How to control your Android using a keyboard and a mouse

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Smartphones and tablets seemed to be substitutes for pocket personal computers, and, while it has not been at all well, it is true that with the right tools can improve our productivity. However these devices are not the best for typing long texts. The solution is control Android with a keyboard and a mouse. It is possible and we are going to explain to you how you can do this in two different ways: using an app or using a specific cable.

How to write with mouse and keyboard thanks to DeskDock

The primary key to achieving this goal is an application called DeskDock. There are other methods available, but based on my experience, this is the easiest to implement and the most reliable of them all. The app comes in two versions, one free and one premium. The free allows you to only use the mouse, so if you want to use also the keyboard you’ll have to scratch the pocket.

What DeskDock do, basically, is turn your Android into a sort of second monitor. This means that, if you move the mouse beyond the edge of the screen of your PC, it goes to the screen of your mobile or your tablet. It also has interesting features such as a shared clipboard between your computer and your mobile device, personalization of up to 10 mouse buttons, or support for drag and dropto , among other things.

In the first place, you’ll need to enable the developer options of your Android device and debugging through USB, if you have not done so already. In the case that it is the first time you do it, keep in mind that each manufacturer has its own way to enable these options:

  • Android stock: Settings > About phone > build Number.
  • Samsung: Settings > About phone > software Information > build Number.
  • HTC: Settings > About > software Information > More build Number.
  • LG: Settings > About phone > software Information > build Number.

Once you’ve come down to the build number, you’ll have to press it repeatedly until a message appears that says “Activated developer options” or similar. If you return to the settings menu you’ll find the section “developer Options” at the end of it all.

Tap there and, once inside, enable the USB debugging:

USB debugging enabledUSB debugging enabled

The next thing is to download and install on your PC the Java Runtime Environment.

Once this is done, download and open DeskDock Server on your PC (the program is portable).

When you have installed the server program and open it, in the system tray you should see an icon showing that DeskDock is working:

DeskDock in the system trayDeskDock in the system tray

When you have these two elements in your PC, connect your mobile through USB to the computer.

Keep in mind that drivers are required to carry out this operation is not usually install automatically when you connect your smartphone or tablet to the PC, with which you will need their drivers USB specific. If you can’t find them, the universal driver from ClockWorkMod work equally well for this purpose.

How to configure DeskDock in Android

Now you can already download and install DeskDock on your Android device.

If the server is configured correctly, all you have to do to make it work is to, through the USB connection of the phone, wait for the phone and the PC are automatically detected. In fact, if everything works well, you should see the following on screen (and if you drag your mouse to the right edge of the screen, also you might want to see):

DeskDock working in AndroidDeskDock working in Android

If the connection fails, please uninstall the USB drivers and reinstálalos (or try to find one specific to your manufacturer if you think that the universal does not serve you). If you use Android 8.0 or higher, you will need to grant permissions of accessibility to the application.

Otherwise, this is all that you need to have DeskDock running and configured on your PC and on your device.

How to use a USB cable OTG

If all this seems too complicated, you can always resort to a hardware solution more simple and direct. This is to use a USB cable OTG, you can connect to your phone via the charging connector to connect keyboards and mice.

First, connect the cable to the phone. Then, connect the USB keyboard to the USB port of the cable. A notification will appear like this on your screen:

Physical keyboard connected to AndroidPhysical keyboard connected to Android

It is not necessary to go to the configuration, since the operating system itself should quickly identify your keyboard map and assign it. In case you fail to do so, tap on the notification and you will come to the following screen, where you have to click on the name of your keyboard (in this case “Logitech USB Receiver”):

Configuration of the physical keyboardConfiguration of the physical keyboard

You will get the following dialog box on the screen, where you’ll have to press in Configure keyboard layouts:

Language selection in the keyboardLanguage selection in the keyboard

You will see a list of different available languages. Look for yours and click on it:

Keyboard language selected physicalKeyboard language selected physical

The language of the keyboard is already configured, now you only have to go back and prove that it works in any app that allows you to write:

Proof of the physical keyboardProof of the physical keyboard

With this method you’ll be able to connect a keyboard or a mouse depending on your needs, but if you have a keyboard and a wireless mouse you’ll be able to have the two devices connected at the same time through the receiver (which is very comfortable).