Soon after the 2021 iPad Pro launch, it was reported that the 12.9-inch iPad Pro was not compatible with the existing Magic Keyboard. This was due to the 2021 iPad Pro being 0.5mm thinner than the 2020 model. Apple, however, says that the first-generation Magic Keyboard will work with the new iPad Pro.
In a Magic Keyboard support document, Apple says the first-generation Magic Keyboard is “functionally compatible” with the 2021 iPad Pro. However, due to the “slightly thicker dimensions,” the Magic Keyboard “may not precisely fit.” The problem is exacerbated when screen protectors are used.
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. 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.
This does put owners of first-generation Magic Keyboard who planned on upgrading to the 2021 iPad Pro in a fix. While the keyboard will work with their new iPad, the fit might not be ideal, which could be risky if you tend to carry your iPad around.
The only solution, in this case, seems to be buying the updated second-generation Magic Keyboard, which Apple is now also offering in white color. At $349, the Magic Keyboard for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro is an expensive accessory, so upgrading so soon to a newer model will definitely anger many customers.
The problem only affects the 2021 12.9-inch iPad Pro. The 11-inch iPad Pro has the same dimensions and thickness as the outgoing model, so it does not have any compatibility issues with the first-generation Magic Keyboard.