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Wednesday, November 09, 2016

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How to Connect and Use Bluetooth Keyboard with Android Device

Oyetoke Tobi - Wednesday, November 09, 2016

A lot of people are starting to realize that tablets make decent productivity tools. You may be looking for a way to create something similar with your Android device with devices like the Microsoft Surface and iPad Pro which are now becoming more popular. However it is extremely simple with a Bluetooth keyboard.

So here’s how to connect and use a Bluetooth keyboard with your Android device.

How to Connect Your Keyboard

So the first thing to do is to pair and set up a Bluetooth keyboard with your Android and doing that is very easy. All what you need is a Bluetooth keyboard and, of course, an Android device. So we’ll be using a Logitech Keys-to-Go keyboard for this tutorial.

You have to enable Bluetooth on your Android device if it isn’t already on. So to enable Bluetooth, just head to Settings > Bluetooth and tap on the toggle button to “On”. Then turn on your Bluetooth keyboard and put it into pairing mode. You don’t need to worry about the pairing mode; it will automatically go into pairing mode after you turn it on. However, some keyboards may require an extra step to do this. You can check your Bluetooth keyboard manual for more info about it.

Your Android device should automatically search for and find your keyboard or you can just search for it manually by tapping on any buttons that says something like “Search for Device”. You can turn the keyboard off/on again and then tap “Search for Devices” to try again if it doesn’t work. And in case it doesn’t still work yet, ensure the keyboard is charged and isn’t paired to another device which is currently on. You will have to disconnect it before it will be able to work with your Android device if it is connected to another device.

Your Bluetooth keyboard name will show up under the “Available Devices” if your Android device had seen your keyboard. So tap on your keyboard Bluetooth name and you will be asked to allow it.

You should be able to see that your Bluetooth keyboard is now “Connected” to your Android device.

So you can try to press the Windows+Esc buttons on the keyboard or Command+Esc if it’s a Mac keyboard to test it, and you will be taken to your Android Home screen.

How to Use Your Keyboard

Of course everyone already knows that keyboards can be used to type out emails, blog posts, or whatsoever other long text you want to type. However, keyboard can do more than that and one of the major functions of keyboards is the keyboard shortcuts. A regular Windows and Mac user probably knew that there’s a keyboard shortcut for almost everything function you want to carry out. So what are the built-in keyboard shortcut commands for Android?

Android has a lot of keyboard shortcuts you can use to navigate through your Android quickly and easily. There are also regular keyboard combos you can use to get around your Android. Note that Android is and will always be a touch-first interface.

So with it you’ll be able to navigate through your Android device easily and quickly without having to lift your hands off the keys. However, obviously you will still use your Android screen on some occasions unless you would like to connect a mouse to it.

For instance, you can wake up your device by just tapping on a key rather than pressing its default power button. And in case you have password or PIN enabled, you can easily type in with your keyboard. However, if your device has a slide or pattern-locked then you’ll have no choice but to use the touch screen to unlock it. And some other things like moving widgets, app controls and features also have to be tapped.

The one thing you can always do with the Keyboard easily is search. So you can start typing from the Home screen, the search screen will automatically open and will start showing results.

There are some basic keyboard shortcuts you can use on Android listed below:

Esc = Go Back
Ctrl+Esc = Menu
Alt+Space = Search Page (say “OK Google” to start voice search)
Alt+Tab and Alt+Shift+Tab = Switch Tasks

Just like Windows and Mac, there are some dedicated keyboard shortcuts that are used to launch built-in apps such as contacts, calculator, Gmail, and so on:

Windows+C = Contacts
Windows+G = Gmail
Windows+L = Calendar
Windows+P = Play Music
Windows+Y = YouTube

In general, the list above is not a comprehensive list, and there are no dedicated keyboard shortcut combos for the full array of Google’s products. 

You can also make use of the arrow keys to easily navigate through your Home screen shortcuts and open the app drawer. You can press “Enter” to select anything alighted. So when an app, widgets or button on the screen is selected, it will be highlighted. 

Furthermore, some app has its own set of shortcuts, such as Gmail or Chrome, though not many will work on Android device (YouTube, for instance). In addition, you shouldn’t forget to use some of the “universal” shortcuts such as Copy (Ctrl+C), Cut (Ctrl+X), Paste (Ctrl+V), and Select All (Ctrl+A) work in all apps. 

Of course, you can always create your own custom shortcuts. With it you can easily open any of your apps just by pressing the combinations of keyboard keys. You can check this article on how to Create Custom Application Shortcuts. 

Making use of keyboards with Android makes things easier especially when it comes to type a long article. There are enough existing keyboard shortcuts in Android you i.e. you don’t even need to add customizations. And when it comes to typing text such as in an editor or terminal application, we fully recommend physical keyboards.


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