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Apple Magic Keyboard with Touch ID and Numeric Keypad Keyboard Review

Tested using Methodology v1.3
Reviewed Oct 06, 2021 at 10:49 am
Latest change: Writing modified Aug 30, 2023 at 12:45 pm
Apple Magic Keyboard with Touch ID and Numeric Keypad Picture
4.7
Gaming
7.7
Office
7.5
Mobile/Tablet
6.8
Programming
4.0
Entertainment / HTPC
4.1
Raw Performance

The Apple Magic Keyboard with Touch ID and Numeric Keypad 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

4.7 Gaming

The Apple Magic Keyboard with Touch ID performs poorly for gaming but isn't designed for this use. While the switches have a short pre-travel distance and are fairly light to press, the 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.
  • Latency is too high for gaming.
7.7 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.
7.5 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.
6.8 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.
4.0 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.
4.1 Raw Performance

The Apple Magic Keyboard with Touch ID delivers poor raw performance overall. It has very high single-key and multi-key latency and an extremely low effective update rate via Bluetooth. While still a good option for everyday tasks and productivity, this keyboard isn't well suited for gaming.

  • 4.7 Gaming
  • 7.7 Office
  • 7.5 Mobile/Tablet
  • 6.8 Programming
  • 4.0 Entertainment / HTPC
  • 4.1 Raw Performance
  1. Updated Aug 30, 2023: We've added text to this review for the new tests added in TBU 1.3.
  2. Updated Aug 30, 2023: We've converted this review to Test Bench 1.3, which overhauls how key input is evaluated. We've added new tests for Single Key Latency, Multi Key Latency, Data Transmission, and Chord Split. We've also introduced a new Raw Performance usage and adjusted how the Gaming and Office usage scores are calculated. You can see the full changelog here.
  3. Updated Jun 15, 2023: We've converted this review to Test Bench 1.2. This update introduces new Backlight Features and Backlight Clarity test boxes. We've also added a new Switches test box, added additional test comparisons to our Hardware Customizability test box that we introduced with our last Test Bench. For an in-depth look at our changes, you can see our full changelog here.
  4. Updated Mar 22, 2023: We've converted this review to Test Bench 1.1. This update adds several new tests addressing Hardware Customization, Macro Keys And Programming, and Wireless Mobile Compatibility. We've also added new objective evaluations to the Typing Noise test, and we've simplified several tests and removed several others that were no longer relevant. For an in-depth look at all our changes, you can see our full changelog here.
  5. Updated Oct 06, 2021: Review published.
  6. Updated Oct 04, 2021: Early access published.
  7. Updated Sep 30, 2021: Our testers have started testing this product.
  8. Updated Sep 17, 2021: The product has arrived in our lab, and our testers will start evaluating it soon.
  9. Updated Sep 16, 2021: We've purchased the product and are waiting for it to arrive in our lab.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

We tested the Apple Magic Keyboard with Touch ID and Numeric Keypad, 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 and Numeric Keypad. 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.

Logitech MX Keys Mini

The Apple Magic Keyboard with Touch ID and Numeric Keypad and the Logitech MX Keys Mini are wireless, low-profile boards. The Apple is a full-size model, though it also comes in the same compact size as the Logitech. The Apple has a Numpad, a Touch ID key in the top right corner, and full compatibility with macOS. Also, you can use its cable for changing and in wired mode, while the Logitech is a wireless-only board that only lets you use the cable to charge the battery. That said, the Logitech has a few more features, like white backlighting, multi-device pairing via Bluetooth, and customization software to remap some keys.

Microsoft Surface Keyboard

The Microsoft Surface Keyboard and the Apple Magic Keyboard with Touch ID and Numeric Keypad 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.

Apple Magic Keyboard 2017

The Apple Magic Keyboard with Touch ID and Numeric Keypad is a newer version of the Apple Magic Keyboard 2017. 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 hotkeys. 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 better on the newer keyboard because the keys are more tactile. That said, the newer model we tested flexes more than the 2017 version, but it's also significantly wider, so this is to be expected.

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 and Numeric Keypad 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.

Keychron K6

The Keychron K6 and the Apple Magic Keyboard with Touch ID and Numeric Keypad 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.

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Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Dimensions
Size
Full-size (100%)
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
Curved/Angled
No
Split Keyboard
No
Key Alignment
Staggered
Minimum Incline
2.8°
Medium Incline
N/A
Maximum Incline
N/A
Home Row Height
7.3 mm (0.3")

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
Hardware Customizability
Replaceable Cherry Stabilizers
No
Stabilizer Fixation
Non-Customizable Design
Spacebar Stabilizer Size
Non-Customizable Design
Size Of Right Mod Keys
Non-Standard
Hot-Swappable Switches
No
Switch Stem Shape
Non-Customizable Design
Switch PCB Socket
Non-Customizable Design
North-Facing Cherry MX Interference
Non-Customizable Design
0
Design
Backlight Features
Backlighting No
RGB
No
Per-Key Backlighting
No
Effects
No
Software Controllable
No

The Apple Magic Keyboard with Touch ID doesn't have any backlighting, disappointing for those who want to work in a dark environment.

0
Design
Backlight Clarity
Design
Cable & Connector
Connectivity Wireless
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.

0
Design
Macro Keys And Programming
Dedicated Macro Keys Count 0
Onboard Macro Programming
No
Macro Programming With Software
No
Design
Extra Features
Media Keys
Non-Dedicated
Trackpad / Trackball No
Scroll Wheel
No
Control Knob
No
USB Passthrough
No
Numpad Yes
Windows Key Lock
No
Lock Indicator Caps Lock

The stand-out feature of the Apple Magic Keyboard with Touch ID 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 and Numeric Keypad
  • Lightning to USB-C cable
  • User Guide

Typing Experience
8.0
Typing Experience
Typing Quality
Key Spacing
19.0 mm (0.748")

The Apple Magic Keyboard with Touch ID's typing quality feels great. The key spacing is standard, and it's comfortable to type on. 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.

9.8
Typing Experience
Typing Noise
Average Loudness
37.8 dBA
High Pitch Clicks
No

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

Typing Experience
Switches
Switch Name
No Marketed Name
Switch Type
Scissor
Feel
Tactile
Typing Experience
Keystrokes
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.

Performance
5.0
Performance
Single-Key Latency
Best Connection
38.4 ms
Best Connection Std Dev ±5.1 ms
Wired
N/A
Receiver
N/A
Bluetooth
38.4 ms

This keyboard has very high and inconsistent single-key latency, so it's unsuitable for playing games where input speed is important. That said, it's still perfectly well-suited for everyday browsing or work.

4.0
Performance
Multi-Key Latency
Connection Evaluated Bluetooth
Key Press
46.3 ms
Key Release
42.2 ms

This keyboard has very high and noticeably inconsistent multi-key latency for both the key press and key release, so it's unsuitable for playing games where input speed is important. That said, it's still perfectly well-suited for everyday browsing or work.

3.0
Performance
Data Transmission
Connection Evaluated Bluetooth
USB Polling Rate
N/A
Effective Update Rate
67 Hz
N-Key Rollover (NKRO)
No
Multiple Keys Per USB Report
Yes

This keyboard connects via Bluetooth, and while it can send multiple keys per USB report, it lacks NKRO and has a very low effective update rate.

3.3
Performance
Chord Split
4 Chord Split Delay
30.0 ms
8 Chord Split Delay
N/A

This keyboard has poor chord split performance. It produces a very high 4-chord split delay and can't register eight simultaneous keys.

Software and Operating System
Software and Operating System
Configuration Software
Software Name No Software
Software Windows Compatible
No
Software macOS Compatible
No
Onboard Memory
No
Profiles
No Profile

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

8.6
Software and Operating System
Computer Compatibility
Windows
Partially Compatible
macOS
Fully Compatible
Linux (Ubuntu 22)
Fully Compatible
Media Key Compatibility
MacOS & Linux

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

9.2
Software and Operating System
Wireless Mobile Compatibility
Android
Partially Compatible
iOS
Fully Compatible
iPadOS
Fully Compatible
Media Key Compatibility
iPhone & iPad

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, but many reports online mention that it isn't 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 is a list of shortcuts, as you can see here.