Apple Magic Keyboard with Touch ID Keyboard Review

Tested using Methodology v1.0
Reviewed Oct 06, 2021 at 10:49 am
Apple Magic Keyboard with Touch ID Picture
5.4
Gaming
7.4
Mobile/Tablet
7.9
Office
6.4
Programming
4.7
Entertainment / HTPC
Connectivity Wireless
Size
Full-size (100%)
Mechanical
No

The Apple Magic Keyboard with Touch ID is the second generation of the Apple Magic keyboards, replacing the Apple Magic Keyboard 2017. There are only a few design differences compared to the older model, with rounded edges and new hotkey buttons, but the main feature is the new Touch ID. It works with any M1 Mac computer, so you can quickly unlock it, but it's not compatible with the iPad or iPhone. It's available in a compact and a full-size option with a numpad, but it still lacks backlighting, which is disappointing for those who work in a dark environment. It's also only available in the silver color scheme if you buy it on its own, even though Apple sells other colors with the 24-inch iMac.

Our Verdict

5.4 Gaming

The Apple Magic Keyboard with Touch ID is disappointing for gaming, but it isn't designed for this use. The keys have a short pre-travel distance and are fairly light to press, but latency is too high for gaming. You also can't reprogram or set macros to any key.

Pros
  • Scissor switches have a short pre-travel distance.
Cons
  • Can't reprogram or set macros to any key.
  • No backlighting.
  • High latency for gaming.
7.4 Mobile/Tablet

The Apple Magic Keyboard with Touch ID is decent for mobile use. The variant we tested is full-size, which is too big to carry around, but there's a compact version available. It connects with any device via Bluetooth, but there's no multi-device pairing feature. While most keys work with iPadOS and iOS, the Touch ID isn't compatible with either.

Pros
  • Connects to any device via Bluetooth.
  • Lightweight design and excellent build quality.
Cons
  • No multi-device pairing.
  • Touch ID feature isn't compatible with iPad or iPhone.
7.9 Office

The Apple Magic Keyboard with Touch ID is very good for office use. Typing feels great because the keys are light and offer good tactile feedback, and you shouldn't feel fatigued during long typing sessions, thanks to the low profile. It connects to any device via Bluetooth, but only one device at a time. Its Touch ID feature only works with certain macOS computers, which isn't convenient if you don't have those.

Pros
  • Connects to any device via Bluetooth.
  • Great typing quality.
  • Quiet typing noise.
Cons
  • No multi-device pairing.
6.4 Programming

The Apple Magic Keyboard with Touch ID is unremarkable for programming. It lacks a multi-device pairing feature, doesn't have backlighting, and you can't reprogram any of the keys. On the plus side, it offers great typing quality, and you shouldn't feel much fatigue during long programming sessions because it has a low profile.

Pros
  • Great typing quality.
  • Quiet typing noise.
Cons
  • Can't reprogram or set macros to any key.
  • No backlighting.
  • No multi-device pairing.
4.7 Entertainment / HTPC

The Apple Magic Keyboard with Touch ID is poor for home theater PC use. It's not designed for it, so it doesn't have a trackpad, and it also lacks any sort of backlighting. Luckily, it connects to any device via Bluetooth.

Pros
  • Connects to any device via Bluetooth.
Cons
  • No backlighting.
  • Lacks a trackpad.
  • 5.4 Gaming
  • 7.4 Mobile/Tablet
  • 7.9 Office
  • 6.4 Programming
  • 4.7 Entertainment / HTPC
  1. Updated Oct 06, 2021: Review published.
  2. Updated Oct 04, 2021: Early access published.

Check Price

Silver Magic Keyboard with Touch ID
SEE PRICE
BestBuy.com

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Dimensions
Height
0.4" (1.1 cm)
Width 16.5" (41.8 cm)
Depth
4.5" (11.5 cm)
Depth With Wrist Rest
N/A
Weight
0.80 lbs (0.364 kg)
8.5
Design
Build Quality
Keycap Material ABS

The Apple Magic Keyboard with Touch ID has excellent build quality. It has a solid plastic base plate with an aluminum chassis that feels sharp on the edges. It's a stiff keyboard, but it flexes more than the Apple Magic Keyboard 2017 because it's bigger. However, you still need a lot of force to bend it, and it shouldn't be an issue for normal use. The ABS keycaps have a low profile and feel nice to touch. Surprisingly, there's a fair amount of rattle when you shake the keyboard, and the larger keys rattle the most. It shouldn't be a problem for regular use, but the keys aren't as stable as they should be. Lastly, the four rubber feet underneath the keyboard keep in place.

7.0
Design
Ergonomics
Board Design
Straight
Minimum Incline
2.8°
Medium Incline
N/A
Maximum Incline
N/A
Wrist Rest No

The Apple Magic Keyboard with Touch ID is a low-profile keyboard with decent ergonomics. It doesn't have any incline settings or wrist rest, but you shouldn't need either because it sits nearly flat against the table, and you shouldn't experience fatigue.

0
Design
Backlighting
Backlighting No
Color
No Backlighting
Individually Backlit Keys
No
Color Mixing
No Backlighting
Effects
No
Programmable
No

The keyboard doesn't have any backlighting, disappointing for those who want to work in a dark environment.

Design
Cable & Connector
Detachable
Yes (Wired Mode and Charge)
Length 3.4 ft (1.0 m)
Connector (Keyboard side)
Lightning

It comes with a nice braided cable that feels better than the standard rubber cable that came with the Apple Magic Keyboard 2017. It has a USB-C connector on the end, meaning you can connect it with any USB-C-compatible device. You can use it as a wired keyboard if you don't want a Bluetooth connection.

7.5
Design
Wireless Versatility
Bluetooth
Yes
Bluetooth Multi-Device Pairing
No
Proprietary Receiver
No
Battery Type
Rechargeable

The Apple Magic Keyboard with Touch ID connects with one device at a time via Bluetooth. Apple advertises that the battery should last about a month, but it depends on your usage.

Design
Extra Features
Media Keys
Hot Keys
Macro Programmable Keys
No
Trackpad / Trackball No
Wheel No
USB Passthrough
No
Numpad Yes
Windows Key Lock
No
Lock Indicator Caps Lock

The stand-out feature of this keyboard is the Touch ID on the top right. It's advertised to only work with Mac computers with the M1 chip and not iPads or iPhones.

Design
In The Box

  • Apple Magic Keyboard with Touch ID
  • Lightning to USB-C cable
  • User Guide

Typing Experience
Typing Experience
Keystrokes
Key Switches
Scissor
Feel
Tactile
Operating Force
64 gf
Actuation Force
32 gf
Pre-Travel
0.9 mm
Total Travel
1.3 mm

The Apple Magic Keyboard with Touch ID uses the same scissor switches as the previous model. They're low profile and have a short pre-travel distance, but they require some force to get over the tactile bump. It means that you likely won't accidentally actuate keys often.

8.0
Typing Experience
Typing Quality

The typing quality on the Apple Magic Keyboard with Touch ID feels great. The key spacing feels standard, and it's comfortable to type on, so you shouldn't feel any fatigue. The switches offer good feedback, they aren't mushy, and typing is quick thanks to the short pre-travel distance. Most of the keys are stable, but there's still some wobble to them, and the Spacebar makes a rattling noise when you actuate it. The Shift and Enter keys don't have this issue, though. Overall, it offers better typing quality than the Apple Magic Keyboard 2017 because there's more tactile feedback, but it's not a significant difference.

Typing Experience
Typing Noise
Noise
Very Quiet

The Apple Magic Keyboard with Touch ID is very quiet and shouldn't bother people in a noise-sensitive environment.

6.3
Typing Experience
Latency
Latency Wired
27.1 ms
Latency Receiver
N/A
Latency Bluetooth
26.5 ms

The latency is high for gaming, but it's not designed for this anyways. It's fine for desktop use, and you shouldn't notice any delay.

Software and Operating System
0
Software and Operating System
Software & Programming
Software Name No Software
Account Required
No Software
Profiles
No Profile
Onboard Memory
No
Cloud Sync
No
Macro Programming
No
Ease Of Use
No Software
Software Windows Compatible
No
Software macOS Compatible
No

There's no dedicated software to reprogram keys or set macros. You can customize some shortcuts through the Settings menu on the Mac.

8.5
Software and Operating System
Keyboard Compatibility
Windows Partial
macOS Full
Linux Partial
Android Partial
iOS Partial
iPadOS Partial

The Apple Magic Keyboard with Touch ID only fully works with macOS, and you need an M1 Mac computer for the Touch ID to work. As expected, the Touch ID doesn't work with any other operating system or Apple product. The hotkeys don't work on Linux and Windows, and the Fn key doesn't work on Windows either.

Everything works on iPadOS except for the Touch ID, and the F3 button doesn't work on iOS. We don't have the new iPad Pro with the M1 chip to see if it works, but Apple doesn't list the iPad as compatible with the Touch ID. As for Android, the Fn button registers as Brightness Down, and the Option key brings up the voice assistant. The hotkeys don't work either, but there are a list of shortcuts as you can see here.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

We tested the Apple Magic Keyboard with Touch ID, which is part of the second generation of Magic Keyboards from Apple, replacing the Apple Magic Keyboard 2017. You can see the differences with the other second-gen keyboards below. When purchased separately, the keyboard is only available in one color, even though Apple offers it in different color schemes when bundled with the 24 inch iMac.

Name Size Touch ID
Apple Magic Keyboard Compact No
Apple Magic Keyboard with Touch ID Compact Yes
Apple Magic Keyboard with Touch ID and Numeric Keypad Full Yes

If you have the keyboard and it's different from ours, let us know and we'll update the review. You can see the label for our unit here.

Compared To Other Keyboards

The Apple Magic Keyboard with Touch ID is a good office keyboard, but it's only really useful if you have a Mac with the M1 chip so that you can use the Touch ID feature. Otherwise, it's an expensive keyboard and there are cheaper options available, like the Logitech MX Keys.

Also see our recommendations for the best keyboards for Mac, the best keyboards for programmers, and the best keyboards for iPad.

Logitech MX Keys

The Logitech MX Keys is a more versatile keyboard than the Apple Magic Keyboard with Touch ID. The Logitech has multi-device pairing with up to three devices at once, and it has white backlighting, both of which the Apple doesn't have. The Logitech also has dedicated software to reprogram a few function keys, and it works fully on Windows and macOS. However, the Apple keyboard is meant for Mac computers and it has a Touch ID button, which the Logitech doesn't have.

Keychron K6

The Keychron K6 and the Apple Magic Keyboard with Touch ID are two different types of wireless keyboards. The Apple is a full-size keyboard with scissor switches, but it's also available in a compact version. It connects to one device at a time via Bluetooth, and it works best with macOS PCs. On the other hand, the K6 is a compact mechanical keyboard available in different switch types, and it has multi-device pairing with up to three devices at once. It also has backlighting, which the Apple keyboard doesn't have. Typing is great on both, but it all depends on whether you prefer mechanical or non-mechanical switches.

Apple Magic Keyboard 2017

The Apple Magic Keyboard with Touch ID is a newer version of the Apple Magic Keyboard 2017, but there's only a few differences between them. As the name suggests, the newer model features Touch ID with compatible Mac computers. It also has a few aesthetic changes like rounded edges and new shortcut hot keys. The model we tested is full-size, but it's also available in a compact version like the 2017 model we tested. Typing also feels slightly better on the newer keyboard. However, the 2021 model we tested flexes more than the 2017 version, but that's because it's longer.

Apple Magic Keyboard for iPad 2021

Although both under the same Magic Keyboard name, the Apple Magic Keyboard for iPad 2021 and the Apple Magic Keyboard with Touch ID are very different. The one for the iPad is a folio case designed to protect the iPad, it can only connect to it via the Smart Connector, and it has a trackpad so that it's like a MacBook laptop. On the other hand, the keyboard is meant for Mac computers, and it has Touch ID for compatible devices. It's also bigger, but there's a more compact variant if you need to carry it around.

Microsoft Surface Keyboard

The Microsoft Surface Keyboard and the Apple Magic Keyboard with Touch ID are both very good office keyboards with different purposes. The Microsoft is designed to work with Windows computers while the Apple is meant for Mac computers, specifically those with M1 chips. However, they both connect to any device via Bluetooth so you can use either with any operating system, but some keys don't work. The Apple has a rechargeable battery and the Microsoft uses disposable batteries. Other than that, they're very similar because they have great typing quality and decent ergonomics, but they each lack backlighting and customization features.

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