Linux 5.18 Has Many Apple Keyboard Improvements, New Razer Driver & Tablet Improvements

Written by Michael Larabel in Hardware on 25 March 2022 at 12:00 AM EDT. 4 Comments
The HID subsystem updates have been submitted for the ongoing Linux 5.18 merge window.

As with most kernel cycles, the HID updates are aplenty with never-ending keyboards, tablets, and other devices arriving out of spec or requiring specialized handling. On the new drivers side, there is the HID SigmaMicro driver for keyboards using SiGma Micro keyboard control ICs. At this stage the driver is primarily about these ICs in some keyboards leading to mapping all modifier keys as L-Shift input while this new driver corrects that behavior.

Razer BlackWidow Keyboard

The other prominent new driver is a Razer HID driver initially focused on the Razer BlackWindow keyboards that aren't fully in compliant with the HID specification. Using this new driver will fix the macro key handling for the BlackWidow keyboards. Moving forward, hid-razer may be extended to deal with quirks / incompliant specs with other Razer hardware.

The HID pull for Linux 5.18 also has the start of work for working to "vastly improve Linux support for tablets", reworking of generic input handling that can lead to processing of tablet events in a more generic and reliable manner, and various other driver fixes.

There are many Apple keyboard improvements coming with Linux 5.18 both for the Magic Keyboard (pictured) and the keyboards with their MacBooks.

Meanwhile on the Apple side there are many fixes and improved hardware support with Linux 5.18. Among the Apple HID changes are:

- 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.

See this pull request for the full list of HID patches for the Linux 5.18 merge window.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of 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 automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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