If you know about computing systems, you also know the industry is fragmented into two sides: iOS and Windows users.
Moreover, both manufacturers have differentiated their brands in small but significant ways, making it challenging for users to shift between them.
For instance, not only do iOS products have their collapse boxes on the top right corner of their user interface, but their keyboard’s layout is also different from a Windows one.
This got us thinking. Are the differences between the two computing giants so great that you can’t use Mac’s keyboard on your Windows PC?
Join us as we explore this question and explain how to use a Mac keyboard on a Windows PC. We will also include the configuration process and tips for using the keyboard effectively.
Keep reading to learn more.
What are the Differences Between Mac and Windows Keyboards?
There are several key differences between Mac and Windows keyboards, both in layout and functionality. Here are some of the main ones.
1. Command key vs. Control Key
One of the most noticeable differences between Mac and Windows keyboards is the location and function of the Command and Control keys. On a Mac keyboard, the Command key is located next to the spacebar and is used in combination with other keys to execute keyboard shortcuts. On a Windows keyboard, the Control key is located in the same position, but its functions differ.
2. Option key vs. Alt Key
Another key difference between Mac and Windows keyboards is the location and function of the Option and Alt keys. On a Mac keyboard, the Option key is located next to the Command key and is used in combination with other keys to execute certain functions, such as typing special characters or accessing hidden menus. On a Windows keyboard, the Alt key is located in the same position and has a similar function, although the shortcuts are different.
3. Function Keys
The function keys on a Mac keyboard have different default functions than those on a Windows keyboard. Mac’s keyboard function keys are labeled with icons representing common Mac functions, such as adjusting the screen brightness or volume. On the other hand, Windows’ keyboard function keys are labeled with F1, F2, etc., and are used for various functions, such as accessing the Help menu or refreshing a web page.
4. Delete Key
The Delete key on a Mac keyboard functions differently than the Delete key on a Windows keyboard. On a Mac keyboard, the Delete key functions like the Backspace key on a Windows keyboard, deleting text to the left of the cursor. On a Windows keyboard, the Delete key deletes text to the right of the cursor.
5. Home and End Keys
The Home and End keys on a Mac keyboard are located in a different position from a Windows keyboard. The Home and End keys are next to the arrow keys on a Mac keyboard. While on a Windows keyboard, the Home and End keys are located in a separate block of keys above the arrow keys.
6. Numeric Keypad
Some Mac keyboards do not have a numeric keypad, whereas most Windows ones do. This can be an issue for users who frequently work with numerical data and require a keypad for data entry.
Overall, while the basic layout of Mac and Windows keyboards is similar, there are significant differences in the location and function of certain keys. If you’re used to a Windows keyboard, you may need to adjust to the layout and functionality of a Mac’s when using it for the first time.
How to Connect a Mac Keyboard to Windows PC
To connect a Mac keyboard to a Windows PC, you can follow these steps:
- Check the type of connector on your Mac keyboard. If it has a USB-A connector, plug it directly into your Windows PC’s USB-A port.
- If it’s Bluetooth enabled, go to your taskbar’s bottom left corner and right-click the arrow icon.
- Right-click on the Bluetooth icon and click on Add Bluetooth Device. Then select the first option.
- Your PC will present the available pairable devices. Select your keyboard and type in the number that will appear to pair the two.
- Once connected, wait for your Windows PC to recognize the Mac keyboard.
- If the Mac keyboard doesn’t work immediately, you may need to install drivers for the keyboard on your Windows PC. You can find the drivers on the manufacturer’s website or by searching online.
- Once the keyboard is recognized and working, you can start using it with your Windows PC.
You should also note some Mac-specific keys like Command, Option, and Control may behave differently on a Windows PC. You may need to remap these keys to make them work properly. You can use third-party software like SharpKeys or KeyTweak to remap keys on a Windows PC.
How to Remap Keys on a Mac Keyboard for a Windows PC
Download your preferred third-party remapping software to remap keys on a Mac keyboard for a Windows PC. Then follow these steps to remap keys using SharpKeys.
- Download and install SharpKeys on your Windows PC.
- Restart your PC and connect your Mac keyboard.
- Open SharpKeys and click on the Add button.
- In the Type Key section, press the key on your Mac keyboard that you want to remap. This will show up in the From key box.
- In the Type Key section, press the key on your Windows PC to map it to the Mac key. This will show up in the To key box.
- Click OK to save the key mapping.
- Repeat the process for the other keys you want to remap.
- Click on Write to Registry to apply the changes.
- Restart your Windows PC to access the changes.
Mac Keyboards you can use With Windows PCs
1. Apple Magic Keyboard
Apple Magic Keyboard
The Apple Magic Keyboard is a sleek and stylish wireless keyboard designed for Apple devices but can also work with Windows PCs. It features a slim profile and low-profile scissor mechanism, providing a comfortable and responsive typing experience. The keyboard has a built-in rechargeable battery that can last up to a month on a single charge.
2. Apple Wired Keyboard with Numeric Keypad
Apple Wired Keyboard with Numeric Keypad
The Apple Wired Keyboard with Numeric Keypad is a durable and reliable keyboard designed for Mac and Windows users. It features a full-sized layout with a numeric keypad, making it a great option if you frequently work with numbers. The keyboard connects to your computer via USB and is easy to set up and use.
3. Logitech MX Keys
Logitech MX Keys
The Logitech MX Keys is a high-end keyboard designed for both Mac and Windows. It features a comfortable design with a low profile, a responsive typing experience, as well as backlit keys. The keyboard also has a built-in rechargeable battery lasting up to 10 days on a single charge.
Another standout feature of the Logitech MX Keys is its ability to seamlessly switch between up to three devices, making it an excellent option if you frequently switch between multiple devices.
The war between Macs and PCs has existed since the introduction of home computers and is still ongoing. Moreover, if you’re like us, you enjoy the friendly banter and probably have a thing or two to say. However, you may also need to use your Mac keyboard with a Windows PC, and it’s great to see this is much easier than you’d expect.
But as with everything when crossing the two ecosystems, you might need to manually map out some of the keys to help you keep the same workflow as using a Windows keyboard. Besides that, the experience of using a Mac keyboard on a Windows PC is quite painless.
How do I connect a Mac keyboard to a Windows PC?
You can connect a Mac keyboard to a Windows PC using a USB cable or via Bluetooth. Simply plug in the USB cable or turn on Bluetooth on both devices and then pair the devices using the standard pairing process.
Do all Mac keyboards work with Windows PCs?
Most Mac keyboards work with Windows PCs, but some models may have specific function keys or features that only work with Apple devices. Before purchasing a Mac keyboard for a Windows PC, it’s a good idea to check the product specifications and compatibility.
Can I use a Mac keyboard on a Windows PC?
You can use a Mac keyboard on a Windows PC, but you may need to remap some keys to get the best experience.