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Is it possible to use the native keyboard on one Mac, to control the keyboard input of another Apple device, especially another Mac?

And so doing, without having to completely redirect the input device, i.e. disconnecting/connecting a Bluetooth keyboard to switch it between devices.

In my setup, I have a MacBook Pro and an iMac. Ideally, on the MBP, I would like to press a keyboard command or an GUI icon to connect the built-in keyboard as input for the iMac.

Note: Screen sharing is not a viable answer for this question.

7 Answers 7

7

Any of these three apps turn your Mac into a Bluetooth keyboard, and should accomplish what you need:

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  • 1
    Hi, do you know if any of these Apps allow the track pad (and multitouch capabilities) to be shared, as well as the keyboard?
    – Benjohn
    Apr 19, 2020 at 11:17
  • 1
    @Benjohn, mouse and keyboard are generally separate devices in the operating system (different device drivers), so I would not expect any of the keyboard apps to double as mouse/track-pad apps.
    – emallove
    Apr 20, 2020 at 13:20
  • @Benjohn I think both the KeyPad - Bluetooth Keyboard App and Universal Control do, check apple.stackexchange.com/a/438456/313500
    – Saharsh
    Mar 19 at 15:12
9

1Keyboard is an OS X app that allows a Macintosh keyboard to type on another Mac, iOS devices like iPhone and iPad, Apple TV, PS3 and Android.

I followed the pairing instructions, and while it didn't work the first few tries, it does now. Once I got it up and running, it has worked just fine. Copying, Pasting, keyboard shortcuts and Media keys (Volume, Playback) are supported.

You can set keyboard commands to connect to different devices. I use Shift + + > to connect to my iMac, Shift + Ctrl + > to connect to my iPhone, Shift + Alt + > to connect to my iPad.

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  • Can confirm that 1Keyboard still fails with non-english keyboard layouts. Oct 4, 2019 at 22:22
  • Looks like it works fine with non-English keyboard layout.
    – user3158
    Jan 20, 2021 at 11:04
  • I stopped using 1Keyboard because it was continually disconnecting my AirPods whenever the application was running in the background.
    – P A N
    Jan 20, 2021 at 12:28
3

I am not sure about its compatibility with El Capitan but Teleport will let you do exactly what you want. I used it for years to connect one keyboard and mouse between 3 Macs, but have not used it in awhile.

1

Try Synergy, a software KVM: https://symless.com/synergy

This allows you to simply move your mouse pointer to the iMac's screen to control it. Move your mouse back to the MBP and now you're controlling it. You can also do useful things like share clipboards between the machines.

1

Supposedly this open source project lets you do it in some way, though I haven't tried it:

https://github.com/bradparks/TKeyboard

1

Connecting Macs and iPads

For Macs and iPads the latest feature : Universal Control natively supports sharing keyboard, trackpad & mouse with gestures too. It supports upto 3 devices to be connected together, and even files can be drag-and-dropped.

NOTE : As of now, at least one Mac is needed the mix, i.e. two iPads alone cannot be connected together.

Connecting Mac and iPhone

I was personally looking for a way to also Connect the Mac and iPhone, I hoped Universal Control could solve it but unfortunately iPhones are not supported in Universal Control (as of 2022).

A application I found that provides the functionality is KeyPad - Bluetooth Keyboard App.

It makes the Mac's keyboard act as an external bluetooth keyboard, which the iPhone can just connect to as if connecting to a conventional BT-Keyboard. For one device the service is free, connecting more than one device the service is paid. The application seems to work with any device that can benefit from an external bluetooth keyboard and mouse like Android Phones, Apple TV, Smart TVs, etc. It also has media controls built in.

-3

Why don't you just use screen sharing? When connected to it you will be able to use your trackpad and keyboard with the other Mac.

Apple screen sharing

Further examples

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  • 1
    I stated in the question that I'm not looking to use screen sharing. It may be a good solution overall for some cases, but not relevant to this question.
    – P A N
    Apr 4, 2016 at 11:36

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