HomeTech GiantsAppleExpensive fun: how hobbyists build a separate Touch ID button

Expensive fun: how hobbyists build a separate Touch ID button

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Thanks to the Magic Keyboard, owners of a Mac with Apple Silicon can retrofit the fingerprint scanner. However, some just want the button. And that’s even possible.

With the new editions of the Magic Keyboards, a long-cherished wish of desktop Mac users was fulfilled in 2021: the fingerprint scan via Touch ID could now also be retrofitted with a wireless keyboard. But this only works with Apple Silicon Macs. But that’s not enough for some: they want the Touch ID button and a different keyboard at the same time. A hobbyist has now proven that this is possible.

First of all: It is expensive fun to build a separate Touch ID button. The basis is the Magic Keyboard, which currently costs 159 euros from Apple. The keyboard was opened up by Twitter user Tian Z. from Menlo Park, California, using iFixit tools to access the circuit board inside.

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The button alone is useless – without the small board, which is hidden behind the battery in the keyboard, Touch ID cannot be used for security reasons. The keyboard communicates with the Mac via the circuit board. The Lightning connector also has to be removed so that the separate button can later be connected to the Mac.

The good news is that it is even possible to separate the Touch ID components from the rest of the keyboard without affecting their functionality. Nevertheless, those interested should be prepared for the fact that the necessary work requires a great deal of sensitivity and that there is always the risk that something will break.

The hobbyist from California finally installed the button in a housing from the 3D printer and now uses it alongside his normal keyboard. Detailed instructions for removal with photos can be found online.

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