Apple Magic Keyboard

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Magic Keyboard
Model no. A1644 MLA22LL/A (compact silver/white),
A1843 MQ052LL/A (full-size silver/white),
A1843 MRMH2LL/A (full-size grey/black)
A2449 EMC3579 (compact blue 2021 /w fingerprint sensor)
Branding Apple
Features Automated pairing (compact, full-size desktop)
Keyswitches Scissor switch/Rubber dome
Key travel 1 mm (desktop)
Keycaps Laser-etched chiclet
Interface USB, Bluetooth 3.0 (compact, full-size)
Proprietary "Smart connector" (iPad Pro)
Battery 2.98 Wh Li-Ion (compact)
Dimensions 279×115×109 mm (compact), 419×115×109 mm (full-size)
Weight 231g (compact), 390g (full-size)
Introduced 2015 (compact), 2017 (full size)
Supersedes Apple Aluminium Keyboard
Price $99 (compact), $129 (full size), $149 (compact with fingerprint reader), $179 (full-size with fingerprint reader)

The Apple Magic Keyboard is Apple's current keyboard line for Macintosh computers and the iPad Pro.


The "Magic Keyboard" is the third product line with the "Magic" moniker. The convention originates with the "Magic Mouse", selected to one-up the name "Mighty Mouse" — which Apple could not use after receiving a lawsuit for trademark infringement.

The first in the line was the compact desktop "Magic Keyboard" in white/silver made as a successor to "Apple Wireless Keyboard", to be shipped with desktop Macintosh computers. It was released in 2015 simultaneously with the Magic Mouse 2 and the Magic Trackpad 2, with the trackpad made to match the lower profile of the Magic Keyboard. Because of these numbers, Macintosh users often erroneously call the keyboard "Magic Keyboard 2" and refer to the predecessor as the "Magic Keyboard 1". Note also that 2021 models have model numbers starting with "MK2" whereas earlier Magic Keyboards don't.

In June 2017, the "Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad" was introduced, and there are rumours that some symbol legends would have been changed also.

In late 2019, Apple started to replace the problem-ridden "Butterfly" mechanism on Apple's laptops with a more traditional scissor/rubber-dome mechanism, also called "Magic Keyboard". The key mechanism is similar to the desktop's but with shorter key travel.

And in early 2020, Apple released a stand/cover with keyboard for the iPad Pro with a similar portable "Magic Keyboard" inside.

In April 2021, Apple announced a revised design for the desktop keyboards, matching a new range of ARM-based iMac desktop computers. They come anodised in six different colours of the anodised aluminium enclosures, matching the colours of the computers (including silver-grey). The keyboards also have more rounded corners, with the corner keys being rounded. The Fn key functions as a "World key" (Emoji key) when tapped. The Eject key has been replaced by a Screen lock key or a finger-print reader on different models. From August 2021 these are also sold separately, but only with silver-grey enclosure. The fingerprint reader will also work only with newer ARM-based Macintosh computers.

Key size and layout

Desktop keyboards have lower key travel than on the previous aluminium keyboards. Laptop/iPad keyboards have even lower key travel but not as low as on the "butterfly" keyboards that preceded them.

The keycaps have very little spacing in-between them, even less than on previous keyboards.

The keys on the bottom row are no longer slightly larger vertically than on other rows.

ISO Return keys are still narrow.

Some keys are different on desktop and portable keyboards: On the desktop keyboards the left and right cursor keys are not halved vertically to make an inverse-T shape. Neither are the keys on the function key row smaller than on other rows.

Laptop keyboards have a fingerprint reader. Some laptop models have a Touch bar instead of function keys but keep a physical Escape key.

Desktop keyboards

Unlike its predecessors (the Apple Aluminium Keyboard), the "Magic" desktop keyboards have fixed rechargeable batteries. These are difficult to replace but allow the keyboards to have a flatter profile.

The function keys are the same size as other 1u keys but the Escape key is wider.

The keyboards use Bluetooth 3.0 and can pair automatically to a Macintosh when connected via the USB-to-Lightning cable to a computer running MacOS X 10.11 "El Capitan" or higher. The pairing protocol is proprietary. The first generation of keyboards came with USB A-to-Lightning cables. The 2021 versions come with USB C-to-Lightning cables, as the 2021 iMac and MacBook don't have USB A sockets.

The keyboards also work as a keyboard over USB but because its report protocol is different from the boot protocol there may be problems with some systems such as BIOS:es or KVM switches that don't follow the USB specification completely.

Unlike its wired predecessors, there is no USB hub.

The fingerprint reader in some models work only with Apple's ARM-based Macintosh models.

"Magic Keyboard"

A compact variety, without numeric keypad. Successor to the aluminium "Apple Wireless Keyboard". Only in silver/white. Shipped with iMac.

Rumour has it that some legends were changed from June 5 2017 onwards.

"Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad"

The full-size varities are wireless, unlike the previous full-size Apple Aluminium Keyboard which had been wired only.

The silver/white introduced in June 2017, available only separately. A "Space Gray" variant with black keys was introduced with the iMac Pro in Dec 2017, and has been available separately since March 2018.

Silver-grey variants with black keys have been shipped with the 2019 Mac Pro.

2021 "Magic Keyboard" MK2A3LL

Compact 2021 version.

The Eject key has been replaced with a Screen lock key.

2021 "Magic Keyboard with Touch ID" MK293LL

Compact 2021 version.

The Eject key has been replaced with a fingerprint reader. It also works as a Screen lock key when pressed.

2021 "Magic Keyboard with Touch ID and Numeric Keypad" MK2C3LL

Full-size 2021 version.

The Eject key has been replaced with a fingerprint reader. It also works as a Screen lock key when pressed. The key is situated above the Backspace key, not in the top/right corner of the keyboard.


The "Magic" keyboards for Apple's portable computers replace the butterfly mechanisms in previous MacBooks. The keyboards are backlit.

The scissor mechanism is slimmer than on the desktop keyboards, with less key travel but are otherwise the same mechanically.

The left and right cursor keys are halved in height, making the keys into an inverse-T shape and making them easier to find by touch. The cursor keys are however slimmer than on pre-2015 keyboards where the entire space-bar row had been thicker vertically to begin with.


On laptop keyboards, the function key row is halved vertically compared to other rows. Some models have a touch bar instead of function keys. However, unlike previous keyboards with touch bars, the Escape key is now a physical key.


The "Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro" is also a cover and an adjustable stand. The keyboard itself lacks function keys and an Escape key but Escape can be mapped onto another key in iPadOS. It also has an integrated touchpad, battery and USB C battery-charging port. It is connected to the tablet via a proprietary pogo-pin connector ("Smart keyboard" connector) over which it is able to charge itself and provide power to the iPad Pro, thus leaving the tablet's USB C port free. It is however very expensive, for which it has received much criticism.

External Links

Desktop keyboard:

Touch ID (fingerprint sensor):


iPad Pro: