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I have a mid-2012 MacBook Pro (non-retina) lying around that I don't need. It does not startup, but it's keyboard and mouse work fine. I have no use for the computer anymore.

I also have a Mac mini and I was wondering whether there is any hardware/software that allows me to use the keyboard and trackpad from my MBP as direct input to my Mac mini, just like an external keyboard/trackpad, without having to go through the OS on my MBP.

In other words, I was looking for some sort of adapter that would connect my keyboard and trackpad from my MBP to a USB input which I could use on the Mac mini. I do not want a solution like this: https://apple.stackexchange.com/a/338568

Thanks

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  • According to system info, the keyboard and trackpad are both USB. But clearly the connectors are not standard.
    – WGroleau
    Commented May 31, 2022 at 21:09

2 Answers 2

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In theory it is possible - but there's no on-the-shelf solution that you can go out and buy.

You would either have to make it yourself (requires experience with electronics and programming) or hire someone to build a solution for you. In either case, such a solution would cost many, many times more (considering the cost of your own time) than simply buying a new keyboard and mouse.

The keyboard connector on the mid-2012 MacBook Pro does not feature USB or anything that you can simply plugin to a new computer. Instead it is a special connector, for which you require an adapter board, and the signalling is not USB or anything standard on a Mac Mini - so you would need to create a PCB with a microcontroller or similar to convert the signals from the keyboard into a USB HID device for the Mac Mini.

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I got a broken 2011 MBP for cheap and did that "conversion". You need the original motherboard for this and the keyboard and trackpad work as follows for me:

Long story short: It works in Windows (as "mouse" only, no gestures on the trackpad). In MacOS and Linux (tried Ubuntu) all gestures work out of the box as well. On Android_x86 it works if you connect it BEFORE booting Android (including gestures), if you plug it in after booting, the trackpad will not work.

On Android phones/tablets I can't get the trackpad working AT ALL (if anyone could help me I would be super grateful!)

Someone did it with a mid 2012 MBP (like a guy on hackaday) who described everything in greater detail: https://www.eevblog.com/forum/proje...rackpad-from-macbook-pro-(mid-2012)-trackpad/

If you also get a 2012 MBP that could be enough, if you get a different year model it's probably better to get the schematics online (somewhat easy to find on Google) like I did. In general (from looking at the schematics from all kinds of different models/years) this should be possible for MacBook Pro's from 2008 to 2016 (when they introduced the force trackpad I think). MacBook Pro's before 2008 (in the old design before unibody) it should also be possible and much easier and the controller is on the back of the trackpad itself. I can't find it right now, but Googling this should bring results. Hope this helps you.

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