Mostly use M1 Air in clamshell mode - worth getting Apple Keyboard for Touch ID?

Been thinking for a while that it would be nice to have Touch ID on my external keyboard.

Has anyone who primarily uses their MacBook docked in clamshell mode with external display, keyboard, and mouse/trackpad switched from an MX Keys to the newer Apple Keyboard that has Touch ID capability? If so, was it worth it? Any issues?

Thinking about selling the MX Keys and switching to the Apple keyboard.


Back in Nov 2020 I switched from a custom built desktop linux system to an M1 Air as my daily driver. Actually, I’m somewhat ashamed to say I literally have not booted up with linux (with windows on a separate partition) PC since then - it’s a beautiful, expensive paperweight sitting next to my desk that I need to get off my butt and sell : (

Soon after getting the M1 Air, I had a 20 year work anniversary and was offered $2k in IT “credit” through the company’s IT vendor. Knowing I was going to stick with the Mac ecosystem for the long term, and that it is one in which you do need to sink some cash into to make it optimal, I used some of the credit to buy an OWC TB3 dock, a Logitech MX Keys, and a Logitech MX Master 3 mouse, among other items. I already have and use a Dell U2718Q display that I like.

The MX Keys is fine, but nothing special to me. The MX Master I do not like - ergonomically it is uncomfortably “tall” and makes my arch my hand.

I can tell you that the TouchID keyboard works fine on the M1 iMac. I haven’t tried it with my 14” MBPro.

I also have the MX keys keyboard. I don’t particularly like the feel. I have and Apple wireless keyboard I will probably do back to.

I would like the new keyboard with TouchID but I haven’t been able to get behind the $199 price tag (I use the numeric keypad enough to get that version). If I see a sale at some point i will probably take advantage of it.

I use the Apple Magic Keyboard w/ Touch ID with my MB Pro connected to a Thunderbolt Display. The keyboard works great and the Touch ID is just as fast on the keyboard as the one built into the MBP itself. I like it quite a bit. I don’t know about whether this is better or worse or cooler or lamer than any other keyboard. It works great, has a nice typing feel for me, and the battery seems to last reasonably long. So, I did not go on any kind of spirit quest for keyboards and ultimately settle on this one. Hope that helps qualify my “review.”

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Do you own an Apple Watch? I’ve settled into confirming Touch ID requests there. It’s not as effortless (side button double-tap instead of just resting the finger on a sensor) but it’s satisfying enough. Might be too annoying if you need to frequently authenticate (e.g. password manager set to ask every time.)


I do, and it rarely actually works. Come to think of it, I had completely forgotten about it until you mentioned it as it hasn’t worked/prompted me for authentication in months. It used to work once in a while, usually after a reboot at first and then stop.

I have my Air connected to an OWC TB3 Dock that is connected to ethernet. That said, the Air is still always connected to the same wifi network as well. So no idea why it doesn’t work, but it doesn’t. I suspect I could get it to work for a short while if I reboot both the Air and the watch at same time but it would just stop working pretty soon after : (

Ah, that’s annoying. Does your unlock with watch also rarely work? I think fast user switching breaks it until reboot(?). Probably some other things, too.

How do you feel about the Apple keyboards in general? Some people like them while others hate them (except everybody hates the butterfly keyboards). I like them and was happy to get the full sized keyboard with Touch ID with my iMac. It has been really convenient. Would I pay for one to get the capability on a different Mac? I’m not sure if was just to replace a keyboard I liked. If I didn’t like the keyboard I was using nc planned to replace it, the increments cost wouldn’t be that bad.

Used to have one, and they’re well-made. But I’m an ergo KB guy now for RSI reasons, so I no longer use them unless I only have my laptop and I have to. :slight_smile:

I have found that after every watchOS update that I have to go into System Preferences and manually re-enable this feature. Bit of a hassle, but it does the job.

Same (minus the RSI). My work gave me a silent-type ergo keyboard and I’ve fallen in love with using it over my Apple wireless keyboard. I use Karabiner Elements to change keys to get my desired Apple functionality.

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Wow - I just checked and sure enough you’re correct - this appears to be the issue (for now). I set it back to allow unlocking with the watch and will remember to do it after each WatchOS update going forward. Thanks!

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I use MX Keys and MX Anywhere 3 with my work windows machine. I use a Magic Keyboard, a Magic Mouse, and a Magic Trackpad with my iMac at home. I infinitely prefer the feel and features of the Magic Keyboard and Magic Mouse. I don’t use Touch ID, but just the typing experience alone would make me switch from MX Keys to a Magic Keyboard. And consider the Magic Mouse. The multi-touch surface is worth it, and I personally prefer the lower profile of it to the MX Anywhere.

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I too have decided to ditch my old Mac in in favour of docking my MacBook Pro M1. It was annoying not having the touchID but after listening to MacSparky recently (sorry can;t remember which PodCast as l listen to all of his) but he said he taped an Apple Keyboard to the underside of his desk so he could use the Touch ID. So this week l splurged and got the Keyboard and it’s great! Still use my nice Razor Keyboard but have the Apple keyboard under the desk and just touch it when l need to.!
I hope that in the future Apple may bring out just the TouchID key like Microsoft (from way back in the day) used to have their Fingerprint reader.

I so want one of these:

If there is anyone from Apple who frequents this forum, make this happen!

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