Many Apple Keyboard Improvements Coming With Linux 5.18

Written by Michael Larabel in Apple on 21 February 2022 at 06:40 AM EST. Add A Comment
APPLE --
The upcoming Linux 5.18 kernel cycle will bring a number of improvements for Apple keyboards -- both for the Apple Magic Keyboard and the keyboards integrated with their various MacBook computers.

Queued up into the HID subsystem's "for-next" branch are a number of Apple driver improvements. As usual, the changes aren't from Apple themselves but the open-source community. This next Linux kernel will bring proper Fn key mapping for more Apple Magic Keyboards, improve the keyboard support for the modern MacBook Pro laptops with the T2 security chip, and other enhancements.


Apple Magic Keyboard


Of the fresh Apple patches in HID for-next, highlights include:

- Correct function key (Fn) mapping for first-generation Apple Magic Keyboards for 2007~2009 models and the 2011 alunimum wireless model. The default Fn key mapping was used up to this point while now there is a dedicated one for these first-generation keyboards to address issues around emitting backlight events when the keyboards do not have a backlight and the inability to this point for being able to set the numlock status without having another keyboard connected to the system.

- There is also now a proper Fn key mapping for the Apple Magic Keyboard 2015 model, which also addresses the matter of the keyboard to now emitting keyboard backlight up/down events even with not having a backlight.

- Support with the Magic Keyboard 2021 model to be able to report the battery level when connected via USB. The battery level reporting already worked when connected via Bluetooth.

- Another commit also gets the fingerprint reader battery reporting to work over USB for the Magic Keyboard 2021 model.

- Support for the keyboard backlight control on various Apple T2-chipped Macs. There are also various IDs added for handling the keyboard with other Macs relying on the T2 security chip.

- Fn key mapping support for MacBook Pros that have a Touch Bar.

The Linux 5.18 cycle will formally kick off in March while the kernel won't be out as stable until around the end of May.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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