My workspace tends to be a multi-device environment. I am often performing a task on my Mac, chatting with someone on my iPhone (often about my current task), and researching a topic on my iPad. For a long time I “suffered” 1 with switching between these devices by moving my hands from device to device to device. Moving from the Macbook to the iPad never really bothered me, as I can type fairly well on the iPad. Moving to the iPhone, however, has always proved a challenge. Typing on a phone-sized screen has never been my favorite thing to do.
What I wanted was a way to be able to switch a keyboard between devices on the fly, so I wouldn’t have to constantly be switching between tactile and touch keyboards, and without constantly switching my entire body’s focus on to another device merely to type a sentence or two. I could have picked up something like the Logitech Easy Switch Keyboard, which would have allowed me to pair multiple devices and switch between them on the fly. In fact, I almost did pick up just such a keyboard on occasion. I never could make myself complete the purchase, though, it never made sense to add another keyboard between myself and my Macbook. After all, it already had about the best Keyboard on which I’d ever used to type 2.
The solution to my “problem” came in the form of an app called 1Keyboard. The nifty utility resided in the Mac Finder Bar and allows you to pair your Mac’s keyboard to any bluetooth enabled device. Once paired, the central Mac’s keyboard acts as through it were simply a bluetooth keyboard connected to a chosen device. I’ve paired 1 Keyboard with other Macs, iOS devices, AppleTV’s, and even Android Tablets 3. Each paired device can be set to a specific keystroke, once triggered connections are made in a moment. 1 Keyboard can even pass text copied to the Mac’s clipboard over to a connected device – unfortunately, the process doesn’t work in the opposite direction. My only complaint is a warning about using the fn key when using the media playback keys 4 which pops up each time I hit the Caps Lock key on my keyboard.
1Keyboard is fast, simple, and makes use of the hardware I already own. Users can download a limited free version, which limits the number of keystrokes which can be typed while connected, in the Mac App Store. The full version is currently listed at $9.99. That might seem steep for an app, but once yo use it you’ll wonder why it was so cheap. This is app I can highly recommend to anyone who needs to type on multiple devices.
- I use that word with a cringe, calling using three powerful devices “suffering” is the definition of a First World Problem. Language is an imprecise art form. ↩
- That said, the Retina MacBook pro does feel a bit too mushy, my older Macbook had a much nicer feel to the keys. ↩
- This is especially cool. I much prefer iOS to Android in general, but external keyboard support in Android is stellar. ↩
- The function keys. ↩