Testing Apple's New Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro

Apple last week surprised us with the early launch of the new Magic Keyboard designed for the 2018 and 2020 iPad Pro models, and as of this week, orders are arriving to customers. We picked up one of the new Magic Keyboards for the 12.9-inch ‌iPad Pro‌ and tested it out to see how it works and whether it's worth the $350 selling price.

Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos.

Apple actually sells the Magic Keyboard in 11 and 12.9-inch sizes, and while the 12.9-inch model is $350, the 11-inch version is priced at $299. Though sized to fit the 2020 ‌iPad Pro‌ models, the Magic Keyboards are also compatible with the 2018 ‌iPad Pro‌ models, so 2018 ‌iPad Pro‌ owners won't need to upgrade to take advantage of the keyboard.


Apple has offered an iPad keyboard in the form of the Smart Keyboard (and ‌Smart Keyboard‌ Folio) for quite some time, but this is the first time that Apple has developed an ‌iPad‌ keyboard with a trackpad with the intention of turning the ‌iPad‌ into something more akin to a MacBook.

Design wise, coming out of the box, the Magic Keyboard looks similar to the ‌Smart Keyboard‌ that was previously sold, but it's a lot thicker and a lot heavier.


The Magic Keyboard for the 12.9-inch ‌iPad Pro‌ weighs more than the ‌iPad Pro‌ itself, in fact, at 1.6 pounds (the ‌iPad Pro‌ weighs 1.4 pounds). When you put the keyboard on the ‌iPad Pro‌, that's a combined weight of three pounds, which is heavier than a MacBook Air and close to the weight of a MacBook Pro.

It is a hefty keyboard that absolutely adds a lot of bulk to the sleek and slim ‌iPad Pro‌. The 11-inch Magic Keyboard is smaller and not quite as heavy, but you're still doubling the weight of the ‌iPad‌.


The Magic Keyboard is made from the same polyurethane material that Apple's ‌Smart Keyboard‌ Folio was made from, and design wise, what sets it apart is a hinge that enables a "floating" design. The case attaches magnetically but pulls away at the bottom when the keyboard is in use, with lower part of the ‌iPad‌ kind of floating in space to allow for adjustable viewing angles with the hinge.


The magnetic attachment is strong enough that you don't need to worry about the ‌iPad Pro‌ shifting or being shaken loose if you move it, and the case itself provides a minimal amount of protection, similar to the ‌Smart Keyboard‌ case.

The hinge at the bottom of the case is made from aluminum and it has a built-in USB-C port for passthrough charging so you can charge your ‌iPad Pro‌ while the Magic Keyboard is connected. The USB-C port on the ‌iPad Pro‌ isn't obscured by the Magic Keyboard, but a cable from the side of the keyboard itself and out of the way looks nicer than one coming out of the middle of the ‌iPad‌ while it's used in landscape mode.


The USB-C port is limited to passthrough charging and it does not support data transfer, so you'll still need adapters for doing things like connecting the ‌iPad Pro‌ to an external display. Charging is also not quite as fast as it is when plugging a USB-C cable directly into the ‌iPad Pro‌.

When it comes to the hinge, it's sturdy and strong, and when the Magic Keyboard is opened, it locks right into place and is in an upright position, but then you can make adjustments to the viewing angle. Apple's ‌Smart Keyboard‌ Folio only had two viewing angles, but the hinge can be fine tuned and set at more angles, though the range of motion is similar to the ‌Smart Keyboard‌ Folio.


There is no way to fold the Magic Keyboard back behind the ‌iPad Pro‌ to get to an ideal sketching angle for the ‌iPad Pro‌, but flipping the whole thing backwards kind of works. The best solution for drawing is probably to pop the Magic Keyboard off of the ‌iPad Pro‌, but it's definitely a disappointment that there's no built-in drawing angle.

The keyboard itself feels great, and it's nothing like Apple's previous Smart Keyboards. The keys have a good amount of travel and feel nice under the fingers, plus there's backlighting for the keys. Unfortunately Apple did not include a row of function keys so there's no quick way to adjust backlighting, change brightness, or access media playback controls from the keyboard itself.


The backlighting changes based on the ambient lighting in the room so users shouldn't need too much manual adjustment, but it's still a disappointment not to have the function keys, including an escape key. Command + the period key typically serves as an alternative to an escape key or another key can be remapped to that function, but it would have been nice to have a dedicated escape key.

Apple's main selling point for the new Magic Keyboard is, of course, the trackpad, and it works great. It's similar to using a trackpad with a Mac, though much smaller of course. Many gestures are supported, such as swiping down with three fingers to access the Home screen, swiping up with three fingers to get to the multitasking view, and more. We have a list of gestures in our Magic Keyboard guide, if you're looking for more comprehensive gesture info.

Having a trackpad to use with the keyboard and the touch screen makes the ‌iPad Pro‌ experience much more similar to a traditional laptop, but you are, of course, still limited to iPadOS rather than macOS, which is still a major factor when it comes to multitasking, app selection, and more.

The Magic Keyboard is heavy and it definitely reduces the portability of the ‌iPad Pro‌, but for those who plan to use the ‌iPad Pro‌ as a full computer replacement, it adds so much utility that it's most likely worth the weight and the price tag. If the ‌iPad Pro‌ is a secondary machine and you already have a Mac, the Magic Keyboard might not be as worthwhile, but it certainly provides the most Mac-like experience on an ‌iPad‌ to date.

What do you think of the Magic Keyboard? Are you getting one? Let us know in the comments.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
27 weeks ago
4 mins 50 in, how to justify the poor design



Score: 41 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
27 weeks ago
I'm glad Dan didn't have any notable issues with the hummingbirds these things seem to attract.



Score: 31 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
27 weeks ago


Apple digs themselves in a hole all the time. Magic mouse design (charging port on bottom) is one of the many. They are just like the japanese - 2 steps forward, 3 steps backwards (see psp, walkman, minidisc, etc).

They will eat poo if they are caught “copying” great designs on the market right now - as in touch screen laptop - which makes sense because you can choose to use it or not.

They won’t even make any of the macbooks pencil compatible. This keyboard is an optional accessory but the price is just bonkers. Unless you are one of those people like in the show succession, this keyboard is just sold to the dumb. Look at post #8 - this is exactly how apple designers think these days - it’s almost as if they don’t go outside their labs ever to see products that are sold currently.

You could’ve just written “I don‘t like Apple”.
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
27 weeks ago
It just seems a clumsy direction to go in. They are trying to morph the iPad into a MacBook replacement. Why not give us a MacBook Air with a touch screen that double back on itself? I suppose they want people owning both devices, which I can understand. I do have both, but I prefer the Air by far.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
27 weeks ago


Mine is due to arrive on Friday and this does not damper my excitement!

I was so upset after I placed the order and I saw the reviews I almost canceled.
Then I lost the chance and the keyboard arrived.

I was - and still am - blown away!
So glad to have it. The weight is high but it’s not as much of a problem as people make it.
It is heavy, true, but the size and portability is still there. It’s not that much of weight to cry about it.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
27 weeks ago
Bought one, love it. I used a Smart Keyboard Folio since the launch of the 3rd gen iPad Pro 11 and its ok but this is a dream for me. Rock solid, don't think this is the "same" thing as the SKF because the material looks the same... its rigid and well built. The magnets are rock solid unlike the SKF, your iPad isn't going anywhere. The keyboard is as good as any Mac keyboard and the folding and unfolding is perfect. The integrated trackpad changes everything and makes this a truly do everything device.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

First iPhone 12 Mini Hands-On Video Surfaces [Update: Video Pulled]

Wednesday October 28, 2020 1:21 pm PDT by
Apple's iPhone 12 mini and the iPhone 12 Pro Max aren't set to be available until November 13, but a Romanian YouTuber got his hands on the iPhone 12 mini and showed it off today, offering a size comparison between the iPhone 12 and the 12 mini along with going over some of the device's features. The iPhone 12 mini is identical to the iPhone 12 in design and functionality, but it has a...

Apple References Unreleased 2020 16-Inch MacBook Pro in Boot Camp Update

Monday October 26, 2020 8:42 am PDT by
Last week, Apple released an update for Boot Camp, its utility for running Windows on a Mac. While this update would typically be unremarkable, several of our readers noticed that the release notes reference an unreleased 2020 model of the 16-inch MacBook Pro. While this could easily be a mistake, the 16-inch MacBook Pro is nearly a year old, so it is certainly a worthy candidate for a...

After Mocking Apple, Samsung May Remove Power Adapter From Galaxy S21 Box

Tuesday October 27, 2020 4:29 pm PDT by
Samsung's Galaxy S21, coming in 2021, may not include a power adapter or headphones in the box, according to reports from Korean media sites highlighted by SamMobile. Rumors earlier this year also said that Samsung was considering removing these accessories from future smartphone models, but that didn't stop Samsung from mocking Apple for selling the iPhone 12 models without a power adapter...

Report: Apple Silicon iMac Featuring Desktop Class 'A14T' Chip Coming First Half of 2021

Tuesday October 27, 2020 4:14 am PDT by
The first iMac powered by Apple Silicon is set to arrive in the first half of next year and will feature a desktop class "A14T" chip, according to Chinese-language newspaper The China Times. Codenamed "Mt. Jade," Apple's first custom-made desktop processor will be twinned with its first self-developed GPU, codenamed "Lifuka," both of which are being produced using TSMC's 5-nanometer process, ...

iPhone 12 Ceramic Shield Still 'Scratches at Level 6 With Deeper Grooves at Level 7' in Mohs Hardness Test

Wednesday October 28, 2020 7:10 am PDT by
iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro models feature a new Ceramic Shield front cover that is "tougher than any smartphone glass," according to Apple, but the displays on the devices still have similar scratch resistance as previous iPhones based on a new test. Zack Nelson today shared his much-anticipated iPhone 12 Pro durability test on his YouTube channel JerryRigEverything, and based on the Mohs...

2020 iPad Air vs. iPad Pro: Hands-On Comparison

Tuesday October 27, 2020 3:03 pm PDT by
Apple announced the new 2020 fourth-generation iPad Air in September, but the new tablets just started shipping out to customers last Friday. We picked one up and thought we'd do a hands-on comparison with the iPad Pro, which was last updated in March, because both tablets are about as powerful and share many similarities. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Design and ...

MagSafe Charger Only Charges at Full 15W Speeds With Apple's 20W Power Adapter [Updated]

Monday October 26, 2020 3:38 pm PDT by
Alongside the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro models, Apple introduced a new MagSafe charger that attaches to the magnetic ring in the back of the devices, providing up to 15W of charging power, which is double the speed of the 7.5W Qi-based wireless charging maximum. Apple does not provide a power adapter with the $39 MagSafe charger, requiring users to supply their own USB-C compatible option. Apple...

Apple Files Mystery 'Personal Computer' With Placeholder 'B2002' Name in Bluetooth Product Database

Tuesday October 27, 2020 12:36 pm PDT by
Last week, a listing appeared in the Bluetooth product database for an Apple product with a placeholder name "B2002" and a model number of "TBD." MacRumors was alerted to the listing by health and fitness tech website MyHealthyApple. The product is filed under the "personal computer" category, which Apple has used for previous Mac and iPad listings in the database, so it is hard to pinpoint...

Apple Releases First macOS Big Sur 11.0.1 Beta to Developers [Update: Public Beta Available]

Wednesday October 28, 2020 10:15 am PDT by
Apple today seeded a new macOS Big Sur 11.0.1 beta to developers for testing purposes, with the new beta replacing the existing macOS Big Sur 11 beta 10 update that was released two weeks ago. The macOS Big Sur beta can be downloaded through the Apple Developer Center and once the appropriate profile is installed, subsequent betas will be available through the Software Update mechanism in...

iPhone 12 Models Might Support Reverse Charging of Future Apple Accessories According to FCC Filing

Tuesday October 27, 2020 6:25 pm PDT by
iPhone 12 models could have an inactive wireless charging feature for accessories, according to an FCC filing discovered by VentureBeat's Jeremy Horwitz. In the filing, Apple said that 2020 iPhones support a wireless charging function that will seemingly be enabled for at least one future Apple accessory:In addition to being able to be charged by a desktop WPT charger (puck), 2020 iPhones...