A keyboard case can make your iPad more like a laptop – here are the best of them
Apple’s iPad is optimised for utility, but if you have any hopes of using it for work you’ll want to invest in a keyboard cover. These clever pieces of kit double up as a protective cover and lightweight keyboard for your device.
You can, of course, buy the one designed by Apple itself (and we include this in our list below), but you may want to consider some alternatives if you’re in the market for something more rugged, or a keyboard case that looks more like a laptop, or a budget option.
With a wide range of keyboard cases to choose from, it can be difficult to decide which one best suits your needs. We’ve got you covered with our guide to choosing an iPad keyboard case, followed by our pick of the best to buy.
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The best iPad keyboard case: At a glance
How to choose the best iPad keyboard case for you
Does one size fit all iPads?
Due to different iPad models having different dimensions, the size of a keyboard case will vary too. Typically on the case’s product page, the manufacturer will specify which iPad model the item is designed for and will provide accurate measurements. Remember that iPads subtly shift between generations, so a 2019 iPad mini isn’t quite the same as a 2013 one, say, even though the screen size is the same. It may still fit, but you may be left covering ports, blocking the camera or what have you.
Just to be safe, there will also be a “key specs” section for every case we recommend that breaks down the nitty-gritty of each entry on our list. You will also find a “designed for” section, specifying which iPad models each case fits.
How do they connect?
When connecting to an iPad, a keyboard case often uses a wireless Bluetooth connection, so you don’t have to mess with any pesky wires and cables. As the cases are wireless, however, some of them need to be charged separately from time to time or have their batteries replaced. Fortunately, a good wireless case can last for dozens of hours before running dry, so you don’t have to worry about them dying on you anytime soon.
The big exception to this is Apple’s own Smart Keyboard Folio which uses a special connection to the iPad Pro, meaning it doesn’t require battery-draining Bluetooth and gets its power directly from the iPad.
READ NEXT: The best wireless keyboards to buy
Can I just use a Bluetooth keyboard instead?
As most keyboard cases operate wirelessly using Bluetooth, it’s possible to just use a regular Bluetooth keyboard instead. If you do decide to go this route, you’d obviously be losing the convenience of a carrying case, but if you prefer a more traditional setup, then using a Bluetooth keyboard is a good alternative.
What else should I look for?
Most keyboard cases come with a bunch of additional features to try and help them stand out from their competitors. Some will offer extra protection from falls and scratches, others allow for extensive customisation and there are cases that provide multi-angle stands, allowing you to place your iPad in multiple positions. Essentially, based on your preferences, you can almost certainly find a versatile case that suits your needs in both design and practicality.
READ NEXT: Which Apple iPad should you choose?
The best iPad keyboard cases you can buy
1. Apple Smart Keyboard Folio: The best official iPad keyboard case
Price: £139 | Buy now from John Lewis
If you’re looking for a reliable iPad Pro keyboard, it makes sense to buy one made by Apple. The Apple Smart Keyboard Folio is sleek, elegant and simple in design and will connect easily to your iPad Pro without any pairing. This is thanks to the case’s Smart Connector, which transfers both data and power between the iPad Pro and the case, eliminating the need for batteries or charging. All you have to do is attach the folio and you’re good to go.
Designed for: iPad (10.2in), iPad Pro (10.5in), iPad Air (3rd Gen)
Key specs – Connection type: Smart Connector; Battery life: Unlimited; Dimensions: 262 x 194 x 14mm (WDH); Weight: 450g Warranty: Two year guarantee
2. Logitech Slim Folio Pro: The best iPad keyboard case for style
Price: £86 | Buy now from Amazon
Logitech is known for creating reliable PC keyboards and that same reliability can be found in its transition into the tablet market with the Logitech Slim Folio Pro. While expensive, the keyboard provides a good level of protection from falls, scratches and spills.
The keyboard offers more than just protection, however, featuring a multi-angle stand, built-in Bluetooth, an adjustable backlit keyboard and three-month battery life. The folio can even be used in three separate modes for typing, reading and sketching. With the ability to also store and charge Apple Pencil’s, the Logitech Slim Folio Pro is both practical and versatile.
Designed for: iPad Pro (11in & 12.9in)
Key specs – Connection type: Bluetooth; Battery life: Three months (based on two hours daily use); Dimensions: 25.3 x 2.3 x 19.5 cm (WDH); Weight: 553g; Warranty: Two year manufacturer’s guarantee
3. ZAGG Rugged Messenger: The best heavy-duty iPad keyboard case
Price: From £90 | Buy now from Zagg
If you’re worried about dropping your iPad but also want a good keyboard, then the ZAGG Rugged Messenger will be what you’re looking for. Designed to withstand impact and corner damage, this keyboard case provides multiple layers of protection using a polycarbonate structure that protects iPads from falls of up to six feet. It doesn’t completely favour function over form, either, having a backlit keyboard for low light environments, with several colours to choose from.
Designed for: iPad (10.2in)
Key specs – Connection type: Bluetooth; Battery life: Two years (based on one hour daily use); Dimensions: 19.5 x 2.3 x 26.1cm (WDH); Weight: 694g; Warranty: Two year limited warranty
4. Brydge Air MAX Plus: The best laptop-style iPad keyboard case
Price: £110 | Buy now from Brydge
This iPad keyboard case is likely the closest you’ll find to replicating a traditional laptop. While the case doesn’t offer any additional protection from falls, scratches and similar damage, it can be easily attached to your iPad and is designed to complement it in every way, with size, colour and material all matching. With quick key input response time, backlit keys, a built-in trackpad and a hinge design that allows for varied viewing flexibility, your iPad will be transformed into its own mini MacBook.
Designed for: iPad Air (4th and 5th Gen); iPad Pro (11in)
Key specs – Connection type: Bluetooth; Battery life: Three months (based on two hour daily use); Dimensions: 195 x 21 x 254mm (WDH); Weight: 840g; Warranty: One-year limited warranty
5. Arteck Universal Backlit iPad Keyboard: The best backlit iPad keyboard case
Price: £19 | Buy now from Amazon
If you’re looking for a keyboard case that allows you to extensively customise your experience, the Arteck Universal Backlit iPad Keyboard lets you adjust the colour and brightness of its backlight feature. The keyboard is also compatible with Android, macOS and Windows operating systems, allowing you versatility. Even though the keyboard doesn’t provide any extra protection for the iPad, it does have a 6-month battery life.
Designed for: iPad (2010), iPad 2 (2011); iPad Air (2013), iPad Air 2 (2014); iPad Mini (2012), iPad Mini 2 (2013), iPad Mini 3 (2014)
Key specs – Connection type: Bluetooth; Battery life: Six months (based on two hour daily use); Dimensions: 24.7 x 0.6 x 15cm (WDH); Weight: 218g; Warranty: Two year warranty