My desk has been more cluttered than usual the past couple of weeks, and I couldn’t blame that only on my inability to toss receipts and scan business cards. Instead, I have too often had a proprietary cable snaking its way from my computer to my keyboard–as in, my allegedly wireless keyboard.
I’m not unfamiliar with getting lied to by promises of Bluetooth wireless just working, but having this $179 Magic Keyboard with Touch ID and Numeric Keypad drop a connection to this Mac mini is more annoying than the average Bluetooth fail. It’s not just the lack of a proper error message from macOS when this happens; it’s that my only reliable fix for this is to fish out the proprietary USB-C-to-Lightning cable that came with the keyboard and use that to plug the peripheral into the computer.
(That’s also what I do every time the keyboard battery runs down.)
My cranky Mastodon post Thursday about the latest outbreak of this problem–a bizarre breakdown in which the keyboard transmitted no keystrokes to the Mac even as macOS reported that the keyboard remained connected–led to some commiseration with longtime Mac writer Dan Moren. He replied that “I got so tired of this I just now leave the Magic Keyboard wired to the mini.”
I’ve done that for a stretch a few times, but that sticks me with another problem: This cable stretches about 40 inches, which means I have to plug it into the back of the mini and then drape it across the top of the desk to reach the keyboard shelf.
Apple does, of course, sell a version of this cable twice as long that would let me run the cable around the back of the desk and underneath it to that shelf. But Apple charges $29 for this luxury, 2-meter cable, which reminds me that this not-so-magic keyboard should have a USB-C port instead of an Apple-exclusive port that no longer has a functional reason to exist.
And yet using any third-party keyboard is a total nonstarter, because then I’d lose Touch ID fingerprint authentication and would have to type one password or another every time I unlock the computer or 1Password. That would be worse, not that this realization makes me feel like less of a chump for dealing with Apple’s dysfunctionality.