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Here's how to use a Bluetooth Keyboard with Windows Phone 8.1 Update 2

That's because Windows Phone 8.1 Update 2 supports Bluetooth keyboards. Here's how it all works.

You first need to first connect the keyboard as you would any other Bluetooth device like a headset. Open up the Settings app, scroll down to "Bluetooth," and after you've turned it on you should see your keyboard as a device to pair with. Just tap to connect, follow the on-screen prompts and you'll be connected in no time.

Once your keyboard is connected you don't have to do anything else. When you're in an app for typing in such as Outlook or Microsoft Word, the phone will recognize that a Bluetooth keyboard is connected and minimize the on-screen one. It'll still do autocorrect and offer predictions, but you've got about 75% of the display place for your typing.

You can also perform a few other commands that we've noticed so far. The Windows key to go back to the Start screen doesn't seem to work but you can turn the display off and lock the phone, turn it back on again to the lock screen, toggle volume up, down or off, even launch the camera. The key combinations will vary depending on your keyboard, on ours they don't match up to the labels on the keys.

It's pretty straight forward and it's not something that everyone will want. But it works. And it works pretty well. The big drawback right now is that it's limited to the Lumia 640 and Lumia 640 XL thanks to those being the only two phones with Windows Phone 8.1 Update 2. But, as the update to Windows 10 rolls out later this year, it'll open up to many more.

Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently you'll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

139 Comments
  • Cool thanks for the tidbit :3
  • Would that be denim? Edit: Sorry didnt read it all :B
  • What keyboard is in the video pls?
  • Straight to windows 10..
  • Here's where a docking keyboard with a more potent desktop environment and touchpad would be nice. This would make my pc unnecesary... But wait... Microsoft wants me to buy a pc too...
  • MS is still a software company, so I don't think they try too much selling hardware you don't need, unlike other companies that try to sell you a laptop, a tablet, a phone and a watch, so that you can take "full advantage" of their "ecosystem". Surface already makes having a Laptop and a tablet redundant. Why not a phone that can be used as a dektop?
     
  • The hardware is not the problem. The problem is windows phone. It should have been merged with winRT long time ago, and give users the posibility to have full desktop use. Microsoft also should decide wether use x86 or ARM, and put the same OS on every device, giving the user the possibility to choose which UI to use
  • A phone with a keyboard isn't a PC replacement, no way.
  • What is it with some people that they believe they can use their phones as a full desktop pc???
    Yes docking is useful but why pay the price of a flagship phone for the privilege; when you can get a full fledged 7" tablet (running full windows) which would be infinitely more useful and not mention they are ridiculously cheap too. Next people will want 8" phones.... Where do you draw the line?
  • Because I want to have as few devices as possible. I know many people owning only a mobile phone, because its a must. Until smartwatches will be fully phone enabled, a smartphone isn't replaceable. But a pc or tablet today could be very replaceable, if you don't care about size and high performance. The problem remains the OS, that forces you to buy hardware that you don't really need
  • If you connected a keyboard with a trackpad, does the trackpad perform any actions?
  • Don't know. Don't have a keyboard with a trackpad ;)
  • Someone get this man a demo unit stat!
  • Please don't. I've got 4 keyboards on my desk as it is. I CAN'T TAKE ANY MORE!
  • Well how much you are liking the 640 yet plz tell.??????
  • Haha
  • What kind of journalism is this!! :P
  • The one without the trackpad!! :P :P
  • That'd be interesting to know.
  • I found it very difficult to locate a Bluetooth keyboard with a trackpad. I finally had to settle for a wireless USB keyboard with a trackpad for my tablet.
  • N.i.c.e... (:
  • More to come.. Can't wait.
    .......
    Still think a high end device with multiple USB slots would be cool...
    Not sure how many devices you can connect at a time with Bluetooth... A screen, and a mouse would be perfect to compliment the keyboard...
    .....
    Of course, only people who want a super exotic smartphone would understand...
  • It would be a waste of manufacturers' time to cater to such a niche. Wireless is the way to go.
  • I agree with rxc13. Wireless is the way to go.
  • As ling as it supports up to three devices at a time, I would be fine with that.
  • @Nicholas Macguire. Yup, Miracast, Bluetooth and Qi Wireless is all you would need :P. Now we just need battery tech to catch up with everything else and we would be sorted :P. @rodneyej, why only 3? Your limiting the potential! :P
  • Because he only needs screen, keyboard, and mouse... Well... Except that screen should be using miracast instead of bluetooth, so it still 2 devices at a time. I imagine the third one will be ... bluetooth headset or speaker. ^.^
  • You guys will never get it...
  • You can connect both a mouse and keyboard, so long as the drivers are added (no mention of a mouse driver yet though). The display would connect through Miracast or the current USB socket though, that's not a Bluetooth thing.
  • With USB OTG you can connect USB hubs.
  • ^^^This^^^
  • Nope. WP does not support USBOTG
  • USB Hid Support will be released on the next windows 10 tp planed tomorrow , so you should be able to use micro-USB keyboards ..
  • Really❓
  • Really? Is USB OTG support really will be added? I've been waiting for that one for so long, especially for moving things up and for USB DAC.
  • It's your lucky day, sir.
    http://www.windowscentral.com/windows-10-phone-supports-usb-mass-storage...
  • That's great! I've been planning to actually buy an android just for this functionality (well, android is more similar to windows than WindowsPhone) thank you for sharing the link... Wonder how I missed that one...
  • Android is more PC like than a WP device...
    ................
    I know MS wants its smartphones really easy to use, but they need to consider making some options that can be turned on by power users.... For example, some android devices have this "Developers" section in settings that let you activate a few cool things... One thing that was cool on the M7 was this translucent overlay that you could have active, which showed numerous performance specs in real time in the upper right hand corner of the screen... It's fun to flip through deferent apps and see how the hardware responds....
    ......
    Another thing MS could do is add some cool customization options in the form of themes,, similar to PC.. A true file system like WinMo had would also be nice for those who care... These are things that could be optional, and not on by default.
  • More like a PC? Just get a $80 tablet and be done with it lol. You can get mini hdmi, msd card slot and a full usb not to mention some have 2. Have the benefit of a larger screen running full blown windows for productivity and content consumption.
  • Why these comments every time someone says they want a more advanced PHONE❗
    ....
    You might as well be recommending a toaster.. Do be that guy... Don't be like the majority of these followers around here....
  • Why not on Preview for Developers ?
  • Doesn't have this issue.....
    Sorry, wrong article.... But, someone said it was in the next TP.... Not sure if that's accurate, though.
  • How do I get this update 2? Is that a stupid question; so be it then..but still I need to know how.
  • By buying a Lumia 640 or 640 XL. Right now that is your only confirmed option. No word on if/when/ever it'll come to anything else. Otherwise, have to wait for Windows 10.
  • Thanks man
  • There's an article on Windows Central that says WP8.1U2 will not be coming to older devices (i.e., anything pre-640). My guess is Microsoft sees no point in rolling Update 2 out to other devices when Windows 10 would replace it so soon after.
  • I want this update so bad. After seeing all those ugly leaked W10 screenshots, I consider not to update..
  • Shut up hipster! Go get an iPhone.
  • Wow, angry much?
  • Yeah! When stupid people cry about Alpha software being Alpha. Don't be dumb people..
  • You do realize that the preview build is Alpha right?
  • I would consider this a pre alpha. Last time(for Windows 8), there was a tech preview, consumer preview and then the release. I am seeing similarities with fast track and slow track users...
  • Now we wait for a keyboard to work with it. The piano ones.
  • I get that one:)
  • This is a much needed feature. I'm assuming it will allow other Bluetooth devices to work as well, like barcode scanners.
  • I'm not buying a Barcode Scanner before anyone asks...
  • Lol...
  • I'm assuming you already have 25 sitting at your desk
  • Why not? I could probably get you one to test out
  • This friday, around 12:30 pm CST, I will be plugging a USB powered barcode scanner into my Windows 10 phone to test out if the OTG drivers in Win10 for phones support it. I hope so as this will help me with IT inventory. I just got the college to move from handwritten paper asset tracking to electronic scanning with a Dell and Acer Windows tablet but if I can scan directly to my 1520 using the database housed in SharePoint, that will be a huge win! Come on Windows 10 Friday!
  • I'd assume a 3rd party app would have to be written to read the barcode scanner
  • Barcode scanners just input numbers. Nothing special about them AFAIK.
  • You are correct.
  • If it has the standard Windows USB drivers, we will not need an app as barcode scanners simply read the numbers on the barcodes and input them as simple text. We should be able to open any text field and it will paste the numbers in when scanned. I have a simple excel sheet where I am capturing asset tag numbers and a simple scan accurately enters the numbers. I should be able to plug the scanner to my phone, open my excel sheet and just continue where I left off. I guess I will find out Friday.
  • USB Hid Support will be released on the next windows 10 tp planed tomorrow , so you should be able to use micro-USB keyboards .
  • How cool would it be to have a Bluetooth type cover like on the Surface series tablets? Alas that might be a huge stretch
  • With that size? Unless it has to be folded in thirds, I doubt that can even be possible.  
  • there's this one that folds in half: ======================== http://www.microsoft.com/hardware/en-us/p/universal-foldable-keyboard
  • the HP envy x2(a surface knockoff) has essentially the surface type keyboard, except it connects to the tablet via bluetooth. also, there is a bluetooth adapter for the surface type keyboards, and it's actually quite nice. it allows you to angle the keyboard, as opposed to just having it flat.
  • What a coincidence this article was just posted. I paired a dell Bluetooth keyboard with my Lumia 1520 today to see if it would work. Now I know why it didn't. Wonder if the new Developer preview on Friday which supersedes update 2 will allow BT keyboards.
  • Useful article, since no one has Windows Phone 8.1 update 2
  • False. People who bought a Lumia 640 and Lumia 640 XL, which is now on sale in many parts of the world, have this ability. Things also live in search, as the world is beyond the front page. Also, quit being an ass in comments, you're frequent taunting is not welcomed.
  • Doesn't this feature also work for those with WP10?  Or is that for the next build?  
  • It will work with Windows 10 for phone at some point, but not now. Whether it is in Friday's build remains a mystery.
  • I'm sorry, sir, I know that Lumia 640 owners have it, if not, this article wouldn't be possible. I was trying to be ironic around the fact that Microsoft didn't have released the update for us yet. About being an ass in comments, I'm sorry too, I will try to mind my words before commenting. I'm really sorry, won't happen again.
  • Useless comment, but you knew that already.
  • Calm down buddy, all Windows 8 devices will be upgradeable to Windows 10 later this year when Windows 10 is released and that means bluetooth support will be available for all WP users.
  • I hope that you are correct. My concern (in the USA) is that carriers will need to push out the updates. Based on past carrier behaviour, we will not see 10 untill 2016, even if released tomorrow.     
  • USB Hid Support will be released on the next windows 10 tp planed tomorrow , so you should be able to use micro-USB keyboards..
  • I so want this for my 1520. I dont want to take this phone to Windows 10, i want to keep it in 8.1 and buy new hardware when it comes out and keep this phone legacy. Byt this BT thingy is kind of forcing me, and that i hate.
  • Hip hip hooray for those that will actually get GDR2! Sad thing is it probably wont be released for 1520 on AT&T in the U.S.
  • Probably not, although no evidence any device is getting Update 2 as an OTA update just yet. At the very least, when these phones come to AT&T, you can know it works and that Microsoft has finally done this for Windows 10 too. (Finally, being the key word).
  • This on the 1520 would be the cherry on top to a wonderful device with a screen size that justifies a keyboard
  • USB Hid Support will be released on the next windows 10 tp planed tomorrow , so you should be able to use micro-USB keyboards....
  • sweet cant wait to get this
  • If this feature was released last summer than I would not have had to buy a laptop...  Granted I do love my laptop (as far as laptops go), but I think that whenever the next phone flagship is released I'll pick one up and give my laptop to my wife.
  • Best luck..
  • Sooper Doop! Nice!
  • Does it enable bluetooth remote controllers to take photos?
  • Agreed! Being able to turn camera on is already a good start... Just seems like turning it on and shooting is about the same. This is a needed feature!
  • I think you would need something similar than the project my screen software running inside the bluetooth keyboard which is difficult, however, it would be much easier if you could add that software to a monitor with touchscreen so that you can control your phone from the monitor.
  • I don't think so. Android and iOS recognize remote shooters (like selfie sticks) as a keyboard. Even Nokia Device Hub app show them with a keyboard icon, that's why I guess it should be the same way with Windows Phone.
  • What manufacturer and model keyboard is that in the photo? Looks nice to be paired with my current and hopefully future white Lumia.
    And by 75% of display for typing do you mean that 75% of the screen is a white box showing previously typed text with a bar below it for predictive text?
  • Yeah, like, word will occupy 75% of the screen with your text instead of maybe less than half with the on-screen keyboard.
  • Thanks. It would be nice to be able to change the text window height using the arrow keys and another key, starting from whatever size text box appears via the app in use. Scrolling through a 1/2" tall or sometimes shorter app window above a text window to copy text or re-read something for a reply can be cumbersome, like the current setup. The WC app window for example shrunk to 1/8" with my long winded message here. My own fault.
  • Update to Windows 10 will bring this or Windows 10 itself?
  • This is what I was waiting for, you just need a HDMI monitor, Microsoft Wireless Display adapter and a Bluetooth keyboard to convert your Lumia device in a portable workstation.  Great job Microsoft! I hope Android sheep folks keep having an underpowered device (about 90% of Android population has Android handsets without Miracast capability) for a long time.  While us WP users get the real power with these amazing techs.
  • Not releasing Update 2 for flagships like the 930 and 1520 is so damn lame.
  • Yep, the description sounds just about the same as how it worked on windows mobile.
  • Did you notice anything else on 8.1 Update 2? I guess Microsoft is focused on bringing new features to W10 instead, but figured I'd ask anyways just in case there was anything new around.
  • Ctrl-Alt-Del. Finally.
  • What if . . . There was a mini keyboard that functioned like a phone cover like those fir the Surface devices? This would make the avid qwerty people pretty happy.
  • MS done a great job with the shortcuts (and word prediction) hooray for MS! On a side note, mastering the audio in a video is just for loosers!
  • Those volume levels though! x_x
  • Nice. What about denim update on lumia 925 in Philippines? Hehehe.
  • Bing on Continuum for phones..............see what I did there
  • The absence of BT hardware support for me has been a glaring Achilles heel in WinPho, an unpleasant surprise when I moved from Android. I work on the move a lot (I'm a business copywriter). Most of the time I use a Nexus tablet paired with a keyboard, but I also used my old Android phone as an occasional fallback device, and it works reasonably well if you've got a physical keyboard, partly because typing's a lot easier, partly because the screen area is not occupied by a keyboard. These days I have a nice Logitech keyboard which can switch easily between BT devices, and hold both the Nexus and my phone, so I could in theory move seamlessly between extended writing on the tablet and dealing with SMS and other messages on the phone. It would be cheering if proper BT support is there in Friday's update release, and if not it might just be another reason to move to a 640. 
  • I agree about lack of BT hardware suppoort. Windows Mobile was much more business/prodcutivity oriented that Windows Phone. It looks like MS is trying to balance things out.
  • can you project the lumia's screen via miracast and type a full word document with the bluetooth keyboard? not trying to make things hurt, but I do wonder if this whole scenario is actually possible.  
  • USB Hid Support will be released on the next windows 10 tp planed tomorrow , so you should be able to use micro-USB keyboards
  • This will be awesome in phablets!
    Any word on the ETA for update 2?
  • Great feature. Thinking of returning my lumia 730. I'm facing that cellular connectivity issue for a long time. Tired of restarting it again n again n again n againnnnnnn
  • What update?
  • Outstanding.  
  • Is that work for Microsoft Lumia 535
  • No not yet. If you read above the 640 has GDR1 Update 2. The 535 does not.
  • A key board with a small screen to see what you r trying will be good without removing your phone from your pocket or wherever as long as its paired.
  • Richard has a cruel way of making us jealous.
  • Wowww...!!!! It's to cool.
  • Will the Apple Bluetooth keyboard work with it as well?
  • can my 920 do it?
  • @Richard Davine.what about Ctrl key functions? Ctrl+A/Y/Z ?.did you try them?.i am desperate for them
  • Cant we connect to laptop and typing right from laptop keyboard?
  • I have a question. Does it only work for typing or can it be used it racing games for example? Just crossed my mind.
  • Symbian has this feature.including the connected wireless keyboard and mouse via usb otg.
  • My Nokia N8 and 808 could do all that, plus HDMI and USB on the go, including connecting multiple devices through a hub. All this stepping back before moving forward, sigh, well... thanks for moving forward.
  • Only 10 years after Symbian had this feature. Geeesh
  • Could connect mouse, keyboard and external speaker to n8 and 808 all at same time. Even the old n95 could use a keyboard.
  • Wished this had been in WP8 from the get-go! 
  • How useful is this? I mean, it seems better for tablets or larger phones...  
  • In the video, the phone is beside the keyboard. I wish I could type like that.
  • Personally, I would love for my belkin flip case to have a keyboard on it communicating with the 1520 via bluetooth. I use my phone ALLOT for work now.. The 1520 is sooooo capable. I'm betting vendors start releasing flip cases with built in bluetooth keyboards soon... unless some patent troll has just been sitting on the idea.
  • Hey windowscentral if wireless keyboard is working. I think the Bluetooth selfie stick.option might also work.... Help us by trying that option so many might like it....
  • I just got my Bluetooth Keyboard working with my Nokia Lumia 920 on WP 8.1 Update 2. It isn't a windows keyboard. Where the start button would be are three zeros o0o which may mean it is for another OS. But typing works and top left button is escape / back, I can even back
  • I can even back through various open apps, from the main Start Screen
  • Anybody having issues with the keyboard reconnecting. I have to delete the pairing and start over. Same keyboard works exceptionally well with my iphone 5s. The problem seems to be wp's only
  • How about the touchpad?  
  • Too inconsistent. It does not connect to the 735 easily, I tried with a Moto e 2nd gen and it connected first time. Still after I got the android I see why people love the fluidity and ease of use of the windows Phone. Maybe update 2 is at fault. Looking forward to trying it win mobile 10
  • i'm using bt-connected keyboard with WP10. the touchpad works fine too. however i cannot switch languages with the hardware keyboard. the worse it is that when i start typing with hardware keyboard the screen keyboard hides and i cannot easily retrieve it and switch the language. who knows the solution - please assist.