The fatal flaw in Apple’s Magic keyboard and mouse

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Date: Tuesday, March 21st, 2017, 05:25
Category: Bluetooth, Hardware, News, Peripheral
Apple's Magic keyboard and mouse don't support multiple Macs.

Apple’s Magic keyboard and mouse don’t support multiple Macs.

Like many of you, I have a home office setup with a monitor, speakers keyboard and mouse. When I need to get some work done, I plug my MacBook into power, monitor, speakers and I’m off the races. I prefer wireless peripherals because it’s two less cables to plug in.

The problem is that Apple’s latest keyboard (MLA22LL/A) and mouse (MLA02LL/A) took a huge step backwards in functionality because they don’t support multiple Macs. That’s right, you can’t switch between Macs without have to re-pair Apple’s “Magic” peripherals – every time. This defeats the purpose of having wireless peripherals!

I’ve used every incarnation of the Apple’s Bluetooth keyboard and mouse and every one remembered it’s previous pairing and easily switched from Mac A to Mac B without issue. But not Apple’s 2016 “Magic” keyboard and “Magic” Mouse 2. I know this because it grinds my gears every time I switch between Macs in my home office.


Two MacBooks (A and B) that you wish to use with an external monitor, keyboard and mouse.

Connect Mac A to the “Magic” keyboard and mouse, work for a while, close Mac A, put it away. Then connect Mac B (which has been paired to them previously) and it won’t see the keyboard and mouse. To use Mac B with the “Magic” keyboard and mouse, you need to plug a USB to lightning cable into Mac B, connect it to the keyboard, wait for it to pair, connect it to the mouse, and wait for it to pair.

If you disconnect and put away Mac B and switch to Mac A (which has been paired to them previously), you must repeat the process with the lightning cable. Every time. Switch back to Mac B, and, you guessed it, you must re-connect with the stupid cable.

Apple’s “Magic” keyboard and mouse can’t remember multiple Macs – they will only automatically connect to one Mac – which is insane. Apple’s previous wireless keyboard and mouse worked flawlessly with multiple Macs (after the initial pairing).

To be clear: I’m not trying to connect the keyboard and mouse to multiple Macs at the same time. The example is close Mac A, disconnect it, open Mac B, connect it. Try it some time. It doesn’t work.

The problem is well documented on Apple’s discussion forums, but Apple hasn’t acknowledged, let alone fixed the issue. I guess that Apple’s peripherals are only designed to be used with one Mac. As you can imagine, this is a nightmare if you share a desktop setup with multiple Macs, like with a roommate or significant other.

Does Apple expects us to buy separate keyboards and mice for every Mac we own? That’s insane. Apple downgraded the functionality of their newer peripherals.

Don’t get me started on the fact that it didn’t add backlighting to the Magic keyboard or that it put the charging port on the bottom of the Magic Mouse 2 so that you can’t use it while it’s charging. Who does that?!

Don’t buy Apple’s Magic keyboard or mouse if you plan to use them with more than one Mac, or do like I do and keep a lightning cable permanently installed on your desk and get used to using it. (I haven’t tested the Magic trackpad, but I suspect that it works the same way.)

What year is it?

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