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Upgrading to the new 12.9-inch iPad Pro? You'll need a new Magic Keyboard as well.

Apple Ipad Pro Spring21 Ipad Pro Magic Keyboard 2up
Apple Ipad Pro Spring21 Ipad Pro Magic Keyboard 2up (Image credit: Apple)

What you need to know

  • Apple's refreshed 12.9-inch iPad Pro is slightly thicker than the previous model.
  • Apple's original iPad Pro Magic Keyboard won't work with the new tablet.

Apple refreshed the iPad Pro this week, bringing Mini-LED screen technology to the 12.9-inch model. That has tons of benefits, but one drawback appears to be that the new version is 0.5mm thicker than the outgoing one. And that's enough to need a new Magic Keyboard, too.

Anyone with an existing 12.9-inch iPad Pro and matching Magic Keyboard will need to buy a new one if they upgrade their tablet, as the folk at iGeneration spotted.

From iGeneration:

While the 2021 12.9-inch iPad Pro is broadly similar to the 2018 and 2020 models, the new tablet stands out on one point: it's thicker, at precisely 0.5mm. It might not sound like much, but it's enough for Apple to adjust its Magic Keyboard, the iPad Pro's dedicated trackpad keyboard. And according to the documentation provided to the Apple Stores that we have been able to consult, the old Magic Keyboard is not compatible with the large iPad Pros of 2021.

Notably, the new generation of Magic Keyboard will work with the older iPad. So there's that, at least.

None of this applies to the 11-inch iPad Pro, though. It didn't get the new screen technology and didn't gain any extra girth as a result. You might still want to upgrade your tablet though – the new model comes with Apple silicon inside for the very first time.

The iPad Pro's Magic Keyboard is arguably the best keyboard case for iPad Pro to date. There's no reason why the new, updated model would be any different in that regard.

Oliver Haslam
Contributor

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.

3 Comments
  • Not really, been using the iPad since day 1 and not a single iPad Keyboard has made it past the return window. I have been able to type essays on the on-screen keyboard just fine. The only good plus this keyboard would serve me is the extra USB-C port. again, not everyone needs a Keyboard and don't understand why so many tech bloggers and Youtubers insist that it is needed when clearly the tablet was designed with touch in mind, not external outputs. People need to stop treating the iPad Pro like its the Surface Pro, which does in fact require a keyboard to actually get anything productive done.
  • “ You might still want to upgrade your tablet though – the new model comes with Apple silicon inside for the very first time.” Um, haven’t iPads had Apple silicon for quit a while?
  • Pretty cynical move by Apple. Apple customers are not very price sensitive so this is extra $350 on top of so many ipad sales.