ZAGG Wired Lightning Keyboard Review: Easy iPad or iPhone Typing

by Reads (3,007)
  • Pros

    • Very simple setup
    • Compatible with any iOS device made since 2012
    • Good typing experience
  • Cons

    • Tablet/phone can’t be charging while typing
    • No numberpad or backlight
    • App switching function not fully enabled

There are many keyboards for iPad and iPhone, but none have the combination of simplicity and universality of the ZAGG Wired Lightning Keyboard. This is a desktop input device that plugs into the Lightning port of any iOS device, requiring no setup.

ZAGG Wired Lightning Keyboard Build and Design

The  Wired Lightning Keyboard has the same design as any other desktop PC keyboard, just with a Lightning connector at the end of its cable instead of a USB-A one.                     

It’s not really intended to be mobile, but at 11.4 by 5.1 by 0.8 inches and 0.9 pounds it’s small and lightweight enough that those who really want to can carry one around in a backpack or large purse.

Rather than lying flat on a desk or table, a bulge across the top of the back tilts the keys slightly toward the user, making it easier to type.

A stand to prop up the tablet or phone isn’t built into the Wired Lightning Keyboard. We didn’t expect one from a desktop keyboard, but some might consider this a drawback.

The Lightning cable is 18 inches long, which is quite sufficient to allow the keyboard to be placed a comfortable distance from an iPad or iPhone.


The key area of ZAGG’s accessory is 11.6 by 4.0 inches, making it equal in size to many desktop PC keyboards.  However, unlike those, the Wired Lightning Keyboard doesn’t have a number pad.

Most keys are 0.6 by 0.6 inches with 0.1 in. of separation. Key travel is good, at about 1.5 mm, and this accessory provides a solid base.

We had several people test the Wired Lightning Keyboard and all reported a general positive experience, with no issues touchtyping.

A row of half-size iOS function keys stretches above the regular ones. This includes multimedia controls, as well as alternate Home and Lock buttons.

It’s unfortunate that ZAGG did not build a number pad into the Wired Lightning Keyboard. Heavy users of Microsoft Excel or Apple Numbers would surely have appreciated it.

ZAGG also did not include a backlight in this accessory, indicating that it’s really meant for classrooms and offices, not anywhere dimly lit.

ZAGG Wired Lightning Keyboard Performance

It’s obvious Apple built support for wired keyboards of this type into iOS because all that’s necessary to begin typing is plug in ZAGG’s accessory. No additional software driver is needed. It works with any iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch with a Lightning connector.

A Bluetooth keyboard performs the same functions, but the Wired Lightning Keyboard is simpler. ZAGG sees classrooms being one of the top use cases for this accessory, where simultaneously pairing a couple of dozen tablets with their correct Bluetooth keyboards can be quite a hassle.

Plus, this accessory is more secure. Although keystrokes sent over Bluetooth are encrypted, but it’s theoretically possible to hack this wireless data stream.

The Wired Lightning Keyboard does have an unfortunate quirk: with other iOS hardware keyboards, the Command/Tab key combination brings up an onscreen application switcher, but the same combination on ZAGG’s offering just toggles between the last two apps used.

Battery Life

The Wired Lightning Keyboard has no need for a battery of its own, as it gets as its power through the Lightning connector. It puts just a very slight drain on the iPad’s or iPhone’s battery.

However, this brings up the most significant drawback of this accessory: because the Lightning port is occupied, it’s not possible to charge the tablet or phone while typing. Of course, considering that an iPad can provide 10 to 12 of use on a single charge, this isn’t a crippling problem but it’s one to be aware of.

ZAGG Wired Lightning Keyboard Final Thoughts

Any organization with many iPads in the same room could benefit from the ZAGG Wired Lightning Keyboard, as setup is as simple as plugging in this accessory. Groups that need to share a keyboard that’s only used occasionally should consider it for the same reason. It’s also right for individuals who want a simple and inexpensive keyboard that can be easily switched between an iPad and iPhone, as long as they realize that this item isn’t designed for mobile use.

ZAGG charges $49.99 for this product. Its closest rival is probably the Belkin Secure Wired Keyboard for iPad, which sells for $59.95. Similar Bluetooth keyboards include the Microsoft Universal Mobile Keyboard ($79.95) and the ZAGG Messenger Universal ($48.99). Tablet-specific clip-on keyboards from ZAGG and its competitors usually cost much more.

Any iPad or iPhone can use any USB keyboard by plugging it into the Apple Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter ($39.00), which is far more useful than its name suggests. This solution might be somewhat cumbersome for large numbers of devices, though, and results in little if any cost savings once the price of the USB keyboard is factored in.


  • Very simple setup
  • Compatible with any iOS device made since 2012
  • Good typing experience


  • Tablet/phone can’t be charging while typing
  • No numberpad or backlight
  • App switching function not fully enabled



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