Apple’s Magic Keyboard is compact and chic, but it surely’s removed from the one worthy keyboard possibility for Mac customers. Whether or not you write all day, play fast-paced video games, want higher ergonomics, or want the cacophonous consolation of mechanical keys, there are many nice Mac keyboards on the market. That mentioned, not each keyboard works completely with Macs, so let’s speak about what you have to know earlier than selecting a brand new one.

Why You Want a Mac-Pleasant Keyboard

Technically, you should use any keyboard along with your Mac. Plug it in (presumably with the assistance of a USB-A-to-USB-C adapter) or pair it over Bluetooth, and its primary typing features will work simply as nicely. That mentioned, for those who’re used to Macs and particularly for those who’re utilizing Apple’s Magic Keyboard, you are certain to turn out to be accustomed to among the keys and options you will need in any new keyboard you purchase. .

The default Magic Keyboard has a compact, 78-key design that crunches all of its keys, together with the arrows, into the smallest doable typing block. Only a few different keyboards, even smaller ones, use any such structure. Apple additionally makes a full-size Magic Keyboard with a quantity pad, however Apple treats it just like the XL mannequin, whereas most keyboard makers see the full-size 104-key structure because the default.

A helpful time period to search for for those who want a smaller keyboard keyless Or TKL, referring to a keyboard that lacks a 10-key quantity pad. You might also see the keyboard known as a proportion—it is not a proportion of the size and width of a full-size keyboard, however a proportion of keys primarily based on the 104-key commonplace. Some drop the arrow keys, operate keys, and extra to stand up to 60% or 65%, usually with a really compact structure.

Apple Magic Keyboard, Trackpad and Mouse

Apple’s Magic Keyboard, trackpad and mouse have a really low profile.

The keys on the highest row of the Apple keyboard are assigned to system-level features equivalent to display screen brightness and quantity management. They can be utilized because the basic F1-F12 operate keys, however this may require you to press the Fn key. On any keyboard not made particularly for the Mac, the roles are reversed: F1-F12 are the first makes use of for these top-row keys, and system-level duties require some kind of shortcut. .

Lastly, Macs have a couple of distinctive keys. The one you in all probability know finest is the Command key, which is used for a lot of common keyboard shortcuts. It’s used very in a different way from the Home windows key. The Choice key’s parallel to the Alt key on Home windows. And the most recent Magic Keyboard, which comes with the M1 iMac, has a TouchID button, which has no equal on a Home windows keyboard.

If you need a keyboard that comes with a Mac key configuration, your choices are fairly restricted. Some firms, equivalent to Logitech, make Mac-specific fashions of their keyboards with Command and Choice keys; These fashions are labeled “Mac Model” or “Made for Mac”. However that is not the one method to get the keys and features you want. Remappable keyboards have gotten more and more common amongst Home windows avid gamers, and Mac customers can usually profit from them as nicely.

Keyboard software program on Mac: mapping and customization

For those who’ve solely used the usual productiveness keyboard, you will be amazed by the broad world of mechanical, gaming-oriented, and ergonomic keyboards. Gaming keyboards deliver dazzling with customizable multi-colored RGB lighting, an aesthetic that may very well be a refreshing break from Apple’s clear monochrome fashion, and plenty of have programmable macro keys for generally used features. Mechanical keyboards have a satisfying typing sound and tactile really feel, and most of them function lengthy journey—your keycap strikes once you depress all of it the best way—to be extra supportive and cozy.

Kinesis Gaming Freestyle Edge RGB Split Mechanical Keyboard

(Photograph: Mike Epstein)

For those who’re beginning to expertise ache in your arms, wrists, or shoulders whereas typing, you may contemplate switching to an ergonomic keyboard that is designed to ease the ache of repetitive pressure accidents. A keyboard that is simpler and extra comfy to sort on may very well be a life-changing improve.

Most premium productiveness and gaming keyboards may be reconfigured with manufacturer-provided software program. Configuration apps let you change (remap) every key; Change different settings, equivalent to how shortly the wi-fi keyboard goes to sleep; and RGB lighting program. That is how one can flip a Home windows key right into a Command key, set your Caps Lock to activate the choice, or in any other case create your perfect keyboard structure.

Screenshot of the Corsair K100 RGB gaming keyboard software

Corsair’s iCue software program makes it simple to remap the K100 RGB gaming keyboard.

If you’re organising a keyboard that is not explicitly designed for the Mac, it is necessary to have the ability to use its configuration software program. Sadly, configuration apps from many producers do not run on macOS, so ensure you discover one which does. The most important Mac-friendly names in productiveness keyboards are Logitech and Kensington. For gaming, we’re speaking about Corsair, Logitech and SteelSeries.

Some smaller producers, together with Kinesis and Drop, haven’t got conventional config apps. As a substitute, they provide customization assist by means of a mixture of onboard controls and both driverless apps that work by way of the keyboard or an online app. These processes could also be rather less handy than with an app, however they’re extensively suitable.

drop keyboard configuration app

The online-based configuration device for the Drop Shift mechanical keyboard works on any laptop.

For those who assume it can confuse you to remap a key’s operate with out re-labeling the important thing, do not resort to masking tape. As a substitute, purchase a sheet of low-cost key label stickers. They’re supposed for keyboards the place legends have been misplaced, however additionally they serve to re-label remapped keys. Some mechanical keyboards include replaceable keycaps for instructions and choices, however if you wish to arrange Mac-style operate keys, you will in all probability want labels.

Prepared for our suggestions?

With all the small print, you might be prepared to decide on the very best keyboard on your Mac. Our suggestions and opinions will assist you determine which of our favorites could be an excellent match. For those who’re in search of unique options, try our record of the very best wi-fi keyboards and finest ergonomic keyboards. And for those who want a mouse to match, contemplate the Finest Mice for Mac in addition to the Finest Gaming Mice for Mac, that are designed for gaming however work nicely for almost any function. We do.

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