iPad, keyboard, and pencil

The Best iPad Pro Keyboards of 2023

By Austin Meadows AccessoriesNo Comments

The iPad Pro is a powerful device, and it’s becoming more versatile with every new generation. The latest model now has the same Apple M2 chip that you’ll find inside a MacBook Pro, a stunning display, and even the option of 5G cell service.

The line between the iPad Pro and MacBook is getting blurrier all the time, but there’s still one obvious and fundamental difference: the lack of a keyboard. Typing on the screen is fine in short bursts, but not when you’re using your tablet for any kind of serious word-based work.

It’s not difficult to add a proper keyboard into the mix: there are dozens on the market, made by both Apple and several third-party manufacturers. The harder part is figuring out which one is going to best meet your needs, especially since some of them are far from cheap, and many of them are far from good.

Some double as kickstands and protective cases, some include a trackpad, and others simply provide an easier, faster way of typing on your tablet. In coming up with our recommendations, we considered objective measures like features and price, but also more subjective aspects: how well do those features work, and who are they actually useful for?

Whatever your requirements, chances are there’s an iPad Pro keyboard out there with your name on it.

Sale
Best iPad Pro Keyboard: Apple Magic Keyboard
  • Size: 10.2 x 8.0 x 0.9 inches
  • Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Trackpad? Yes
  • Battery: n/a (draws power from iPad)
  • Connection: Smart Connector

Sale
Best Bluetooth Keyboard for iPad Pro: Logitech K380
  • Size: 10.9 x 4.9 x 0.6 inches
  • Weight: 14.9 ounces
  • Trackpad? No
  • Battery: 2x AAA batteries, up to two years
  • Connection: Bluetooth

Sale
Best Folio Keyboard Case for iPad Pro: Apple Smart Keyboard Folio
  • Size: ‎11.5 x 8.9 x 0.9 inches
  • Weight: 0.9 pounds
  • Trackpad? No
  • Battery: n/a (draws power from iPad)
  • Connection: Smart Connector

Sale
Runner-Up, Best Folio Keyboard Case for iPad Pro: Zagg Pro Keys
  • Size: 11.3 x 9.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Weight: 1 pound
  • Trackpad? No
  • Battery: rechargeable, up to a year
  • Connection: Bluetooth

Best Cheap Keyboard Case for iPad Pro: YEKBEE Flexbook
  • Size: ‎9.6 x 7.5 x 0.5 inches
  • Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Trackpad? No
  • Battery: rechargeable, 1-2 weeks
  • Connection: Bluetooth

Best iPad Pro Keyboard Case with Trackpad: Logitech Combo Touch
  • Size: ‎9.9 x 0.7 x 7.5 inches
  • Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Trackpad? Yes
  • Battery: n/a (draws power from iPad)
  • Connection: Smart Connector

What to Look For

Trackpad

While the iPad Pro has a touchscreen, it’s not ideal for precise movements. If you’re using your tablet for work, a trackpad or other pointing device can make a big difference to how productive you’ll be.

A good trackpad should be smooth and responsive, with enough surface area to give you plenty of room to move around. Apple’s Magic Keyboard includes a large glass trackpad that supports gesture controls like swiping and pinching, for instance, while third-party keyboards often use smaller plastic or silicone pads that are more basic but still get the job done. 

Some keyboards don’t have trackpads, meaning you’ll have to connect a separate mouse or other pointing device. These keyboards tend to be smaller and more portable, however, making them a good option for travel.

Function Keys

A good iPad Pro keyboard has function keys dedicated to specific tasks. These keys can adjust the volume, control media playback, launch apps, and more, all with a single button press.

Many keyboards also have dedicated Home and Lock buttons, and shortcut keys for taking screenshots and switching between apps. While you can also access these functions through the touchscreen, having dedicated buttons on your keyboard makes using them easier and faster.

Typing Experience

Speaking of typing experience, if you’re going to be bashing out thousands of words a day, the comfort and ergonomics of your keyboard make a big difference. Well-spaced keys make it easy to type quickly and accurately; small keys with minimal gap between them are frustrating for most touch typists.

Most iPad Pro keyboards use scissor switches, a common keyboard technology with only a small amount of key travel (the distance between where a key sits at rest and where it stops when you press it). These types of keys are relatively quiet, while still providing a satisfying click when you press down on them.

Make sure your keyboard has enough travel that you can type quickly without feeling like you’re hammering away at the keys, and keep an eye out for backlit models that will help you see what you’re typing in low-light conditions.

Compatibility

Before you buy, double-check that any keyboard you’re considering is compatible with your particular iPad Pro model. Apple’s keyboards are always updated for the latest model, but some third-party manufacturers still sell keyboards designed to fit older versions.

Size and Weight

Portability is one of the main reasons to carry around an iPad Pro, so it only makes sense to confirm how portable the keyboard is as well. Several sizes are available, from full-size keyboards designed to be used on a desk to ultra-thin models that fit into a bag and can be taken anywhere.

If you plan to use your keyboard regularly while out and about, the size and weight become far more important. You don’t want something bulky or heavy, as it quickly becomes a nuisance when traveling for any length of time. 

Also consider how it also feels when placed on your lap. A laptop-style keyboard with a built-in stand for your iPad Pro can be more comfortable than without, and some models come with adjustable stands that allow you to get the screen angle just right (more on that later).

Some keyboards are designed to work on flat surfaces only. That’s fine if you’ll only ever be using them on a desk or table, but if you want a lap-friendly keyboard that you can use in a wider range of situations, avoid these types.

Case

When choosing an iPad Pro keyboard, don’t neglect the case that comes with it. Many keyboards have a built-in protective case that help protect your device from scratches and other damage.

The better cases are made of rugged materials like polycarbonate or silicone and offer decent protection for your iPad Pro without adding too much bulk or weight. Look for features like raised edges and a magnetic clasp for the front cover to protect the screen and ports when you’re on the go.

If you use an Apple Pencil, also ensure the case has a loop or some other way of securing it, so you don’t have to worry about misplacing it.

Viewing Angles

Many keyboards are built into cases that let you adjust the viewing angle. This is useful if you’ll be using your iPad Pro for multiple purposes: you can have a more upright position when typing, for example, and a shallower angle for drawing.

Look for a keyboard case with adjustable angles, either firm hinges that let you freely move the screen and then hold it securely in that position, or a stand-style approach with several different fixed positions to choose from. 

Detachability

Attaching and detaching the keyboard should be a straightforward process, ideally something you can do with one hand. If the keyboard has a hinge, ensure it’s sturdy and reliable; a loose hinge means the tablet will wobble around as you type and/or slowly slide out of place over time.

Most third-party keyboards offer some kind of detachable feature, commonly hinges or clips. Others, like the Apple Smart Keyboard Folio, use a magnetic connector. Regardless of the mechanism used, it should make it easy to dock and undock the keyboard from the iPad in a secure and reliable manner.

Battery Life

Battery life is an essential factor with pretty much any computer accessory, and iPad Pro keyboards are no exception.

Wireless versions usually have batteries that last several weeks or even months, depending on how often you use them. Others draw power directly from the tablet so you don’t have to worry about charging them, albeit with the downside of draining the iPad Pro’s battery a little faster instead.

Whichever version you go for, look for an auto-sleep feature of some description that will help conserve battery life when they keyboard isn’t being used.

Cost

Like many things in life, you’ll find a wide range of options when it comes to the cost of iPad Pro keyboards. Some are pretty affordable, while others can cost hundreds of dollars. In general, there’s a pretty clear line between that price and the features and construction quality on offer.

That said, a particular keyboard being cheap and cheerful doesn’t make it inappropriate for everyone. Some budget models are perfectly fine if all you need is something better than the onscreen keyboard. If you’re after a keyboard with backlit keys, a great trackpad, or better ergonomics, however, expect to pay (quite a bit) more.


Best iPad Pro Keyboard: Apple Magic Keyboard

Apple Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro 11-inch (4th, 3rd, 2nd and 1st Generation) and iPad Air (5th and 4th Generation) - US English- White

The Magic Keyboard is Apple’s most recent attempt at an iPad keyboard, and by far the company’s best. Available for both the 11-inch and recent 12.9-inch models of the iPad Pro, it also works with newer versions of the iPad Air.

Specifically engineered for the iPad, the keyboard has a highly-responsive “click-anywhere” touchpad that’s compatible with all iPadOS multi-finger gestures and other controls. The pad feels a lot like the one on a MacBook, which is no faint praise: that quality really helps set the Magic Keyboard apart from the competition. 

The trackpad is exceptional, and the keyboard is equally impressive. The low-travel scissor-switch keys and plastic caps feel very familiar for users of recent MacBooks, and provide a comfortable and satisfying experience even at high typing speeds.

The backlit keys have adjustable brightness levels, which is always a nice touch when you’re typing in a darkened room, and the only real difference is the omission of the Escape and function keys from the top row to save space. 

The Magic Keyboard attaches magnetically to the iPad, and provides a surprisingly sturdy connection. It keeps the iPad “floating” above the keyboard, at an angle that can be adjusted between roughly 90 and125 degrees. This design works well on most surfaces, including your lap; that’s not something that can be said about many iPad keyboards. 

Of course, there’s a downside to this model, and it’s one that will be familiar for Apple fans: price. The larger version of this keyboard costs about as much as an entry-level iPad, which seems excessive. Nonetheless, this is without a doubt the best iPad Pro keyboard on the market — if you don’t mind paying for it.

Pros
  • Glass trackpad with excellent tracking
  • Premium construction and feel
  • Supports the latest iPad OS features
  • Magnetic mount with full adjustability
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Passthrough USB C charging
Cons
  • Expensive
  • No escape or function keys
Buy on Amazon

Best Bluetooth Keyboard for iPad Pro: Logitech K380

Logitech K380 Multi-Device Bluetooth Keyboard – Windows, Mac, Chrome OS, Android, iPad, iPhone, Apple TV Compatible – with Flow Cross-Computer Control and Easy-Switch up to 3 Devices – Dark Grey

Most keyboards on this list plug directly into the tablet itself, and essentially double as an iPad case. The Logitech K380, on the other hand, is a simple standalone keyboard that connects via Bluetooth. 

The benefits to using a keyboard like this are substantial. For one, it’s much cheaper, at about 10% of the price of the Magic Keyboard above. It’s also more versatile, as the K380 is compatible with almost any Bluetooth-enabled device, including your computer, smartphone, Apple TV, etc. 

The K380 is an extremely popular Bluetooth keyboard (we reviewed it in detail here), and for good reason. Compact and lightweight, it sports a battery life of up to two years, although this will obviously depend on how much you use it.

Able to remember up to three Bluetooth device pairings at once, it can quickly switch between them at the push of a button. It also intelligently adapts to the device it’s connected to, enabling OS-specific features to work well whether you’re connected to an Android smartphone, Windows laptop, or indeed, an iPad Pro. 

The downsides to this keyboard are twofold: for ultra-fast typers, some dropped keystrokes are possible, and since it doesn’t physically connect to your iPad, you’ll also need an iPad stand or a case with a kickstand to prop the tablet up in a comfortable position. That also means that this setup only works on a desk or table: it’s not great for actual lap-based use.

If the lack of stand is a dealbreaker, take a look at Logitech’s “big brother” K780 model instead. It’s a full-size keyboard, with all of the positives and negatives that entails, but more importantly, it has a grippy built-in stand that fits all models of iPad Pro.

Pros
  • Works with a ride range of devices
  • Budget-friendly
  • Remembers and easily switches between up to three devices at once
  • Battery life of up to two years
Cons
  • Very fast typists may experience dropped keystrokes
  • Requires a separate stand or kickstand case to prop iPad up
Buy on Amazon

Best Folio Keyboard Case for iPad Pro: Apple Smart Keyboard Folio

Apple Smart Keyboard Folio for iPad Pro 11-inch (4th, 3rd and 2nd Generation) and iPad Air (5th and 4th Generation) - US English

If you want a keyboard/case combo but don’t want to pay the high price for a Magic Keyboard, the Apple Smart Keyboard Folio is a great alternative. It’s available for all generations of the 11-inch version, and third-generation versions onward of the 12.9-inch model.

Like the Magic Keyboard, this model is specifically designed for iPad and built by Apple. Unlike the Magic Keyboard, it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. It also mounts the iPad via a secure magnet, and draws power from the iPad to keep itself running. 

The most substantial difference between this and the Magic Keyboard is that the Smart Keyboard Folio doesn’t include a trackpad: it’s a keyboard, and a keyboard only. This means that you’ll need an external mouse to have a more laptop-like experience, or you can tap the iPad screen if you prefer. 

This model is also slightly thicker than the Magic Keyboard, so it provides a bit more protection for the iPad itself. It’s not exactly rugged, but it is at least more substantial than the ultra-thin Magic Keyboard.

The lack of trackpad is the biggest downside here, along with the missing media and function keys. If you’re fine with those omissions and just want a stylish and lightweight folio keyboard case for your iPad Pro, Apple’s offering will suit you down to the ground.

Pros
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Doubles as a protective case
  • No charging required
  • Magnet provides secure mount
Cons
  • No trackpad
  • No media/function keys
  • Expensive
Buy on Amazon

Runner-Up, Best Folio Keyboard Case for iPad Pro: Zagg Pro Keys

ZAGG Detachable Case and Wireless Keyboard for Apple iPad Pro 12.9, Multi-Device Bluetooth Pairing, Backlit Laptop-Style Keys, Apple Pencil Holder, 6.6ft Drop Protection (Charcoal)

If you like the idea of Apple’s Smart Keyboard folio case, but ether don’t love the price or have an older model of iPad Pro, Zagg’s Pro Keys version is a worthy alternative.

Available for all sizes of iPad Pro, the Pro Keys uses its own internal battery for power rather than the iPad’s Smart Connector. This means there’s one more thing to charge, but it uses the same USB C socket as the iPad Pro itself, and you’ll likely get several months between charges if you don’t use the backlight.

Unusually for a folio like this, you can remove the keyboard section entirely when you don’t need it, simply lifting the tablet and case away from the magnetized rear flap. The back and sides of the iPad Pro remain covered when you do this, with the front lip reducing the risk of screen damage from most face-down falls as well.

The typing experience is quiet and reliable, although as with many such cases, the smaller keys (and reduced gap between them) does require some getting used to. I always make more typos in the first few days of using a compact keyboard like this than I ever do afterward: it’s just a learning process for my fingers.

While the Pro Keys is clearly intended to be used mostly with iPads, it’s one of the (very) few such cases that can pair with two devices at once, and switch between them at the press of a button. They don’t even have to be Apple-branded: almost any Bluetooth device that can handle keyboard input will work.

Throw in a slot at the top to store an Apple Pencil if you own one, and you’ve got a versatile and well-constructed iPad Pro folio keyboard case at a price that’s typically a lot lower than our top pick in this category.

Pros
  • Reasonably priced
  • Well-made
  • Can remove keyboard section when not needed
  • Can pair with two devices at once
  • Good battery life
Cons
  • Smaller key size and gap takes some getting used to
Buy on Amazon

Best Cheap Keyboard Case for iPad Pro: YEKBEE Flexbook

iPad Keyboard Case for iPad 2018 (6th Gen) - iPad 2017 (5th Gen) - iPad Pro 9.7 - iPad Air 2 & 1 - Thin & Light - 360 Rotatable - Wireless/BT - Backlit 10 Color - iPad Case with Keyboard (Black)

If you have one of the smaller iPad Pro models and don’t want to spend a lot on a keyboard case, the YEKBEE Flexbook is our current budget pick. It’s available in 9.7-inch and 10.2 or 10.5-inch versions, each of which comes in a range of colors.

It’s thin and lightweight, but still provides decent protection and is compatible with most other iPads as well. It’s a relatively simple Bluetooth keyboard case, but is priced accordingly, and is the best option if you’re on a tighter budget and don’t want a standalone keyboard like the K380 mentioned above.

The case is available in a wider range of colors than much of the competition, and the keys have a bright, if not particularly subtle, 10-color backlighting system. You can change the intensity and color with a simple button press, or turn the lights off entirely if you find them distracting.

As with the Logitech Combo Touch mentioned below, one thing we particularly appreciated with the Yekbee case was the full row of media keys along the top. Some people will get more use out of them than others, but they’re a useful feature for almost anyone.

Like the Zagg Pro Keys, the Yekbee uses its own rechargeable battery rather than pulling power from the iPad itself. This could be an advantage or a disadvantage, depending on how you look at it.

On one hand, it means that it won’t affect your iPad’s battery life, but on the other, it’s yet another device to keep charged. Since the battery doesn’t last all that long, we’d lean more towards considering this a downside. It does ship with a charging cable, at least, so you don’t have to hunt one out for yourself.

If you can handle needing to charge it every week or two, this is a solid keyboard case for smaller iPad Pros at a very competitive price. The company makes touchpad-enabled versions for larger iPads as well; they’re fairly priced, but the touchpads are small, basic, and not the most reliable we’ve used.

Pros
  • Thin and lightweight
  • RGB backlighting
  • Budget-friendly
  • Full row of media/function keys
Cons
  • Mediocre battery life
  • No trackpad
Buy on Amazon

Best iPad Pro Keyboard Case with Trackpad: Logitech Combo Touch

Logitech Combo Touch iPad Pro 11-inch (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th gen - 2018, 2020, 2021, 2022) Keyboard Case - Detachable Backlit Keyboard, Click-Anywhere Trackpad - Oxford Gray; USA Layout

The Logitech Combo Touch is a good option for those looking for a case-style keyboard, and who still want trackpad functionality. It’s available in both 11-inch (1st, 2nd, 3rd gen) and 12.9-inch models (5th gen only).

The Combo Touch is essentially Logitech’s answer to the high-end Apple Magic Keyboard mentioned above. It also has an excellent trackpad that supports multi-finger gestures and has click-anywhere tech. Similarly, it’s also priced towards the higher end, although is usually still cheaper than the Apple version.

One factor that sets this model apart, albeit not necessarily in a good way, is its kickstand design. The iPad attaches securely to the case via the Smart Connector (which also provides power), and is propped up with a manual kickstand with a 50-degree range of movement to help find the perfect viewing angle.

This kickstand-based approach provides good stability on hard surfaces, but means that the Combo Touch isn’t ideal for using on your lap. On the positive side, the keyboard is excellent, with backlit keys and a laptop-like feel.

The keyboard also has a full row of iPadOS shortcut keys along the top row, providing quick access to frequently-used features and settings. That’s something you won’t find on the Magic Keyboard or Smart Keyboard: given how often they get used, this feels like a missed opportunity from Apple.

While I wouldn’t classify any of the keyboard cases discussed here as “rugged”, the Combo Touch is more protective than most. There’s good coverage on the front, back, and corners, so as long as you don’t get it wet or drop it from a great height, it does a decent job of keeping your expensive tablet safe.

Pros
  • Excellent trackpad
  • Support for multi-touch gestures and click-anywhere
  • Draws power from the iPad Pro
  • Foldout kickstand is very stable on hard surfaces
  • Decent physical protection
Cons
  • Needs a flat surface: doesn’t work well on your lap
  • Pricey
Buy on Amazon

Main image via sasimoto/Shutterstock.com, product images via Amazon

About the Author
Austin Meadows

Austin Meadows

Austin is a digital nomad with a passion for exploring alternative lifestyles and testing the latest technological innovations. Rarely under the same roof for long, when he's not sampling wine and cheese in Bulgaria or downloading the latest travel app, you can find him running, gaming, or cooking up something delicious.

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