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Aug
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Last Updated: August 3rd, 2013

There's no denying the usefulness of a keyboard when doing a lot of text input on Android, and there's no shortage of Bluetooth options that fit the bill perfectly. Anyone who spends a lot of time in email or a text editor likely has one of these handy little accessories laying around, but if that user also owns a Nexus device with 4.3, then they're in for a bit of a surprise the next time it's paired up: many Bluetooth keyboards no longer work post-update.

Screenshot_2013-08-02-12-15-08 Screenshot_2013-08-02-12-15-28 Screenshot_2013-08-02-12-15-45

We first got wind of this issue through a tip from reader Tom Henriksen, who cited several different forum posts as proof that this is indeed a verifiable issue. To confirm, I grabbed two different Bluetooth Keyboards (ZAGGkeys Flex and Logitech K810) and paired them both up with my 2012 Nexus 7, Nexus 10, and Nexus 4 – all of which are running 4.3. Both keyboards pair correctly and accept the input code, but past that, the results are quite interesting. The ZAGGkeys Flex – a keyboard designed specifically for mobile (Android or iOS) – doesn't work at all, regardless of whether it's in Android or iOS mode. The Logitech K810 – which is designed for Android, iOS, and/or Windows – works without issue.

Screenshot_2013-08-02-12-27-59 Screenshot_2013-08-02-12-28-26

At this point, it's unclear what has caused the keyboard incompatibility issues, or which keyboards may actually work. So far, a handful of keyboards have been noted as incompatible: Zagg, Apple, Spider, Kensington, and GYMLE, just to name a few. There's no conclusive list right now, so it's best to just try it out and see if yours works. If you're in the market to buy one, however, it's probably best to wait until Google rolls out a fix. Otherwise, the only other option is to either forgo the 4.3 upgrade or roll back to 4.2.2 using the Nexus factory images; unless you have a 2013 Nexus 7, in which case you'll just have to wait it out and hope Google pushes a fix in a timely manner.

Note: Two bugs have already been filed. No response from Google at this time.

Thanks, Tom!

Cameron Summerson
Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, musician, and cyclist. When he's not pounding keys here at AP, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, plucking away on the 6-string, spinning on the streets, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

  • Kcls

    They really just can't get bluetooth right, can they?

  • Danny Holyoake

    Man, I wish they'd go back to the stack they used in 4.1. :(

    My Nexus 4 doesn't have OTG (despite Google originally claiming that it did (yeah, that actually happened)), I was really looking forward to just using a WiiMote. Bah.

    • naysayer

      I don't think they ever claimed this. Maybe you read this on some Android blog? People always seem to think the speculation on Android Police or other blogs amounts to something real. I'm reading things like "They announced that the next update would be KLP." No, they really didn't.
      Not to forget that they now have BT LE. I guess the new stack will pay off in time.

      • D4niel

        No, they did claim that the Nexus 4 had OTG. It was in the original help documentation for the phone. It was quickly removed from the documentation.

        • naysayer

          I stand corrected. Apparently Google did indeed claim at least mouse connectivity over USB.

    • http://404err0r.com/ Henry Park

      Wii..... I am so jealous of my friends who use it all the time during class... After AP tests were over I think they had a little brawl competition.... T^T

    • http://shanked.me/ Shank

      Google said it supported OTG, but this was removed when an Android developer realized that it couldn't support sending enough power via USB to do so.

  • Andrew

    Read the article, freaked out a little. But then test my Rapoo E6100 with 2012 Nexus 7. Still works!

  • Lucas Laws

    I've been having issues with my Motorola S305 BT headphones. They worked great the first time I used them, but after that nothing. They will pair, but it drops when I go to play any music.

  • Petr Tajovsky

    The HP bluetooth keyboard made for HP Touchapd still works.

    • http://www.tuttoandroid.net/ Riccardo Robecchi

      Damn, I want one too. Too bad they didn't release it here in Italy and it is prohibitively expensive to buy it on eBay (60-70$ is a bit too much for a keyboard in my opinion!).

      • Petr Tajovsky

        Yes, it is too much. I paid 27€ for it, after firesale of Touchpads

  • Willie D

    So there is a battery issue, a Netflix issue, and a bluetooth keyboard issue. Thats 3 for 3 Google. I wont be sitting too pretty come October when the iPhone 5S launches.

    • Matthew Fry

      Well, they did integrate the Mali fixes into the Nexus 10, making it a little more stable :-D Still crashes infrequently but... better!

    • naysayer

      Every system as bugs. Go figure!

    • ldfrmc

      Price is a standard "issue" with Apple.

      And they do want to keeping "fixing their price" issue, don't they?

  • http://404err0r.com/ Henry Park

    Well I am glad I didn't jumped to 4.3 though now I fear for my new Nexus 7....... I bought it to watch Netflix and stuff

    • Matthew Fry

      I hear they have "top men" working on the issue :-P Getting Google to admit the problem exists is the first step. A HUGE first step.

    • naysayer

      What does that have to do with bluetooth keyboards?

  • Tom

    Cheap black chinese mini keyboard. Looking like ipod touch 3g. Can't even found.

  • Mr E

    phew, it's a good thing my friends at verizon help protect me from these dangerous updates ;)

    • Mkvarner

      I guess that's why you buy their locked phones.

  • anon

    Tested my Logitech tablet Keyboard for Android 3.0+ on my 2012 Nexus 7, and it works fine.

  • Michael

    THe Motorola Bluetooth Keyboards work just fine including mouse control

    • compuguy1088

      It works, but you have to do this: To pair your keyboard with a computer, press and hold the V, A, and R keys while turning on the keyboard. Then follow the computer’s instructions to complete pairing."

  • Jonathan Hjertström

    My Microsoft BT keyboard works perfectly and in general BT is great in 4.3. It was very broken in 4.2.2 (using BT headsets and watches) though.

  • elvisgp

    Logitech keyboard for android and windows works fine with my nexus 10.

  • Ivan Myring

    So, hopefully android 4.3.1 will come out soon with proper root and better bluetooth

  • CoreRooted

    My Sammy BT keyboard barely worked on 4.2.2. On 4.3, it would type, but none of the function keys would work.

  • naysayer

    It seems the problem stems from support for the Snakebyte Controller: https://android-review.googlesource.com/#/c/62717/

  • marcusmaximus04

    FYI, I found a workaround that works at least for the Zagg keyboard(and likely for others as well) and posted it here:

    http://forum.xda-developers.com/showpost.php?p=44188186&postcount=19

    The issue is that some keyboards are detected as "Broadcom Bluetooth Device", which appears to be a placeholder for any bluetooth game controller. If you delete/rename/move the key layout file it tries to read from, Android falls back to Generic.kl, which appears to work perfectly. The only remaining issue I'm seeing is that my Zagg keyboard is still detected as KEYBOARD_TYPE_NON_ALPHABETIC, which means that games coded for game controllers will think my keyboard is one.

  • Omer

    first the APP2SD feature in 4.2 then this, Android is getting worse and worse!

  • Matt McNair

    I have a Logitech keyboard that works just fine with 4.3 on my 2012 Nexus 7

  • CJ456

    Hope it gets fix it soon. I really like Android 4.3 but I really want to buy a new Android tablet and pair a Bluetooth keyboard to it.

  • Hi

    after looking at a list of unsupported devices, it seems they all use Broadcom chips, this could just be a problem with those.

    • Zetmor

      Might be yes: on my old Nexus 7 as on the new model, both running last 4.3 Android build, my Logitech K810 is still working fine, but my icade 8-bitty (Broadcom chip) doesn't anymore.

  • Pre86

    Microsoft Wedge Keyboard is a complete and utter disaster on my new Nexus 7! At least it still works with my phone. Thanks Verizon and HTC for ditching the DNA at 4.1.1!

    • Lexster

      Strange, that exact keyboard still works perfectly for me. What exactly is a "disaster" about it now? By new, do you mean you got the 2013 Nexus 7?

      • Pre86

        Oh yes, I mean on the 2013 Nexus 7. Attempting to type in any web connected app (ala Play Store, Google Search, Google Drive, etc.) causes the letters to repeat after a single press with no ability to stop it until it arbitrarily decides to stop. It also exhibits extreme lag. The odd part is that when I turn off the wifi, everything works fine.

        • drwatz0n

          Thank god I'm not the only one with this problem. I just picked up a Wedge mobile keyboard for use with my 2013 Nexus 7 and it's been terrible (in Chrome and Drive, Gmail hasn't been too bad.) It works fine with my Gnex on 4.2 though, and an iOS device.

  • Moonkae

    Works great with my logitech K810. Haven't encountered any bluetooth problems. It works better than 4.2.

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

    FYI, this was a collection of various keyboards with issues that our tipster put together:

    Zagg
    I'm using a Zagg, and it'll pair. I can enter the code. The Nexus seems to recognize what it is, but once it's all set up the keyboard is completely non-functional. It wont move around the home screens and it wont input in a text editor.

    Perixx PERIBOARD-806, Bluetooth ALU Folding Keyboard
    It pairs with difficulty and shows connected but the soft keyboard still appears and it will not type.

    Apple Bluetooth Keyboard
    Is anyone else having issues with their bluetooth keyboard when paired with the Nexus 7? I have an Apple Bluetooth keyboard and it repeats characters, and inserts the spaces out of order.

    My Apple A1255 keyboard pairs but no longer connects in 4.3 on my Nexus 7 (2012). Works on my Nexus 4 with 4.3 and worked on 4.2.2 no problems.

    Spider Bluetooth Keyboard
    I recently purchased a Spider bluetooth keyboard and I can get it to pair with my Nexus 7 (which recently updated to 4.3). The tablet recognizes it, and I type in the numerical code and press enter on the keyboard and the Nexus 7 responds. However, I can't get it to work in any other app after it pairs (I've tried unpairing it, turning it off/on, restarting the tablet, etc).

    Unknown Bluetooth Keyboard
    I have a Bluetooth Keyboard and he works perfectly if im using the 4.2.2. Now only the letters work, no Space, no enter, no backspace and nothing more... Anyone have this problem too? (Sorry for my poor English)

    I got the same problem with my bluetooth keyboard and other issue with the ShareKM app The cursor is invisible.

    Kensington Bluetooth Keyboard
    I have a Kensington UK bluetooth keyboard and although it shows as connected and typing the numbers to pair it worked, I get no input at all...

    GYMLE Bluetooth Keyboard
    I have a GMYLE keyboard and it will connect but no key will register on screen

    • jazzruby

      Could this be the issue:
      In the updater-script for JWR66V-from-JDQ39 - N7

      Removing unneeded files...
      Vendor_0079_Product_0011.kl
      Vendor_046d_Product_c219.kl
      Vendor_046d_Product_c21f.kl
      Vendor_0583_Product_2060.kl
      Vendor_0a5c_Product_8502.kl
      Vendor_1038_Product_1412.kl
      Vendor_12bd_Product_d015.kl
      Vendor_1689_Product_fd00.kl
      Vendor_1689_Product_fd01.kl
      Vendor_1689_Product_fe00.kl
      Vendor_1bad_Product_f016.kl
      Vendor_1bad_Product_f023.kl
      Vendor_1bad_Product_f027.kl
      Vendor_1bad_Product_f036.kl
      Vendor_1d79_Product_0009.kl
      Vendor_2378_Product_100a.kl

    • CoreRooted

      Artem, can you add the Sammy BKB-10 Keyboard to the list as non-functional in 4.3 please?

  • jsol

    Thanks for this article. I was trying to use a friend's Zagg that used to work and suddenly didn't beyond pairing. Was about to buy one. Just ordered the Logitech K810 instead.

  • Tyler

    Noticed this articles while using my newly updated N10 with the bluetooth keyboard case.

  • Lexster

    For anyone needing one that works, mine still does on the original nexus 7. I have the Microsoft Mobile Wedge keyboard. http://www.microsoft.com/hardware/en-us/p/wedge-mobile-keyboard

  • ldfrmc

    Is a OTG USB adapter and USB (wired) keyboard another solution?

  • pakshima

    My bluetooth keyboard BSKBB15(Buffalo) can be paired with Android4.3 on Nexus7(2012),But I cannnot enter any characters...

  • Frontline Test Equipment

    At Frontline, we're in the business of demystifying (and helping developers resolve) issues just like this. For giggles, we asked our test team if they'd research this report - they tested a number of keyboards they have in inventory (including Spider UltraSlim, Apple MC184LL, Logitech diNovo Mini Case, and a Logitech keyboard) to see if they could replicate the issue. All devices worked before the update to 4.3, and of those four, only 1 failed - the Spider UltraSlim. They found that the keyboard still pairs properly, HID traffic is seen going to OTA properly, but that HID doesn't function within the Nexus GUI.

    Their considered conclusion is that the HID Bluetooth connection works as designed from a Bluetooth connectivity perspective, and that the issue SEEMS to be occurring higher than the Bluetooth stack, possibly at the driver level.

    We'll keep our eyes peeled - Google, give us a shout!

  • bruno

    I could fix my Zagg Flax + Nexus 7 by renaming one file (but you need root access)

    see: https://code.google.com/p/android/issues/detail?id=58202#c10

    • bruno

      sorry, typo: it has to be "Zagg Flex"

  • rgeiken

    My BT Keyboard with any version of Android on my Nexus 10 is a joke. For about 9 months, use of a BT Keyboard has been about as reliable as Black Magic. If I had know how lousy their BT Keyboard was working, I might have taken another look at the i Pad. For all the development that have done on Android, they sure have not gotten the integration with BT keyboards right. Android and Bluetooth seem to be MORTAL enemies. I thought that Android 4.3 was going to break that curse, but unfortunately it was only a minor improvement. When I set it up for the External BT Keyboard, it connects for about a minute or so, but then for some reason they remove it. You have no adjustment to set it to any value. It is almost like they seem to forget they have BT 4.0 installed. that is the low energy BT. It is really disgusting, since the otherwise I am very satisfied with my Nexus 10. The Android "Honcho" should give his engineer an ultimatum to fix it or else.

  • Jörgen Pettersson

    Kensington Keyfolio for Android (K39532UK) isn't working for me after the update

  • DG

    is there any fix for this issue yet?

  • sunshine64

    So what can be done about this connectivity issue? I have a ZaggFlex and it's useless until a fix to 4.3 comes about? Does anyone know when that might be?

  • Todd Jensen

    Thanks for all this info. I just purchased a Nexus 7 with 4.3 and a perixx periboard 805L. They pair wonderfully, but then keys do not work at all. I guess I will need to wait for the update. Sad day for a guy with new toys.

    • JRS

      Same problem. I note that the Perixx 805L works perfectly with my Samsung Galaxy S4. But with my Nexus 7 2013 it pairs, and then does nothing at all. With the External Keyboard Helper, I can get a few keys to work with Evernote on the tablet, but nothing else.

      • DavidChristianLiedle

        Same here - Periboard-806 works fine with my Galaxy S4, but only pairs with my Nexus 10 (then nothing, at all, anywhere in the N10).

  • Sean Rivis

    I have used External Keyboard Helper Pro ($2.45 in the Play Store) and after a little bit of reconfiguring I have gotten my Adesso to work (which after the update did not work) - https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.apedroid.hwkeyboardhelper&hl=en

    • Nikkel

      Just tried External Keyboard Helper Pro. Now the Nexus 4 will accept some imput from my Zagg keyboard but only letters. All other keys (space, shift, backspace, etc.) still don't work. So close...

      • Sean Rivis

        That is what happened to me too, and then I had to go into the settings and add a custom keyboard layout, then you can map keys to what you want them to do. It's not perfect but its pretty good. This is the reconfiguring I mentioned

    • Jason

      Please pass along what you did for the "little bit of reconfiguring" to get your keyboard to work.

      • Sean Rivis

        I had to go into the settings and add a custom keyboard layout, then you can map keys to what you want them to do. It's not perfect but its pretty good. This is the reconfiguring I mentioned. More recently my keyboard has worked on its own I believe since a prior update.

  • John

    I tried three different keyboards including some of those listed as working. I found a fix in installing a different kernel. Saved the day!

  • Tom

    GE Keyboard available in Target does not work. As with others it connects and then does not accept any keystrokes.

  • mr.shadey

    Also problems with Bluetooth mouse.
    When there is traffic over WiFi bluetooth is unreliable. Sometime cuts out completely and mouse pointer vanishes for several seconds.
    Nexus 7 2013 (jss15r)
    Microsoft notebook 5000 Bluetooth mouse.

  • jellybean owner

    Sharkk doesn't work either. Symptoms are as described in the article. Have AsusMemo 10 with Jellybean 4.3.

    Hope this helps

  • Ken

    Just got a Spider bluetooth keyboard. It pairs correctly with my Nexus 7 and even lists it as a keyboard but then it doesn't work. Works with Windows 8. That's depressing. :-)

  • Thomas Kanara

    I got the Nexus 7 (2013) and brought a "MoKo Google New Nexus 7 FHD 2nd Gen Case - Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard Cover Case BLACK" from Amazon for $24.99 and it works perfectly for me on 4.3 with build number JSS15R, also worked fine with CM 10.2 nightly's before I rolled back to stock firmware earlier today while I wait for Kit-Kat to come out.

  • guest

    try:
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.apedroid.hwkeyboardhelperdemo
    after some configuring my Zagg BT keyboard is fully functioning

  • TerryR.

    Just had our beloved TouchPad get damaged, so I picked up a new Nexus 7. The HP BT keyboard works wonderfully, as do most of the function keys. The only ones that don't aren't a big deal; Keyboard, brightness - & +, mute. The player functions work great, the Notifications key works like a Back button, the Power button turns the screen on and off, and Search uses the application search or if one isn't available, it opens a Google search window. Very happy.

  • Mike Cline

    Just upgraded to 4.4, but it did not solve the problem with my Nexus 10, trying to use the apple wireless keyboard. Still same crap as before, it recognizes keypresses from the keyboard during the bluetooth pairing, but no keypresses show up in any applications.

  • Nobody

    First Google broke all the BT mice pairings.

    Now they are finishing up by breaking all the BT keyboard pairings.

  • mark

    Two Kensington keyboards. Both paired perfectly and worked first use. Now both say connected but no apps accept input! Any ideas?

  • guidance

    rapoo E6100 isn't working anymore either. Just went from 4.1.x to 4.4.2 on my Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 and can't do normal development anymore now!

  • Jared Morgan

    For the record, this is still happening in 4.4.3 and 4.4.4. Even the Android L DP has issues with key drops and repeat issues.

    https://code.google.com/p/android/issues/detail?can=2&start=0&num=100&q=&colspec=ID%20Type%20Status%20Owner%20Summary%20Stars&groupby=&sort=&id=58467 is *the* thread you need to start starring and commenting on. It is over 1 year old, but I'm sure it will filter to the top of the list once more AP readers start hammering it.

    It is marked as "Priority-Low" which is a disgrace.

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