Alongside the 24in iMac Apple introduced a new keyboard: the Magic Keyboard with Touch ID. Touch ID is a feature that's been available on Apple's laptops for a few years, but it's the first time that it has been possible to log in using Touch ID on an external Apple keyboard.

The Magic Keyboard with Touch ID will make logging into your Mac easier, and you will also be able to use your fingerprint to confirm purchases thanks to the Secure Enclave security function of the M1 chip.

Another bonus: if more than one person uses the iMac this won't be a problem - it is possible to switch users quickly via their fingerprints.

The new keyboard is also available in the same seven colours as the new iMacs. If you buy the  24in iMac you will get keyboard that matches the colour of the iMac you have ordered, as well as a matching mouse. It is not possible to mix and match.

How to buy the new Touch ID Magic Keyboard

Currently the new Apple keyboard with Touch ID is only available with the 24in iMac - but not all the new iMacs ship with the Touch ID keyboard.

There are three configurations of 24in iMac to choose from: an entry-level £1,249/$1,299 model, a £1,449/$1,499 model and a £1,649/$1,699 model. Those two higher-priced 24in iMacs ship with the Touch ID Magic Keyboard but the entry-level model doesn't.

You can however switch to the Touch ID keyboard when you buy the entry-level 24in iMac, although Apple doesn't make it particularly obvious. Here's what to do:

  1. Start of at Apple's webstore.
  2. Select the iMac you want.
  3. Scroll down to the keyboard section.
  4. Click on Change to another keyboard.
  5. Here you can switch to the Touch ID equipped keyboard for an extra £50/$50 if it doesn't ship as standard with your Mac. You can also get the numerical keyboard for an extra £80/$80.

Neither is it possible to buy the new keyboards separately, at least not currently, although this may eventually change (we imagine there will be a market for these keyboards to be used with an iPad Air).

iMac and keyboard

How much does the new Touch ID Magic Keyboard cost

We've already answered this question above, but it requires a little more clarification.

If you are updating the entry-level 24in iMac to include the Touch ID keyboard then you will need to pay an additional £50/$50 (follow the steps above). 

You may be wondering if you can buy the new Magic Keyboards with Touch ID without having to buy a 24in iMac. If that's why you are here the news right now will disappoint you: Apple does not currently sell the new Magic Keyboards with Touch ID separately. 

However, we do think that it might eventually start selling them and when it does we anticipate that the price may be comparable to the current Magic Keyboard which retail at £99/$99.

Wil the Touch ID keyboard work with other Macs?

The Touch ID function is compatible with all M1 Macs - including the Mac mini and the new MacBooks.

On other Macs or Windows PCs, you can use the keyboard as a conventional Bluetooth keyboard but the Touch ID key will not function for Touch ID. The same is likely to also apply to iOS devices.

Magic Keyboard with Touch ID colours

The entry-level 24in iMac comes in fewer colour options and therefore so do the accompanying keyboards. You have the choice of blue, green, pink and silver. It doesn't appear to be possible to choose an alternative keyboard colour (and we're not sure why anyone would want to).

The other 24in iMacs include the additional options of yellow, orange and purple.

The keyboard is charged with a colour-coordinated USB-C to Lightning cable that can also be used to charge the mouse.

Keyboard functions besides Touch ID

Apple has changed the key labelling and assignment a little - changes that also apply to the new version of the Magic Keyboard without Touch ID.

  • The new keyboard no longer features an eject button (to be honest we are surprised it still featured); in its place is the new Touch ID button.
  • The functions of the F5 and F6 keys are also new; they now start the microphone and activate the idle state.
  • The bottom left key (fn) is now the Emoji key.

Magic Keyboard with Touch ID dimensions

The new keyboard weighs 241g without the numeric keypad and is 279 x 114 x 11mm (W/H/D).

With the numeric keypad included it weighs 367g and has the dimensions 419 x 115 x 10 mm. This is according to data published by the FCC.

This article originally appeared on Macwelt. Translation by Karen Haslam.