad Mini's screen on, I clearly see that Bluetooth icon in status bar is grayed, meaning, that Bluetooth is enabled, but all connections has been disconnected and there is no active device connected. This does not happens on Android-based devices. If I un-dim them, reconnect Bluetooth or even restart entire device, I see active Bluetooth icon, which is nearly immediately replaced with active connection icon.
I have dig through entire iPad configuration, but found no option about keeping Bluetooth connections to devices alive or pairing them up permanently.
If anyone have any idea, what is wrong, or what I'm doing wrong, please share it here. Being forced to go to configuration, reconnect keyboard and enter PIN each time I want to make use of it, simply drives me crazy. On the other hand I can't send keyboard back to the supplier, because it seems that it is 100% fine and iPad Mini is doing some strange things.
Finally, is this case something for local Apple support? Does Apple supports solving problems with third-party devices? As I convinced myself and proved, this seems to be 100% iPad Mini-related problem, but I understand that it may take years to convince Apple support representative, that problem is not caused by Chinese keyboard.