iPad Pro 202112.9-inch will work with older Magic Keyboard — but there's a catch

iPad Pro 2021
(Image credit: Apple)

The new iPad Pro 2021 is slated to launch next month, and Apple has now confirmed (via a support document spotted by MacRumors) that the 12.9-inch version is "functionally compatible" with the first-generation Magic Keyboard

When Apple introduced a redesigned Magic Keyboard to go along with its new iPad Pro models at its Spring Loaded event, there were concerns that the extra thickness of the 12.9-inch model would mean that the older keyboard accessory wouldn't be compatible with the newer tablet. Turns out that won't be the case, albeit with a catch.

The 2020 12.9-inch iPad Pro measures 5.9mm thick, compared to the 2021 model's 6.4mm thickness. And that means that if you use first-gen Magic Keyboard with the new larger iPad Pro it won't fit quite right or fold closed completely, especially if you put screen protectors on your new iPad.

While not having the perfect fit might irk some iPad fans, this cross-generation compatibility will mean those with a Magic Keyboard won't have to fork out an extra $299 / £279 / AU$449 for the new generation model. 

Concerns over compatibility were at the time blamed on the fact that the new 12.9-inch iPad Pro is actually slightly thicker than its predecessor, which may be due to its new mini-LED display (here's why mini-LED is a big deal for the iPad Pro). Now, Apple has upgraded its support documentation to clarify that the beefy new iPad Pro is technically compatible with the first-generation Magic Keyboard — you just might not like the way it fits.

"The first generation of the Magic Keyboard (A1998) is functionally compatible with the new iPad Pro 12.9-inch (5th generation) with Liquid Retina XDR display," reads Apple's new support documentation. "Due to the slightly thicker dimensions of this new iPad Pro, it's possible that the Magic Keyboard may not precisely fit when closed, especially when screen protectors are applied."

Of course, if you don't feel like putting up with a funky fit for your old Magic Keyboard, Apple is selling a new one alongside the new iPad Pros — and now it comes in white, in addition to black.

Shabana Arif

Shabana is T3's News Editor covering tech and gaming, and has been writing about video games for almost a decade (and playing them since forever). As well as contributing to Tom's Guide, she's had bylines at major gaming sites during her freelance career before settling down at T3, and has podcasts, streaming, and video content under her belt to boot. Outside of work, she also plays video games and should really think about expanding her hobbies.