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Should You Buy Apple's Wireless Keyboard with Touch ID?

You can finally purchase a wireless keyboard with Touch ID from Apple, but you really need an M1 Mac for it to work to its fullest potential.

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Gear Patrol

Apple has finally made the accessories it introduced with the M1 iMac this spring available for standalone purchase. These accessories include the first Magic Keyboards with Touch ID ($149+), an updated Magic Mouse ($79) and an updated Magic Trackpad ($129). Previously, you were only able to get your hands on these accessories with the purchase of an M1 iMac, but now you can buy each individually from Apple.

There are few caveats, however, and because of them these new accessories might not be a good fit for you.

You can't buy these new Mac accessories in colors.

One of the big selling points with all these accessories was color — when you bought an M1 iMac in one of its seven colors, you got a Magic Mouse (or Magic Trackpad) and a Magic Keyboard that matched — but Apple is only selling its new accessories are only available in one color: silver.

If you were hoping to buy a Magic Keyboard, Magic Mouse or Magic Trackpad in the one of the other colors, including green, yellow, orange, pink, purple or blue, those aren't available at this time (and we don't know if Apple will ever sell them).

The new Magic Mouse and Magic Trackpad aren't much different.

Second, the updated Magic Mouse and Magic Trackpad are very similar to models that Apple has previously been selling. The big difference is that all the new accessories come with a USB-C to Lightning cable instead of a Lightning to USB cable. The new cable also has a new woven design. The only design difference is with the new Magic Trackpad, which has a refined shape to perfectly match the new Magic Keyboard.

All in all, there's very little reason to upgrade to a new Magic Mouse or Magic Trackpad if your current Magic Mouse or Magic Trackpad is working just fine.

Touch ID won't work on non-M1 Macs.

The new Magic Keyboards are the most different from their predecessors for a few reasons. They have new dedicated Function keys for Spotlight, Dictation and Do Not Disturb. They also come with a USB-C to Lightning cable with a woven design (just like Apple's other new accessories). And they are the first Magic Keyboards to have a dedicated button for Touch ID.

Touch ID is the big upgrade because is it allows you to unlock your Mac with your fingerprint (rather than having to type in a password). You can also quickly verify purchases with Apple Pay. It's a huge selling point for these new keyboards — but it won't work with non-M1 Macs.

The reason for this that M1 chip allows the keyboard and Mac to communicate wirelessly in a really secure way, but can only be done a computer that has Apple's M1 chip — so, the newest MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iMac, Mac mini or even iPad Pros. If you have a Mac with an older Intel chipset, these new accessories will still work, but you won't be able to use Touch ID.

All of Apple's new accessories are available for purchase now on Apple's website.


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