One of the new features that will arrive with iOS 13 next month is support for a mouse. It should help push the iPad closer to being a true laptop replacement for many users, but YouTuber Napabar found an even better use for the feature: upgrading his iPhone X with both an original Macintosh computer and mouse.
As you can probably imagine, given the Apple Macintosh’s M0110 keyboard and M0100 mouse were released 35 years ago, the Lightning connector used on all modern iPhones was still decades away. So to bridge the vintage hardware and his iPhone X, Napabar had to rely on a couple of adapters.
One for the M0110 keyboard’s RJ11 cable (which looks like a telephone cable, but with different wiring), and one for the M0100 mouse’s DE-9 serial port connector. But given how nostalgic ‘80s kids are for retro hardware now, finding adapters that made both of those peripherals USB friendly wasn’t actually all that difficult.
That wasn’t the end of the rat’s nest of dongles and adapters, however. The iPhone X was perched on a stand that made its Lightning connector USB-compatible, while a USB hub connected to that allowed the mouse and keyboard to be wired up at the same time.
If you did grow up in the ‘80s and ‘90s and spent any amount of time working with desktop computers, you’re probably waiting for exasperated tales of trying to find the right device drivers and software to make this hack work — but once they were plugged in, iOS was totally happy to play ball with the antique peripherals.
To make a mouse work on your iOS 13 device you do need to pop into the Accessibility settings and turn on Assistive Touch, but that’s really the only software hoop you need to jump through.
Watching someone use an iPhone with a mouse and keyboard seems completely against everything iOS was designed for — let alone hardware from the ‘80s. But the clackety sound of the keys on that original Macintosh keyboard? That’s a vast improvement to the simulated ticks and clicks of iOS’ own software keyboard.