Use Apple Mac Keyboard on Windows PC Computer

I started using a new Apple Mac keyboard on my Windows PC computer. I replaced my old Microsoft Windows Vista PC computer keyboard. Although I was concerned if the Apple keyboard would work properly without errors, it displayed an excellent compatibility with Windows and is totally amazing.

Apple Windows PC Computer Compatibility

I was always inspired to buy a Apple keyboard after I tried the amazing iMac at a friend’s place. I checked the Apple keyboard page, but the system requirements clearly stated

  • Mac computer with available USB 1.1 or USB 2.0 port
  • Mac OS X v10.4.10 or later
  • Keyboard software update

There was no mention of Windows compatibility. But I still went ahead and bought the full size wired Apple keyboard with numeric keypads.

apple keyboard

Wireless or Wired Apple Keyboard?

Why I preferred a wired over the Apple wireless keyboard?

  • No numeric keypad – I personally find the numeric keypad on the right side very useful in my daily computing tasks and calculations, but the wireless model has no numeric keypad.
  • Small Arrow Keys – I play many games which require arrow keys to navigate. The wireless keyboard squeezes them in one corner to fit all keys in, making arrow keys difficult to use freely.
  • Missing keys – the middle column is gone in the wireless model – so no home, delete, end, page up or page down keys. Not workable.
  • Bluetooth Required – While I was still concerned if the keyboard would work, adding another bluetooth compatibility issue was avoidable.
  • Bluetooth Adapter – My PC would required a bluetooth adapter to communicate with the wireless keyboard. Buying one more gadget to make a new gadget work… pass.
  • Batteries Needed – Wireless keyboards are powered by batteries (three AA batteries), while wired keyboards draw power from the USB port, which also makes them lighter. Wireless keyboards can run out of battery and make your computer tasks difficult till you replace them.
  • No USB ports – The wired version had enough space to fit in 2 USB ports in the footpads, which is great to attach the USB mouse and flash drives. The wireless mouse needs that space to fit in batteries.

Apple Keyboard Installation

The Apple Keyboard installation was easier and smoother than I thought. Upon unboxing the new keyboard, I found no CD or software to install. I simply plugged in the USB cable into my Windows PC USB port and started it up. The keyboard started working instantly at startup and continued to work just fine.

  • Changed Keys – Some keys changed though like the Command key functioned as the Windows Key. The function keys worked just as usual like F5 for refresh, F11 for full screen etc. Of course on Mac they had some more great functions to perform and could be easily customized.
  • Non working keys – some keys did not work since they had no function assigned to perform. Extra function keys from F13-F19 were of no use right now. The Eject key used to eject DVD on Mac also served no purpose now.
  • Missing keys – I really missed the popular 3 keys on the top right corner – Print Screen, Scroll Lock and Pause Break. Also can’t find the Num Lock. Of these I used the Print Screen the maximum to take quick screenshots, but as an alternative I continue to use Snagit or Pearl Crescent Page Saver Firefox extension for this purpose.
  • New keys I found and really liked was that the numeric pad had a clear key and an equal key which was very useful.

On one USB port I quickly connected my mouse and on the other I fixed a 8GB USB flash drive. Super.

Apple Keyboard Usage

I have used many keyboards before, but the Apple keyboard is so amazing, I wondered why I never bought it before. Now as my fear of Windows Systems requirement was over, I really marveled at the elegant anodized aluminum body, super thin contour and soft responsive keys which were a pleasure to type. The separation of the keys ensured I had much less typos too. The product quality was simply outstanding as was the packaging. All I can say is another great Apple product totally worth the price and highly recommended.

Windows PC users can buy the Apple keyboard and enjoy the typing experience which this amazing Apple product offers even without buying an iMac computer. Let me surprise you with the cost of the keyboard – $49 only! You can buy it online from the Official Apple Store.

Update: I also tried the Apple Mighty Mouse on Windows PC. Read about my experience.

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62 comments on “Use Apple Mac Keyboard on Windows PC Computer

  1. Varun says:

    I too bought a apple keyboard recently . I was very much impressed with the feel after i tried it at an apple store when I got my macbook.

    Sad thing is that when i tried to buy the wired keyboard in india none of the shops including apple dealers had it .. I went to local computer market ..
    Got one for Rs.2400 with apple warranty .. They keyboard just rocks..

    • QuickOnlineTips says:

      I also bought the Mac keyboard from an official Apple reseller in Delhi. They had a lot of these keyboards. Price was Rs 2400 plus taxes.

    • Dan says:

      From where did you bought it? I want to buy one, can you tell me the correct address?
      And do that keyboard work on a PC (Windows)???

  2. Sumesh says:

    Oddly enough, I’ve been doing the opposite – hooked up a PC keyboard to my Macbook. It is only a temporary setup until I get a proper Apple wireless desktop….

    Regarding compatibility, I would expect it to work well, also considering that Macs run Windows in Bootcamp.

    My experience of OS X on a Windows keyboard is slightly worse, as Win/Ctrl/Alt keys are respectively Cmd/Ctrl/Opt on OSX (still useable).

  3. joseph says:

    hi guys who are using a mac keyboard with windows, need some advice here. Is there any way to make the “play” and volume control buttons work? has anyone found a way to make it work yet?

    • QuickOnlineTips says:

      That is something that I miss too. The keyboard shows the icons, but I guess you need some custom key options for that to work.

      • Pat says:

        You can use a program called sharpkeys to edit the functions of the keys on the keyboard

        • mason says:

          I wonder if the drivers from bootcamp will help with those keys functions. I have a Macbook and the drivers enable eject and volume keys in windows.

    • Jesse says:

      Open the Bootcamp control panel in Windows and under the Keyboard tab, check the box that allows the Function keys to have their regular feature with the “fn” key.

      Then hold down fn and press F10 for mute, F11 for volume down, etc.

  4. Mondai says:

    Haven’t bought one, yet, but a friend wants one, and has a birthday coming up… anyway.

    For the special function keys, you might want to look into Boot Camp. I’m not 100% sure that it’s what you need, but it looks promising from what I see. Made special just for the Windows usage of the Apple keyboard:

    http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1216

  5. Matt says:

    The “clear” button for me is the “Numlock” key,

  6. Calin Lapugean says:

    Hi there. so … i have this keyboard .. and i am happy to report that it works great on a pc with vista as well .. as I am using it on my dell laptop just now.. :). the only thing I would change at the keyboard.. is the usb ports that won’t work with my ipod/iphone/usb sticks (tryed with 3 different ones..) .. apart from that.. what can i say.. it’s perfect.. :)..

  7. Cathy says:

    I have an apple keyboard on my apple mac. I use a windows virual machine on the Apple. But when I’m in windows, the enter key on the numlock does not want to work.
    Any Ideas?

  8. Shibu says:

    I am typing this on a wired mac keyboard (w/out the # keys). I just purchased it today. I have the mac keyboard/mouse hooked up to a Belkin switch that currently switches between 2 XP PCs. I just plugged them in & they worked instantly without any new driver downloads. Next I am going to get a Mac mointor & if that works well, I’ll add a Mac mini to the switch & I’ll have the best of both worlds. Mac has the best designed equipment of any other company I have seen. Even the mouse works better. I love the scroll wheel.

  9. mike says:

    If you like the apple keyboard,just image using on a mac instead of a PC!!!

    • hari says:

      hey mike..

      I appreciate your recomendation for migrating to PC. I am a web/graphics designer from Bangalore. I am a die hard PC fan but I am quite amazed by the MAC OS. I use MAC at my workplace and PC at my home. Probably tats why I bought my MAC keyboard for my PC.. :)

      Well I wont debate on MAC/PC(Why and Why not).
      But I feel today both the systems have something unique to offer you if you can optimize best for your work. Then at the end you will be the winner.

      • Toby says:

        I am also facing the prob of having a Mac at work and a PC at home.

        Ideally i would like to run a mac keyboard on my home PC that allows me to use the same shortcut keys as you would while on a mac.

        Is it possible to assign keys to a mac keyboard while plugged into a pc?

        e.g. assign Ctrl to the Mac key.

  10. jayce says:

    I bought this keyboard too. I love miss some of the keys, but it is awesome. I did figurer out what the Num-lock is. It is the “clear” key on the numeric pad. What I’d really like to get to work is the Function keys to work when you press the “fn” key.

  11. mike says:

    Ineed help here. I bought imac20 but i do not know how to use the f-function of the keyboard.
    example..when i’m playing online games and i need to press F1 for some game features like using my character skill, but it does a different job.it decreasing the contrast of the monitor…i need to know how to use the F-functions…hoping for your help guys…thanks

  12. Leigh says:

    I bought the full MAC keyboard today. Best typing experience I ever had – the low profile is probably great for preventing Repetitive Strain Injury too.

    I used a piece of freeware – Sharpkeys to remap the funtion keys and swap the windows key with the command key.

    Only keys I haven’t been able to change so far are the Eject key and the FN key as Sharpkeys doesn’t recognise them. Anyone know how to map these keys?

  13. hari says:

    hey .. tats awesome tat you are using the apple keyboard for your PC. I just bought one last Saturday for my PC. it cost me Rs 2500/- in Bangalore. It works gr8.

    As you mentioned the 3 right hand corner keys are missing of course.

    As I figured it out that if I have multiple OS as dual boot or triple boot, I cant select which OS to go. That means BIOS doesn’t detect MAC keyboard as a generic PC keyboard. And also I have to wait 30 secs to enter in to my Vista Ultimate as I cant enter in to it.Keyboard doesn’t detect.

    So I just wandering do you have any idea of rectifying it .. ???

    I would highly appreciate your positive feedback.

    cheers

    • Tajino says:

      hari, are you by any chance connecting the keyboard through the extension cable that came with it? With the extension cable connected, the keyboard would not work during bios boot. Try connecting it directly to the usb port instead, it should work.

      mine is connected to a usb hub instead of the extension cable, and it works perfectly during BIOS boot sequence.

  14. Dumi says:

    here’s my 2cents worth. I have been using the apple keyboard since May 2008 and I love it. The way around the the missing keys is to have the onscreen keyboard running (Vista) select the 102 keyboard and viola all the keys are layout out just like a windows keyboard print screen and everything.

  15. Chris says:

    I have just bought the wired Mac keyboard without the numeric keypad (due to smaller size, as I also have the one with the numeric keypad at home). However, the one key I need to be able to use with my Windows laptop (running XP) is the ‘Delete’ key. Although ‘Delete’ is supposed to be replaced by the ‘fn’ and ‘backspace’ key combination this combination does not have the same functionality under Windows, so CTRL ALT FN Backspace does not enable me to reboot my machine or go into WIndows TaskManager I.e.it is not Ctrl ALt Delete. Any ideas anyone ?

    • Bosse says:

      I really don’t understand. Do you want ctrl-alt-del or just the delete key? I used AutoHotkey to remap ctrl-alt-backspace to ctrl-alt-del, which works great, but i can’t seem to find out how to remap the eject key to delete, since there is no such key in windows.

  16. Bosse says:

    For anybody who wants to use the pause, mute, volume buttons etc, you might wanna try SharpKeys. You can remap f7-f12 to work as media keys. Works great for me.

  17. george says:

    Apple+Shift+3 is screenshot
    Apple +shift+4 you can click and drag a cropped screenshot

  18. Chinna says:

    Hi

    When i am using keyboard to keying the text is coming wron

    if i pes a its comes a4 if i type q2w3 pls explain how to solve this problem

  19. JB says:

    Why didn’t I think of this before? I ran out and got the wired version of this gem as soon as I read about it. Plugged it into my Vista machine and Windows recognized it right away. Didn’t even have to load any drivers. What a beautiful keyboard and it looks good too.

    Thanks Steve Jobs…now I know why Mac users brag all the time!

  20. Graham says:

    I also bought the Mac keyboard a little while back. There is a nice little app called SharpKeys that you can use to remap the some of the unused Mac Keyboard keys to the standard keyboard keys.

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