[Updated] iPad Pro Smart Keyboard issues are still troubling users
Last year, an internal Apple memo got leaked, revealing a newly launched extended repair program for iPad Pro Smart Keyboard units plagued with functional issues.
As part of the program – which covered Smart Keyboard for both 9.7-inch (early 2016) and 12.9-inch (late 2015) iPad Pro models – Apple said it would offer repair/replacements free of charge.
That made it seem the matter has been settled, and nobody from the tech media apparently pursued it any further. We at PiunikaWeb did a bit of digging recently and were surprised to find that there’s more to this story.
What came to light is that even most of the replaced units have had the same issues, and some of the problems (especially connection issues) affect Smart Keyboard for last year’s iPad Pro 10.5/12.9 inch models as well, which were never added to the extended repair program by Apple.
Let’s talk about these case by case.
Replacement/repair didn’t resolve problem
Most users confirm they were indeed offered Smart Keyboard replacements under the program, but sadly, that didn’t resolve the issue. Apple Support seems to be clueless, as several users say they were even offered iPad replacements, but that didn’t work as well.
I had my 2015 iPad Pro 12.9’s ASK replaced under this program, and now my iPad Pro is rejecting the replacement keyboard
Funny, I had the keyboard cover for my 9.7 giving a lot of connectivity issues. 2 weeks before the 1 year warranty was up (in March, few months before this supposed program) I brought it in and they gave me a new one. Now the new keyboard is starting to exhibit the same problem
It did occur to me with iOS 10 back in May of 2017. At that time they replaced the keyboard. The problem became consistent with iOS 11. And receiving a third keyboard didn’t solve anything
Hi everyone, I’ve had my iPad Pro and Smart Keyboard for 18 months… since updating ios11…my Smart Keyboard was working on and off, went to Apple Sydney, they changed it…the new one worked for the first day, then stopped working, ….went back in, they gave me a new one and we tested it before leaving Apple store, it worked fine….the next day….it’s stopped working again! I‘m pretty sure it’s got to be the new ios11 system?!…Can’t see how 4 smart keyboards, with a different batch number on them, would be the issue….Apple really needs to get this sorted and get to the root of the problem because my next option offered to me is to replace the iPad Pro, and I don’t want to have to do that, though I’m covered under Apple care
Sadly, there are some cases where users were not even provided replacements, saying there was no such known extended warranty program. The following experiences were shared by users months after the leak revealing launch of the warranty extension program:
Sorry to resurrect an old thread, but has anyone confirmed this policy? I just went to the Apple Store because my 12.9 keyboard won’t connect (says accessory not supported). They said it is out of the one year warranty and I just have to buy a new one. Asked specifically about the 3 year replacement and they said that doesn’t exist
This post just saved me the cost of a repair or new keyboard. My warranty expired a little over a month ago. I went to Apple’s support app and the first person told me that she could help me set up a repair and it wouldn’t be covered. I asked her about the 3 year replacement and she didn’t know anything about it. It’s not posted under their official guidelines. I sent her the link to this page and was immediately routed to a senior member who quickly and without hesitation set up a free replacement sight unseen and extended the warranty on the new one an additional 90 days. They are shipping me a new one with a hold on my credit card and when I send mine back they are removing the hold
Similar issues with 2017 models as well
Moving on, while the memo only talked about 9.7 and 12.9 inch iPad Pros from 2016 and 2015 respectively, if you take a look at Apple’s help forums, even those with Smart Keyboard for iPad Pro 12.9″ or 10.5” (2017 models) have also been complaining about similar, connection-related issues.
Following are a few user comments explaining the problem with iPad Pro 10.5″ Smart Keyboards:
Yes, the problem arises on my iPad 10.5-inch as well. It happens when I turn on the iPad and then connect to a wifi network. Before connecting to the wifi network, the keyboard works fine. After I connect, the keyboard stops responding to keystrokes, although the iPad does recognize that the keyboard is connected. Seems like it must be some sort of software issue. Apple should fix it!
I have verified this bug to be true, it is consistent and repeatable – whenever you must log in to a WiFi network, even if the Smart Keyboard is removed from the iPad and the login is accomplished with the on-screen keyboard, the Smart Keyboard then mated with the iPad 10.5, for some reason, in iOS 11 through 11.2.5, the Smart Keyboard will become disabled, requiring a restart to be recognized again
I’m experiencing this as well on my 10.5″ ipad pro and smart keyboard. However, my problem is slightly different. I’m seeing this issue on my home wifi. Just out of the blue, the keyboard will stop responding, even cntl+tab doesn’t work. I have to reboot my ipad by holding down the power + home key to bring it back. This is happening a couple times a day now
I’ve been meaning to save this for a blog post, but I’ve bought another 10.5” iPad Pro – worth bringing up because I keep having issues with connection the Smart Keyboard in certain apps.
— ¯_(ツ)_/¯ (@michaelouz) February 8, 2018
With iPad Pro 12.9″ Smart Keyboards:
I have an iPad Pro 12.9, with keyboard, purchased in December. I have just had the opportunity of trying a switch with someone who has an identical setup, purchased last September and who has never seen the problem. So trying their keyboard with my iPad and their iPad with my keyboard. Results were conclusive. The problem is hardware in my case. Problem gone, on my iPad, when using their keyboard. Time to call Apple for a replacement
Brand new iPad Pro 12.9″, just got the keyboard yesterday and already having this issue as I did with the iPad Pro 9.7″ i just gave my wife. Constant reloading of iOS whatever, rebooting and resetting is ridiculous. Apple, fix the issue!!! If I wanted to spend my time performing tech support I’d get a job in the field
I just got a 12.9 iPad Pro and the Smart Keyboard for Christmas and was confounded by how the keyboard wouldn’t “register” each time I went to use it. Tried restarting with and without the keyboard in place, turning WiFi on and off, nothing would work for long. Saw this video on YouTube and it seems to have done the trick: iPad Pro 12.9″ Smart Keyboard Fix – YouTube. Basically, scooch the keyboard a little and voila. Hope this helps someone
And here are complaints from some users who did not mention exact model details, but just said their’s are newly bought units facing similar issue:
I have the same problem, after updating my ipad pro the keyboard is not connection anymore. Really frustrating. My Ipad is new and I am testing to see if it is worth it. Now I see the amount of people that have problems with the keyboard, What should I do? Already tried all the steps mentioned. Should I get replacement? Got al 2 weeks ago. (ipadpro, i pencil, smart keyboard)
My iPad Pro just arrived yesterday, and my keyboard today. It will not pair. I’ve checked connection, rebooted, hard rebooted with it connected, not connected, laying flat, and in type position. It never pairs. There is no apple store where I live. This is annoying
The 3 year warranty is old news and does not address the current issue which began with iOS 11. My Smart Keyboard has been replaced twice under warranty. The latest one is one month old. I don’t get the “unsupported” message but it still doesn’t activate unless I keep rocking it back and forth. Eventually it starts working. I’m starting to call it the Rockin’ Keyboard
An interesting point worth highlighting is that a large section of affected users blame WiFi for their Smart Keyboard connectivity issues. Some of them specifically said they face such issues while using public WiFis only.
I travel with my iPad Pro 10.5” everywhere…multiple clients, multiple locations, all day long, everyday. It works flawlessly, as does the pencil and the Smart Keyboard. However…whenever I go into Starbucks and connect to the wifi, the Smart Keyboard just stops working. I remove it and connect it again to the iPad…no change. The only way I can get it to work again is to reboot the iPad. If I do that it immediately starts working like a charm
This happens at McDonals and other Wifi services also
My smart key board has been replaced and my ipad pro is barely two weeks old. Keyboard does not work with public WIFI with splash screen. I do not know if it will work with cellular service yet. I am very disappointed. I bought the ipad pro to use as a tablet-like laptop but now I have to make a choice between using the keyboard or using WIFI and having email/internet functionality. Apple should address this software bug as soon as possible
Similar reports can be seen on micro-blogging site Twitter as well.
It’s a weird iOS 11 bug – if you connect to a public WiFi with an interstitial login page, smart keyboard on my 10.5” iPad Pro becomes unresponsive. Only cmd tab back to app fixes for me.
— nickhx (@nickhx) December 4, 2017
I’m sitting here in Starbucks rebooting my iPad Pro like some Windows user, just to get my keyboard to work. It Just Works, @AppleSupport ?
— J.P. Wing (@ThatJPWing) November 20, 2017
Weird Starbucks side-effect on my 10.5” iPad Pro’s Smart Keyboard https://t.co/85XHPe5O31
— Iphone Paradise (@iphone_paradise) December 17, 2017
While the use-case where WiFi causes Smart Keyboard connectivity issues is being widely reported, there are also a number of reports that reveal users have run into Smart Keyboard connection-related issues in other scenarios as well.
To conclude, these are serious issues, but Apple hasn’t yet said anything officially about them. Considering the number of those affected, we hope the company address the problems sooner than later.
Update (February 19):
Many iPad Pro users report Smart Keyboard connectivity issues even after January 23, when iOS 11.2.5 arrived. Following are some of the recent tweets:
Smart Keyboard + iPad Pro. Just stops working.
Searched Apple Support for fix.
Have to disconnect keyboard, hard reset iPad, reconnect keyboard. 3-5x per day.
Told by Genius it’s a “known issue”.
— PJ Smith (@247phil) February 2, 2018
@jsnell @viticci – Jason & Frederico – are you hearing reports on the Apple Smart Keyboard having problems w/ the iPad Pro? I have the kb and a 1st gen 12.9 and the constantly dropping connection is wearing me down! Getting ready to move over to my Chromebook full time.
— Michael J. Pesare (@pesare_m) February 16, 2018
@viticci what iPad Pro external keyboard do you recommend these days? My original Apple Smart Keyboard seems to be dying, constantly losing connection with the 12” iPad Pro. Think same thing again (I liked it when it worked), or is there a better external keyboard? Thanks.
— Tom (@tahewett) February 16, 2018
Update (March 30):
iOS 11.3 is out, and it seemingly includes a fix for some of the iPad Pro Smart Keyboard issues being discussed here. Here’s what the update’s release notes say:
Fixes an issue on iPad Pro that prevented the iPad Smart Keyboard from working after connecting to a captive Wi-Fi access point
Let us know your observations after installing the iOS 11.3 update.
NOTE: To read more Apple-related news, head here.
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