How to disable iPad Keyboard Shortcuts?

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iPad Shortcuts

When connecting an external keyboard to an iPad (presently using iOS 16), the iPad accepts in certain shortcuts, for example:

  • Cmd+Space for Search
  • Cmd+W for Close Window
  • Cmd+H for Show Home

These shortcuts take precedence over all other inputs, so far as I can tell. It may be possible for an app developer to override them while an app is in focus, but I haven’t noticed that anywhere.

Goal:

Connect iPad Pro to Mac Studio via Sidecar, and use a keyboard connected to the iPad for keyboard input. (I am presently testing with the iPad Magic keyboard & the Planck)

The problem:

iPad shortcuts take precedence over sending keys to the Desktop while Sidecar is active.

Thus when in sidecar it’s not possible to open Spotlight on the Mac using the keyboard shortcut Cmd+Space, because the iPad intercepts that key combination and opens Search on the iPad instead. Nor can Cmd+W be used to close windows on the desktop.

I searched the iPad keyboard and accessibility settings and found no possible way to disable these keyboard shortcuts. If anyone knows of a solution, or can think of an alternative method to achieve the above goal, please suggest below.

Note on Luna:
I am aware of the Luna device, and am also testing one for use here. While impressive, there are some gotcha’s and annoyances; ultimately Sidecar feels like a better Desktop monitor companion, even with some of its other drawbacks. That is, if full iPad-connected keyboard control of the Mac Studio is possible, Sidecar becomes very powerful.

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