Apple’s new 12.9-inch iPad Pro will be compatible with the old Magic Keyboard folio case for the 2018 and 2020 models, but with a catch: Apple says that the new model, while “functionally compatible” with the old case, “may not precisely fit when closed.”
Originally, French site iGeneration reported and that the 2021 12.9-inch iPad Pro (with its Mini LED display, faster M1 processor, and upgraded camera) would not be compatible with the prior version of the $349 Magic Keyboard case. The Verge was able to independently confirm at the time that was the case through sources familiar with the matter. Apple’s support document has since been updated to state the new iPad Pro will function with the older Magic Keyboard, although with the caveat that the newer may not fit perfectly, especially if owners have applied a screen protector.
The 2021 12.9-inch iPad Pro is slightly thicker than the 2020 version: the new model measures in at 6.4mm thick, or 0.5mm thicker than the 5.9mm 2020 model, an increase that’s speculated to be due to the more complex Mini LED screen technology. The updated 11-inch iPad Pro, on the other hand, will still be perfectly compatible with the older Magic Keyboard case (it doesn’t have an upgraded screen and its dimensions haven’t changed), without the imperfect fit that the larger model may experience.
The (and presumably, slightly larger) 2021 Magic Keyboard case is backwards compatible with the previous 2018 and 2020 iterations of the iPad Pro, so if you end up shelling out for the new model, you’ll be able to use it with older iPads without any issue.
The clarification from Apple is good news for existing iPad Pro owners looking to save a few bucks on upgrading to the new model — but it seems that if you want a truly flawless Magic Keyboard experience, you might have to pay an extra $349 for a new Magic Keyboard, too.
Correction: According to a newly-updated Apple support document, the 2021 12.9-inch iPad Pro is “functionally compatible” with the original Magic Keyboard, but Apple warns that “it’s possible that the Magic Keyboard may not precisely fit when closed, especially when screen protectors are applied.”