Apple finally brought Touch ID to its desktop computers earlier this year with an upgraded version of its wireless Magic Keyboard featuring an added fingerprint sensor. To date, it’s been exclusively available with Apple’s new M1-powered iMac, but it now finally appears to be available as a standalone accessory through Apple’s online store.
As spotted by Rene Ritchie who reported their findings on Twitter, the $249 Magic Keyboard with Touch ID and Numeric Keypad and shorter $209 Magic Keyboard with Touch ID can both be purchased from the online Apple Store right now, although it doesn’t seem like they’re available for pickup from any of the company’s brick-and-mortar stores just yet.
Like the keyboard that debuted alongside and ships with Apple’s new 24-inch iMac powered by the company’s in-house M1 processor, the standalone version also includes dedicated keys for Spotlight, Dictation, Do Not Disturb, and for quick access to emoji characters in addition to the fingerprint sensor. But unlike the iMac bundled version, the standalone keyboards are only available with a silver and white finish. If you really want a Magic Keyboard with a splash of colour, you’re going to need to spring for a new iMac.
The lack of colour choice isn’t the only restriction with the standalone Touch ID-equipped Magic Keyboards. The added security feature only works with Macs powered by the M1 processor, which in addition to the new iMac also includes the M1 MacBook Air, M1 MacBook Pro, and the M1 Mac Mini. It won’t, however, work with the M1-powered iPad Pro, for those looking for a clever workaround to Face ID.
The keyboard itself will still work fine on an older Intel-powered Mac, including all the shortcut keys, but being able to unlock the machine, or switch user profiles with a fingerprint, is not supported.