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Touch ID without the Magic Keyboard? Yup, it’s possible

Touch ID now comes built into the standard Mac Magic Keyboard, but for those that use third-party keyboards, you’re out of luck. In lieu of Apple selling a stand-alone Touch ID button, a developer who goes by the name Khaos Tian recently shared his mod work on Twitter that resolves this problem.

The developer removed the Touch ID components from an actual Magic Keyboard and concocted a miniature accessory that gives you secured logins and payments you need without it taking up your whole desk.

Standalone Touch ID button 😆 Pulled out the parts from Magic Keyboard and it worked nicely.

— Khaos Tian (@KhaosT) April 6, 2022

His image shows a rudimentary setup, plugged into a hub via a USB-C to USB-C cord, but he reported that the rig works well.

Khaos Tian’s project comes not long after The Basic Apple Guy shared his April Fools’ Day joke of a “Magic Button,” of a similar concept.

9to5Mac noted that Touch ID on the Magic Keyboard is a popular feature for many Mac users; however, the peripheral isn’t without its issues, specifically with security. Typically, Touch ID sensors have a built-in Secure Enclave feature; however, with the Magic Keyboard with Touch ID, the feature is built-in to the Mac itself. The keyboards feature a “hardware Public Key Accelerator (PKA) block,” the publication notes, which communicates between the Secure Enclave and Touch ID.

The "Magic Button," a fake Apple product created as an April Fools' joke.
An April Fools joke created by The Basic Apple Guy. Image used with permission by copyright holder

Overall, this has made consumers trust the keyboard less as an overall accessory, but they don’t mind it as an authentication tool. Some users have been known to keep a Magic Keyboard at their station so they can use Touch ID while using a third-party Keyboard as their primary keyboard.

Touch ID was first introduced to MacBook Pro in 2016, while the first stand-alone Magic Keyboard with Touch ID came out last year alongside the 24-inch iMac.

Apple has the opportunity to take consumer feedback and improve the security features on its keyboard and computers. Still, this concept mulling in the wild might be of interest to the brand. The Basic Apple Guy priced his own “Magic Button” at $49, which seems on par for Apple in real life.

Fionna Agomuoh
Fionna Agomuoh is a technology journalist with over a decade of experience writing about various consumer electronics topics…
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