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How to use an Apple Magic Keyboard with a Mac and Windows PC at the same time

I have a MacBook Pro that I use for most things, and a desktop Windows PC I mostly use casually to play games. I like the Apple Magic Keyboard enough that I’ve figured out a way to use it with both of my computers at once. It’s a bit of a silly hack — but it requires no additional accessories and just works — here’s how.

Unlike most modern wireless keyboard and mice, the Magic Keyboard does not have a built-in feature to let you pair to multiple machines. See for instance the Logitech MX Keys, which can connect over Bluetooth to up to 3 devices simultaneously and allows you to switch between them with a keystroke.

But I like the layout and tactility of the Apple keyboard enough that I wanted to keep using it. The integrated Touch ID sensor for unlock is also a convenience I didn’t want to give up, if I could help it. Luckily, I found a dumb hack to let me do just that.

So here’s what I do: I connect the MacBook to the keyboard wirelessly over Bluetooth … and I have the wired Lightning to USB connection permanently plugged into the Windows PC.

When the Windows PC is switched off, as it is most of the time, the keyboard defaults to Bluetooth and seamlessly pairs itself to the MacBook. When I boot up the Windows PC, the wired connection takes priority and all keyboard input is then directed at the PC.

If I want to toggle typing back to the Mac, I flick the power switch on the keyboard itself and it reverts to wirelessly talking to the Mac. The Touch ID sensor also works to unlock the Mac as long as the wireless connection is active.

It’s not exactly what I would call elegant, but it does work so I’ve rolled with it for a couple years now. A fancier solution to this problem would likely involve plugging the keyboard into a KVM switch of some sort. But sometimes, the simple solution is enough.

I also continue to await the next-generation Apple Magic Keyboard, which will undoubtedly add a USB-C port and possibly new multi-device pairing features to bring it up to feature parity with every other wireless keyboard out on the market today.

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Avatar for Benjamin Mayo Benjamin Mayo

Benjamin develops iOS apps professionally and covers Apple news and rumors for 9to5Mac. Listen to Benjamin, every week, on the Happy Hour podcast. Check out his personal blog. Message Benjamin over email or Twitter.