With the iPad Pro Apple showed that it had ambitions for its slate to be more than just a humble tablet, with the official Smart Keyboard turning it into more of a laptop alternative.
But third-party manufacturers have been making iPad keyboard cases for years, so you don’t need an iPad Pro – or an official accessory – to get your type on.
With that in mind we’ve created a list containing some of the very best keyboard iPad cases for all of the currently available models, and some of the older ones that are still popular.
Note: within each category we’ve ranked these from cheapest to most expensive according to prices at time of writing.
iPad Pro 10.5 keyboard cases
The iPad Pro 10.5 is a new model in a new size, bridging the gap between Apple’s mammoth 12.9-inch slates and its long-running 9.7-inch range.
It’s big enough for a full-size keyboard, so it’s great to type on, especially if you opt for one of these cases.
- Read our iPad Pro 10.5 review
The KuGi iPad Pro 10.5 Keyboard Case is one of the cheaper options, but it’s got more going for it than just a low price.
For one, it fully protects the front and back of your tablet, which the official Smart Keyboard doesn’t. It’s also got a slot for the Apple Pencil, and that too is surprisingly lacking from Apple’s option.
It can also be folded into a variety of angles and the keyboard itself is a decent size. But like most cheaper options it uses Bluetooth rather than the Smart Connector, which makes connecting it less seamless and means you’ll occasionally have to charge the thing.
Don’t let the name fool you, if you want a genuinely slim iPad Pro 10.5 keyboard case you’re better with Apple’s Smart Keyboard, but the Logitech Slim Combo is more feature-packed and cheaper.
It has backlit keys and shortcut buttons, the keyboard itself is detachable and the case can be propped up at four different angles.
It also protects both the front and back of your iPad, is powered by the Smart Connector and includes a slot for the Apple Pencil. It covers your iPad in dull plastic, but if you want function more than form it’s a strong option.
Apple’s official option is arguably the best option, though only if you can stomach the price tag. Its slim and light design adds very little weight and bulk to your iPad Pro 10.5, and as it uses the Smart Connector you don’t need to worry about charging it.
When using the keyboard you can only really stand your iPad in one position, which can be limiting, but it works on a desk or your lap, and when not using the keyboard you can fold it out of the way and angle the tablet in other ways.
The Apple Smart Keyboard also offers protection to the front of your slate, but not to the back, so you might want to consider a sleeve or back cover too (just make sure it fits with the keyboard attached).
iPad Pro 9.7 keyboard cases
The iPad Pro 9.7 is Apple’s latest and arguably greatest slate, but you can make it even better with one of these keyboard cases.
This keyboard doesn’t use the Smart Connector, instead pairing via Bluetooth, which means you will occasionally need to charge it.
But the case it’s attached to stands out through enhanced durability, as it can protect your tablet from drops of up to 6 feet on to concrete, while a soft interior keeps your iPad’s screen clean and scratch-free.
The Logitech Create is one of the best – and most expensive – keyboards you can get for the iPad Pro 9.7. It plugs in via the Smart Connector and draws power from the iPad itself, so it never needs charging.
Once placed in typing position it will also automatically connect to your iPad Pro, so there’s no need for Bluetooth, and with full size, backlit keys there’s plenty of space to type comfortably.
The Logitech Create case also has a holder for the Apple Pencil, built-in iOS shortcuts, and a sturdy cover, to keep your iPad safe.
The official Apple Smart Keyboard also ranks among the very best, as you might expect.
It’s slim and light, so it doesn’t hamper the portability of your iPad, but it also does the job it’s tasked with, as it’s reasonably spacious and works seamlessly – just connect it to the Smart Connector and get typing.
The Smart Connector also keeps it powered, so you never need to juice it up, and the keys offer a reassuring spring-like tension without the bulk found on a traditional keyboard. The only real downside is the typically Apple pricing.
iPad Pro 12.9 keyboard cases
This Fyy keyboard case is far cheaper than most of the big name ones and that’s one of its main selling points, but you still get a decent case for your money.
It’s a wireless Bluetooth one, rather than a Smart Connector one, so it will occasionally need charging, but it has a stylish faux-leather exterior, a holder for the Apple Pencil and comes in a choice of four colors.
It also has a slot for paperwork if you ever find yourself wanting to take notes the old-fashioned way, but you shouldn’t need to, as the keyboard itself is a good size and includes various function keys.
This Snugg keyboard is all about versatility. You can rotate the iPad 360 degrees inside the case and stand it at multiple angles, so whether you’re typing or viewing the case will accommodate you.
It also comes in a range of bright colors, which won’t appeal to everyone, but certainly help it stand out from other cases. It’s a Bluetooth keyboard though, so it will need charging from time to time.
We’ve included this very same keyboard in the iPad Pro 9.7 selection, but Logitech makes a 12.9-inch model too, and it’s good enough to be worth highlighting for both slates.
The Logitech Create Keyboard Case has an assortment of standout features, from full-size backlit keys, which let you type comfortably, even in the dark, to its row of iOS shortcuts along the top.
The Logitech Create also makes use of the Smart Connector for easy pairing and no charging, and the case itself provides some protection, as well as automatically waking your iPad up when you open it, and sleeping it when it’s closed.
New iPad keyboard cases
The new iPad is a relatively affordable option from Apple, offering a 9.7-inch screen and a stylish design, but lacking the power and features of the iPad Pro range, which many will find overkill.
Of course, if you’re planning to do a lot of typing then an iPad Pro might be a better option, but there are some decent keyboard cases available for the new iPad as well, such as the following three.
- Read our new iPad review
There’s a lot to like about the Fintie New iPad 9.7-inch Keyboard Case, starting with its low price and the wide range of colors and designs that it’s available in.
When it comes to using the thing, you can fine-tune the viewing angle, and with a spring mechanism underneath each key it will feel more like using a proper desktop keyboard than some keyboard cases do.
The case also provides full body protection for your tablet, and the keyboard part is removable, so you don’t have to carry it with you when you don’t need it.
The Anker Ultra Slim Keyboard Cover is fairly affordable but looks expensive, with a slim, lightweight design that matches the iPad itself.
It has a long-lasting battery that can go up to six months between charges. It’s also easily removable if you’d rather use your iPad au naturel, and it’s almost a full-size keyboard, with molded key caps, so you get a comfortable typing experience.
Anker’s case isn’t as protective as some, only covering the front of your iPad, but that helps keep the bulk down.
The Logitech Slim Folio Case is one of the most premium options available for the new iPad, and we mean that both in terms of price and features.
For one thing, its battery lasts up to four years, though it uses a coin cell, so after that you’ll need to replace the battery, rather than charging it.
It also has a full row of iOS shortcut keys, so you can easily change the volume or track for example. It should also offer a decent amount of protection, and has large, well-spaced keys for fast and accurate typing.
iPad Air 2 keyboard cases
The iPad Air 2 doesn’t have a Smart Connector, but with a 9.7-inch screen and plenty of power it’s still ideally suited for productivity, so why not give it an upgrade with one of these keyboard cases?
This Anker Bluetooth Folio Keyboard Case is a solid option for the iPad Air 2. A 6-month battery life means you’ll only be charging it twice a year, and a case that stays locked shut when the slate isn’t in use ensures your iPad is safe from scrapes and falls.
The case also allows you to have your iPad Air 2 either upright or laid flat, and the keys are designed to be quiet, so you can type without bothering those around you.
You should be aware that this case covers one of the iPad’s microphones, but Anker claims this doesn’t affect sound quality.
This keyboard case uses aircraft-grade aluminum alloy, for a finish that’s just as premium as the iPad it’s attached to.
It’s also thin and light, so you can happily chuck it in your bag without being weighed down, and with well-spaced keys you’ll be able to type comfortably.
Like any good keyboard case it also automatically sleeps and wakes your iPad when it’s opened or closed, and you can angle your tablet in a variety of positions, for comfortable use whatever position you’re in.
The Logitech Type+ is one of the more premium iPad Air 2 cases, in terms of both price and features. The keys are well-spaced, to help you type quickly and accurately, and there’s also a row of iOS shortcuts to speed things up further.
But despite being spacious, this keyboard case is thin and light. It’s also designed to keep your iPad safe from bumps, scratches and even minor spills, and it will automatically sleep and wake your slate when it’s opened or closed.
Its 3 months of battery life isn’t as impressive as some rivals, but otherwise this case is hard to beat.
iPad Mini 4 keyboard cases
The iPad Mini 4‘s small size means it’s not quite as well suited to typing, but that hasn’t stopped companies making keyboards for it. These are three of the best.
This KVAGO case is worth considering if you’re on a tight budget, as it’s less than half the price of most decent rivals.
It’s also not as good as those rivals, with a plastic construction and a fit that’s not perfectly snug, meaning this won’t offer a huge amount of protection.
But it’s available in a range of colors, automatically sleeps and wakes your iPad and includes function keys to control music and other settings. If you plan to type a lot, maybe spend a bit more, but if you just want something to occasionally tap away at this could make for a great value option.
The Logitech Logi Focus doesn’t have the most high-end of looks, but it gets the basics right.
There’s six months of battery life, iOS shortcuts for speedy operation, and a case that’s designed to protect against bumps, scratches and spills, rather than just house the keyboard.
It’s also available in a slightly wider selection of colors than some keyboard cases and will automatically wake up your iPad when you open it, with the only real problem being the same one faced by any compact keyboard – that it might feel a bit cramped.
The iPad Mini 4 is a bit small to comfortably type on, but if you’re going to try you could do a lot worse than this keyboard from Belkin.
Its aluminum build gives it a shiny, premium finish that ensures it doesn’t look out of place attached to your sleek slate, and with a battery life of up to six months you won’t need to charge it often.
The case is also fairly thin and light, so you don’t sacrifice too much portability, and it can be folded down flat to get the keyboard out of the way when it’s not in use.
iPad Mini 2 keyboard cases
The iPad Mini 2 is still going strong, and it can go even stronger with one of these keyboard cases.
More worried about the keyboard part than the case? Then you might want to check out this Arteck option.
It’s a cheap clip-on keyboard with 50 hours of battery life (when actively using the keyboard – you’ll get a lot more in standby).
The main issue is that, despite being called a case, there’s no back to it, so while it protects your iPad Mini’s screen, it won’t protect the rear, but if you just want a cheap way to type this is an appealing option.
The JETech Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard Case won’t cost the Earth, but you get a surprisingly well thought out case given how affordable it is.
The highlight, other than the price, is how adjustable your iPad Mini 2 is in the case, as it can be stood in landscape or portrait at a variety of angles.
The case is also designed to offer a reasonable amount of protection, and includes the basics you’d expect, like auto wake/sleep and iOS function keys.
A more premium option, the Snugg Ultra Slim Rotatable Keyboard Case isn’t cheap, but it is versatile, allowing you to rotate your iPad Mini 2 360 degrees and stand it at a variety of angles.
It also comes in a range of bright colors – though these, coupled with the otherwise plain design, probably won’t suit everyone.
Otherwise, this is a fairly standard keyboard case, but it’s lightweight, just like your iPad, so you can comfortably carry it, and it has shortcut keys to help you navigate iOS.
- You’ve got the hardware, now get some software with the best iPad apps
By John McCann
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