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Try typing anything longer than a couple of sentences with an on-screen keyboard and you’ll immediately realize why an iPad keyboard case is a necessary accessory. While that iPad screen is gorgeous, it’s a real drag when trying to type unless you have absurdly long thumbs or infinite patience. A keyboard case will protect your pricey gadget from bumps in your bag or coffee spills at your desk, so you’ll never be left alone with your thoughts without an electronic device to numb the pain. Here’s our list of the best iPad keyboard cases to keep you productive and entertained no matter where you are.
- Best overall: Zagg Pro Keys
- Best for iPad Pro: Apple Magic Keyboard
- Best with trackpad: Logitech Folio Touch
- Best for iPad Air: Apple Smart Keyboard Folio
- Best for drawing: Logitech Combo Touch
- Best for productivity: Brydge Air MAX+ Wireless Keyboard Case
Things to consider when shopping for the best iPad keyboard case
There aren’t that many iPad models out there, but each one has different generations that can make buying a compatible keyboard case rather tricky. If you’re not sure what kind of iPad you have, you can always go into your Settings app and go to General > About. That will tell you about which version of the iPad you have so you can make sure that your chosen case matches up. It’s worth noting that some models like the Pro come in two different sizes, so make sure you know whether you have the 12.9-inch display or the 11-inch display before you plunk down your credit card. Some cases meant for the iPad Pro 11-inch will also work with the iPad Air gen 4, but again, it’s worth double checking before causing yourself hassle.
Size and feel
There’s really no such thing as a spacious iPad keyboard. After all, they’re limited by the size of the device itself. However, they can feel different from model to model. Opt for a model with nicely spaced keys that aren’t crammed on top of each other.
Also, pay attention to the kind of keys they offer and how far they travel when you press them. Most keyboard cases employ a membrane-type keyboard because they’re more flexible, lighter, and cheaper to produce. Some keyboards offer more travel, which means the keys press down farther with every stroke. More travel can be a plus because it can cut down on typos and also just generally feel better. If you’re going to be typing a lot on your device, then feel does matter.
While the keyboard typically takes top billing with these devices, they are also cases, which makes protection paramount. Some keyboard cases simple protect the screen when they’re closed, leaving the edges exposed. Some provide a full-on cocoon to keep out the grime and splashed diet sodas.
Generally speaking, the iPad is probably tougher than you think so most people don’t need to go overboard, equipping their tablets in full-on armor that looks like something out of a Halo game.
If you’re expecting to take your device into truly harrowing conditions, you can look for an ingress protection rating (IP), which will tell you exactly how resistant it is to water, dust, and drops.
All iPad keyboard cases will work when they’re magnetically attached directly to the device. Some options, however, offer additional Bluetooth connectivity, which adds flexibility. Bluetooth models can detach from the device and keep on typing, which can come in handy during situation like presentations or long flights where you’re trying to vary up your position every once in a while.
The Apple Pencil is one of the best styluses around, but it’s also expensive, which makes losing it feel particularly bad. Many iPad keyboard cases don’t have dedicated Pencil storage, but that gets bonus points for those that do.
Best overall: Zagg Pro Keys
Why it made the cut: Bluetooth, touchpad options, and wide compatibility make this the most versatile iPad keyboard case by far.
- Compatible with: iPad, iPad Pro, iPad Air
- Bluetooth: Yes
- Side protection: Yes
- Bluetooth connection for removable keyboard
- Protects the sides of the device
- Available for all major models
- Comfortable keyboard
- Some models offer trackpads
- No touchpad option for Pro models
Zagg’s iPad keyboard case solution offers more flexibility and functionality than any of its competition. The device has its own built-in battery that can last for up to a year depending on how much you use the included seven-color backlight system.
A case totally encloses the iPad itself, which attaches via magnet to the keyboard module. Zagg has tested the case to protect the iPad inside from a fall of up to 6.6 feet, which is plenty even if it takes a tumble off of a standing desk. Because the keyboard has built-in Bluetooth, you can use it while it’s attached to the iPad or from up to a few feet away depending on your desired setup.
Zagg made this model compatible with just about every modern iPad on the market at the moment (except for the Mini). The iPad and iPad Air models also offer touchpad options if you’re going for a full-on laptop replacement experience. The side of the case has a method for storing the Apple Pencil to prevent it from escaping into your backpack, or worse, into the world.
Ultimately, this case is rugged, well-built, flexible, and pleasant to use. The added versatility puts it over the top, especially when you consider that it’s either the same price or less expensive than some other options that offer far fewer features and options.
Best for iPad Pro: Apple Magic Keyboard
Why it made the cut: The over-engineered case provides a premium experience for a price.
- Compatible with: iPad Pro, iPad Air
- Bluetooth: No
- Side protection: No
- Great for lap usage thanks to the cantilevered hinge
- Comfortable to type on
- Adjustable viewing angles
- Not as protective
The Apple Magic Keyboard isn’t a cheap device by any stretch of the imagination. In true Apple fashion, however, it does provide a high-end experience through and through. The keyboard itself offers Apple’s clever switches and 1mm of key travel, which makes it feel better than some laptop keyboards. The built-in trackpad enables all the familiar gestures you’re already used to if you’re using a MacBook with a similar setup.
The iPad attaches to the case with a strong set of magnets that feel extremely sturdy when you’re using the device out in the wild. The hinge moves fluidly, but provides plenty of resistance so you can position the ipad however best suits your usage.
While it is great to use, it does lack some features other options have, like onboard Pencil storage and protection for the sides of the iPad itself. Still, with additions like a pass-through USB-C port for charging, this case provides one of the most laptop-like experiences you can get with an iPad.
Perhaps the biggest downside, however, is that it doesn’t fold back so you can use it like a typical ipad for note-taking. If you want to use it like a tablet, you have to disconnect it from the magnetic case, which can be awkward.
Best with trackpad: Logitech Folio Touch
Why it made the cut: Ample protection and a comfortable keyboard make great additions to this laptop-style case.
- Compatible with: iPad Pro, iPad Air
- Bluetooth: No
- Side protection: Yes
- Built-in Pencil storage
- Sturdy, fabric-covered exterior
- Excellent keyboard
- Responsive touchpad
- Side protection
- Keyboard is exposed when using in tablet mode
Logitech’s classy Folio case can encompass the iPad Air or the iPad Pro. It fully encompasses the iPad, wrapping around the sides and offering cutouts for the buttons, speakers, and charging port. Because the Air and Pro use different button arrangements, it’s important that you get the correct one for your device.
The keyboard provides one of the best typing experiences I’ve had in an iPad case. The keys are comfortably spaced and responsive. They also have decent travel considering the thickness of the case itself.
The cover material feels soft, but seems to stand up very well to abuse. I carried an iPad Air around in my backpack for a solid month with the case and it didn’t look any worse for wear than when I first started using it.
There’s a kickstand on the back of the case that holds the iPad up as you’re using it. It holds relatively firmly at a variety of angles, but trying to stand the screen up too tall makes it unwieldy. At most angles, however, it feels sturdy and stable.
Using it like a tablet feels slightly awkward since the keyboard faces outward and you can press the keys with your fingers as you hold the device, but it’s simple to get used to. It also gets bonus points for holding the Pencil tight within the closing flap.
Best for iPad Air: Apple Smart Keyboard Folio
Why it made the cut: Apple’s simple case works seamlessly with the iPad Aid so you never have to think about it.
- Compatible with: iPad Air, iPad Pro 11-inch
- Bluetooth: No
- Side protection: No
- Dead simple design
- Very comfortable keyboard
- Not heavy on features
Attach the Smart Keyboard Folio to the iPad Air (or the 11-inch iPad Pro) and you can start typing immediately. It communicates and draws power directly through the iPad itself, so you don’t need to charge or pair it.
The keys are very flat, but provide a surprisingly satisfying press with each stroke. They’re also very well-spaced so you won’t make more typos than you normally would depending on your typing skills. The whole cover weighs just 5.3 ounces, which makes it lighter than many other keyboard cases in its class. That can make a big difference over a long period of usage.
Don’t expect a ton in the way of features. It won’t protect the edges of the device and the keyboard doesn’t have built-in Bluetooth or a trackpad. It will, however, work exactly as you want it to every single time with very little fuss. This is the standard first-party keyboard case option and it has earned its permanent spot in the lineup.
Best for drawing: Logitech Combo Touch
Why it made the cut: You can remove the keyboard completely to make more room for drawing.
- Compatible with: iPad, iPad Air, iPad Pro
- Bluetooth: No
- Side protection: Yes
- Lots of supported angles for lay-flat drawing
- Removable keyboard for tablet-style usage
- Solid protection
- Pencil storage
- No Bluetooth for the removable keyboard
Logitech’s Combo Touch case looks like most of its other options, but the Combo’s keyboard attaches magnetically so you can easily remove it. That can come in handy if you want to lay the iPad nearly flat for drawing.
When the keyboard is attached, the Combo touch acts like a typical iPad keyboard case. The kickstand supports more than 50 degrees of tilt depending on your desired viewing angle. A full-on trackpad gives you access to a very laptop-like experience if you want it. It even offers backlit keys while pulling its battery power directly from the device itself.
An opening on the side of the case allows for easy access and attachment with the Apple Pencil. If you want more permanent protection, you might be better off with the Logitech Folio above, but you lose access to the removable keyboard, which could get in the way if you’re trying to get into an intense illustration session.
Because the case wraps around the edges of the device, it still leaves room for a glass screen protector in case you want to add an extra layer of protection to the device.
Best for productivity: Brydge Air MAX+ Wireless Keyboard Case
Why it made the cut: With Bluetooth connectivity, a simple magnetic snap-in feature, nuanced multi-touch touchpad, and a form that protects the iPad, this keyboard case provides both protection and productivity features.
- Connection: Bluetooth 5.0
- Compatibility: iPad Air 5th generation M1, iPad Air 4th generation, iPad Pro 11-inch 3rd generation, iPad Pro 11-inch 2nd generation, iPad Pro 11-inch 1st generation
- Dimensions: 10 x 7.65 x 0.8 inches
- Snaps into place magnetically
- Easy, lag-free Bluetooth connectivity
- Full keyboard including function keys
- Sturdy protection
- A little heavy
- No tap clicks on the trackpad
Snapping into place using magnetism, the Brydge Air MAX+ connects to your iPad with a simple Bluetooth 5.0 connection. With a metal-and-plastic design, the case is durable and rugged, providing solid protection for your iPad.
With a clicky multi-touch trackpad, this keyboard affords your iPad new elements of control. It features most of the keys you’d expect on a laptop keyboard, including volume control and brightness. Sadly the multi-touch trackpad misses the mark on a couple of counts. It doesn’t allow touch click, requiring you to actually click in the lower portion of the trackpad. For those who have gotten used to touch-clicking, this might take some rewiring, but for most others, it’s a very minor adjustment of workflow.
All in all, it’s a great addition to an iPad that adds both body armor and extra features that turn it into an even-more capable productivity travel buddy. The Brydge Air MAX+ is available for iPad Air models both 5 and 4, as well as iPad Pro 11-inch models 1, 2, and 3.
Q: Does the Apple Magic keyboard case have a pencil holder?
No. If you’re looking for a case with a Pencil holder, the Zagg Pro Keys and the Logitech Touch Folio both have methods for holding onto the pricey stylus. Otherwise, you’ll be relying on the iPad’s magnets to hold onto the Pencil.
Q: How do iPad cases with keyboards work?
The vast majority of the iPad keyboard cases on the market right now connect directly to the iPad’s smart connector. As soon as you magnetically attach the keyboard case, the iPad immediately delivers power and a data connection to the new device. Some keyboards also provide a Bluetooth connection, which is handy, but can get annoying if you have pair it relatively frequently.
Q: Can you use a case with a Magic Keyboard?
In a way, the Magic Keyboard really is a case. It basically turns your iPad into a laptop by holding it in place above the keyboard.
I have been using and reviewing iPads for several generations of the devices now for Popular Photography and Popular Science. In that time I have used a number of cases. We started with more than a dozen options on this list and narrowed it down to those with desirable features, solid user reviews, durable built-quality, and pleasant-to-use keyboards. We focused on models that fit a variety of iPads to accommodate most users.
Final thoughts about the best iPad keyboard cases
While there are several great options out there on the market, we found the Zagg Pro Keys the champ. It’s versatile enough that it can handle pretty much any iPad user’s needs. That said, Apple’s first-party offerings are also excellent. They’re not cheap, but of course, you should probably be kinda used to that by now.