Magic Keyboard, Magic Mouse 2, and Magic Trackpad 2 FAQ: Everything you need to know

Apple's new 21.5 inch Retina 4K iMac and 27-inch Retina 5K iMac come with new accessories. Magic accessories. The Magic Keyboard, Magic Mouse 2, and optional Magic Trackpad 2 to be specific. And yes, the Magic Trackpad 2 has Force Touch! Here's everything you need to know about Apple's new accessories.

What makes these magic accessories so new?

The Magic Keyboard, Magic Mouse 2, and Magic Trackpad 2 have been redesigned: They're now slimmer, sleeker, and more comfortable to use than ever.

They're also now fully rechargeable, with built-in lithium-ion batteries, so say goodbye to having to swap disposable AA cells.

How do they recharge?

A Lightning cable! Just like the iPhone, iPad, and new Apple TV controller, the company's new Magic accessories all come with a Lightning-to-USB cable. Plug the Lightning end into the Magic accessory and the USB end into your Mac or an optional USB adapter, and charge away.

How often do I have to charge them? What's the battery life like?

Apple says the new Magic Keyboard, Magic Mouse 2, and Magic Trackpad 2 should last you about a month or more on a single charge.

They're still wireless and use Bluetooth, though, right?

Yes, the Magic Keyboard and Magic Mouse 2 work over Bluetooth on any Bluetooth-capable Mac running OS X 10.11 El Capitan or later. The Magic Trackpad 2 works over Bluetooth on any Bluetooth 4.0-capable Mac running OS X 10.11 El Capitan or later.

They'll come pre-paired with any new Mac that includes them; if bought separately, the accessories pair instantly when you plug the Lightning cable in to your Mac for the first time.

Okay, tell me about the Magic Keyboard?

The new Magic Keyboard isn't just a new version of the old Apple Wireless Keyboard: It's a complete redesign that takes up 13 percent less space.

The Magic Keyboard is still full sized, along with full-sized function keys, and uses a new scissor mechanism that provides 33% more key stability.

The keyboard now sports a new, lower profile, and is built like a solid wedge. Apple says it's been engineered for comfort and precision, and the Lightning port is located on the rear edge—so even when you have to recharge, you never have to stop typing.

What about the Magic Mouse 2?

The new Magic Mouse 2 is lighter and sturdier than the original. It also has newly redesigned feet for a smoother, more precise glide. It doesn't offer Force Touch, but remains multitouch, so you can swipe with one or multiple fingers, click, or double-click.

The Lightning plug is on the bottom, but 2 minutes of charging will give you a typical 9 hour day of use, so you can quickly top up if you have to and then finish charging when you're done for the day.

Okay, I'm ready. Hit me with the Magic Trackpad 2!

Right?! Physically, the Magic Trackpad 2 still has a glass surface, but it's now 29 percent larger, and sports the same lower profile as the new Magic Keyboard. They pair exceptionally well together.

Internally, the new Magic Trackpad 2 is like the Force Touch trackpads that ship in the MacBook and MacBooks Pro. There are four force sensors in the trackpad that detect how hard you push and where, along with a Taptic Engine that provides tactile, haptic feedback—including the simulation of a click and deeper force click.

You've got all the multitouch gestures you expect, including tap, swipe, pinch, for single and multiple fingers. But you've now got the multidimensional Force Touch interactions as well.

What can I do with Force Touch on the Magic Trackpad 2?

Same kinds of things you can do with it on the MacBook or MacBooks Pro:

  • Force Click on a Dock icon to Expose the app's windows, a file icon to Quick Look it, or a file name to edit it.
  • Force Click on a word to look it up in Dictionary or Wikipedia, an address to get a Maps preview, or a location to drop a pin.
  • Force Click on a date to add it to Calendar, an event to see details, and an invitee to preview their contact card.
  • Force Click on a link to preview a website, an image or PDF to invoke Markup, or an iMessage conversation to see details.
  • Force Press in QuickTime to fast forward and rewind quicker.
  • Force Press in Maps to Zoom.

And a variety of apps will provide haptic feedback when you slide or rotate to certain points as well.

What does this Magic cost and when and where can I get some?

The new iMacs ship with the new Magic Keyboard and Magic Mouse 2, and the Magic Trackpad 2 can be substituted instead (you simply pay the $50 difference). You can also buy them separately through, Apple Retail, or authorized resellers.

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.