Despite advances in capacitive touch screens, most people still fumble with on-screen keyboards even with the haptic feedback available on some Android devices. Auto-correct helps some of the time, but can lead to some epic failures when it goes bad.
Pairing up a spare bluetooth keyboard is a simple way to return to the tried and trusted when typing a long email or working with a Pages or iWork document, but in many situations it isn’t convenient to carry that keyboard around with it. In some of these situations you might be carrying your Mac laptop with you, and that’s exactly what Type2Phone was designed for.
Type2Phone is a Mac only application that allows you to use any Mac keyboard (either a laptop’s native keyboard or any keyboard connected to a desktop Mac) to type on any iOS device. So if you don’t happen to have a spare bluetooth keyboard or iPad keyboard dock handy, you can use Type2Phone on your Mac to type to your iOS device (despite the app name iPads are supported).
Installation is straight forward, and happens via the Mac App Store. When you first use Type2Phone, it prompts you to pair your Mac to your iOS device. This simple process is no different to pairing any other two bluetooth devices, and once done you are good to go. Pairing more than one device is an easy process, and once I had paired both my iPhone and iPad it was a smooth process to switch between the two devices.
Type2Phone appears as a window on your Mac and when it is selected as the active window, any keyboard input is sent to whatever iOS device you have connected and paired to it. Clicking the focus out of that window returns the Mac keyboard to normal duties. It’s extremely simple and works very well. At times I forgot to click on the Type2Phone screen and started typing and assuming that the text would appear on my iPhone, but I got used to selecting the Type2Phone window every time I wanted to type to my iPhone. It was great to be able to continue using my Mac without having to close Type2Phone each time.
As you can see in the screenshot above, Type2Phone by default shows each keystroke as you type it on your Mac screen. I am not really sure why you would want to see live stroke-by-stroke confirmation of what output is being sent to your iOS device, but this is easily hidden if you want to in the preferences menu. If you are concerned about privacy, you can also get Type2Phone to mask the stroke output, which makes it appear like the following:
One of the nice features of Type2Phone is the ability to copy and paste text from your Mac to your IOS device directly. I noticed that pasting a block of text resulted in a long delay before the text suddenly appeared on my iPhone. I thought it might have crashed but it would seem that the time taken was to allow Type2Phone to deliver the block of text stroke-by-stroke to the phone. The lag was a little jarring but I expect it is a limitation of the iOS platform when sending a block of text to it as a bluetooth keyboard.
Type2Phone is a smart piece of software and does exactly as it promises to allow you to type to your iPhone (or iPad) using your Mac’s keyboard. It’s perfect for those that need to type longer messages on your iOS device but don’t have access to a spare bluetooth keyboard but do have their Mac close by. Type2Phone could be improved by allowing you to minimise it to a menu bar icon instead of occupying a large application window, but this is something which could be implemented in a future version and isn’t a bothersome omission. Type2Phone is available now via the Mac App Store for the very reasonable sum of $6.49.