Mac Keyboards: the Long and Short of It

We often get questions about the differences between keyboards made by Apple for the Mac. Sometimes a reader looking for a suggested keyboard function may find the key they need just isn’t there. Other times a reader wonders why they’re being told to use a key combination for a function that can be done with just one key.

This variance in instruction is due to the fact that Apple currently makes two different keyboard layouts:

Apple’s condensed keyboard layout is used in all of their laptops, and is also available as a wireless keyboard for laptops, desktops, and iOS devices.

Apple’s Keyboard with Numeric Keypad is a full-size keyboard. In addition to the numeric keypad, it includes keys for Home, End, Page Up, Page Down, Forward Delete, and F13 through F19. This keyboard layout is only available wired via USB.

Many of the functions of these extra keys can be done on the condensed keyboard layout using key combinations. These include:

Forward Delete: fn-delete
Page Up: fn-up arrow
Page Down: fn-down arrow
Home: fn-left arrow
End: fn-right arrow

Jason Merrill, Mac & iOS Consultant


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