I’ve been using the iPad Pro for over a week now – you can read my review here – and one of the first things I did was find out whether the Magic Keyboard from last year would suit this year’s iPad Pro.
As you may know, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro is the only one in question because it is thicker than last year. The smaller 11-inch iPad Pro has identical dimensions, so if you have last year’s Magic Keyboard, it will fit the new iPad Pro perfectly. You don’t need to buy a new one.
But the larger tablet is 0.5mm thicker. An extra so thin you can’t tell the difference. But the Magic Keyboard can, Apple cautions.
The company has made it clear that the new tablet will work on the old keyboard. All the connectors are in the same place, so there is no problem there.
But the problem can arise when you try to close the Magic Keyboard around the iPad Pro.
These are the tolerances at which Apple operates, the extra 0.5mm could make a difference, especially, Apple pointed out, if the iPad is equipped with a screen protector.
As a reminder, does anyone put a screen protector on an iPad? The joy of the display, especially the latest 12.9-inch iPad Pro with its stunning miniLED display, is seeing it in the greatest possible clarity, and no screen protector is completely transparent.
Anyway, back to the tolerances.
There is some leeway in these things: The 11-inch iPad Pro and the latest iPad Air have different thicknesses and both are suitable for the 11-inch Magic Keyboard. But the difference is only 0.2mm.
So, I patiently tried to match the tablets and keyboards so that I could give the definitive answer.
The images below show the 2021 iPad Pro – this is easily spotted as the 2020 model had smaller holes in the audio grilles and there were more of these small holes than on the last tablet.
Above is the Magic Keyboard 2020 folio in space gray and below is the new version in its crisp white finish.
I can confirm that the fit is perfect and effortless. There is no discomfort when closing it or extra effort required. Of course, I don’t have a screen protector on the iPad.
I also tried the iPad Pro 2020 in the Magic Keyboard 2021. Again, a perfect fit, although there is a small but noticeable gap at the closed end of the folio. Proof, if any, that the new Magic Keyboard is built with extra space to better accommodate the thicker iPad Pro.
Conclusion 1: Unless you have a screen protector on your 12.9 inch iPad, you don’t need to splash around for the new Magic Keyboard.
Conclusion 2: Unless you want the gorgeous new white keyboard.