The Touch ID sensor in Apple’s new Magic Keyboard, which debuted earlier this week along with the updated iMac, works with any Mac equipped with Apple’s M1 processor. Rene Ritchie and MacRumors report. The downside is that for now, the keyboard will only be sold with the new M1-equipped iMac, which can be pre-ordered starting April 30.
Apple has been supplying MacBooks with Touch ID built-in for a while now, but this is the first time it has been available in an accessory. The biometric security method can be used to log in to the device, as well as to authorize purchases, and to log in to some third-party apps. The new Touch ID keyboard is available with a compact layout, as well as a full-size keyboard with a number pad.
You can only buy them with the M1 Mac (for now?) But you can use them (with Touch ID!) On other M1 Macs, or just as BT keyboards (no Touch ID) on Intel Macs / other devices. https://t.co/mOOp5mbmg2
– Rene Ritchie (@reneritchie) April 20, 2021
The bad news for owners of older Macs is that the Touch ID functionality in the new keyboard will not work with Intel-based machines. The keyboard itself will reportedly function, just not the biometric security. As Apple’s press release explains, the new keyboard requires the Secure Enclave in the M1 processor to encrypt the transmitted fingerprint information end-to-end.
While the Touch ID keyboard is currently only available with the new all-in-one, MacRumors notes that Apple has previously opened up exclusive accessories for general sale. For example, it started selling the gray keyboard, mouse, and trackpad for everyone to buy in 2018, having previously been limited to the iMac Pro in 2017.