iPad won’t recognize MIDI keyboard – How to fix

Are you having issues connecting your MIDI keyboard to your iPad? Here are some possible reasons why and some quick fixes to try out.

Do you want to connect your MIDI keyboard to your iPad and enjoy the benefits of Garage Band? Connecting a MIDI keyboard to an iPad is rather an easy task. Depending on the type of MIDI keyboard you have, you can connect to the iPad manually or wirelessly through Bluetooth. If your iPad does not recognize your MIDI keyboard, the chances are that you did not join the cables properly. Let us discuss the proper way to connect your keyboard to your iPad.

USB cables

One of the more popular ways of connecting your MIDI keyboard to the iPad is via USB cables. Check whether your keyboard has a ‘USB TO HOST’ or a simple ’USB’ port underneath or around it. You are likely to have noticed that an iPad does not have a USB port. In such a scenario, you can use Apple’s inexpensive Lightning-to-USB camera adapter for lightning-equipped devices.

When using the Lightning-to-USB camera adapter, you are likely to use USB A to B cable, also known as printer cable. Follow the steps below to connect your MIDI keyboard to your iPad using USB A to B cable.

  • Plug-in USB B (the square-ish end of the cable) into the USB port in your keyboard and USB A part of the cable into the USB to Lightning adapter
  • Connect the Lightning end of the cable to your iPad and ascertain that the keyboard is powered on when you want to play
  • Once the iPad recognizes the MIDI keyboard, a popup notification will show ‘keyboard connected’
  • Go to the ‘settings’ menu on your iPad and choose the piano from the list on the left side. Click on your keyboard model from the dropdown menu provided

Using USB ports to connect your MIDI keyboard to your iPad allows you to choose from a large selection of USB MIDI interfaces, which makes the MIDI keyboard world your oyster. However, you have to ascertain that your MIDI keyboard is USB Class Compliant, meaning it can work with your iOS device without the need to install any driver.

The primary advantage of using USB cables to connect your MIDI keyboard to your iOS device is that you do not need an additional power supply. The MIDI keyboard does not require a plug adapter as it will be bus-powered through the USB cable. Therefore, as long as your iPad’s battery has ample charge, your MIDI keyboard can function effectively where there is no AC power available.

Camera Connection Kit

Older iPads with 30-pin dock connectors and those with lightning connectors will use the Camera Connection Kit, which turns the Lightning connector to a USB port. Begin by first plugging in the MIDI keyboard into the connection kit and then proceed to connect the Connection Kit into the iPad.

The Connection Kit has non-musical versatility and can be used to load pictures on to your iPad through a camera. This solution is ideal for those who are trying to create a simple MIDI keyboard by using their older model iPads.

MIDI ports

Alternatively, you can connect your MIDI keyboard to your iPad by using an iOS audio-and-MIDI interface that allows MIDI connectivity as well as guitar or microphone connections. You can also opt for a dedicated iOS MIDI interface if you do not plan to record any audio. An example of an iOS audio-and-MIDI interface is the Behringer iS202, while IK Multimedia iRig MIDI 2 is an example of the IOS MIDI interface. The IK Multimedia iRig MIDI 2 also provides its users with the option of 30-pin and lightning connections for USB, USB connections for IOS and Mac, as well as MIDI in, out and thru ports.

To connect your MIDI keyboard to your iPad using iOS MIDI interface, follow these steps:

  • Connect the interface to your iPad’s dock port
  • Plug the MIDI keyboard’s out to the MIDI in on the interface by either using a cable that comes with the unit or a standard MIDI cable, depending on the type of interface you have
  • Proceed to connect the keyboard’s in to the MIDI out on the interface and if the plugging does not enable a connection, reverse the cables


Depending on the type of devices you are using, the reason as to why your iPad does not recognize your MIDI keyboard could lay in the configuration setup. Make sure you double-check the cable connections of your devices to ascertain everything is in its proper order. If everything is correctly plugged, consider that the cables might be the issue.

More so, due to various technological advancements, some products allow you to connect your MIDI keyboard to your iPad wirelessly via Bluetooth. Consult your manufacturer if the problem persists. It could also be an issue with the model of your devices.

Peter Smith

Welcome to MusicGearAdvisor! 4 years ago I rediscovered my passion for making music and began building my own home studio. As I have gone through my journey I realized that I am just as passionate about the equipment as I am about the music. I started MusicGearAdvisor as a way for me to share my learnings with others so you can get started making music that you dream of.

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