Seeking keyboard recommendations for use with a Mac Mini

Hardware & Accessories

With the great help of AppleVis, I have learned how to use VoiceOver on my iPhone 6. Now I've bought a Mac Mini, and plan to use VO there as well. I'm looking for guidance re: buying a compatible keyboard for the Mini. Wireless would be great if I could also use it with my phone. However, I'm willing also to learn VO on the Mini with a wired keyboard as well. My entire computer history has been with PCs so becoming acquainted with the Mac OS will present learning challenges.
Any keyboard recommendations or advice is welcome - Dave



Submitted by Zack Benton on Saturday, July 15, 2017

a Mac Mini doesn't require a specific keyboard unless your worried about being confused with certain keys and there placement, but for the best experience, It's best to go with a keyboard with a Mac type layout, but a windows/Mac keyboard will do just fine if your not worried that much about the keyboard Layout. If you don't have a monitor and want VO to not crash along with certain applications, the fit headless is a good option to circumvent this issue. The fit headless is a small dongle that plugs into your HDMI port and can be found on amazon for a decent price.
Hope that helps you out a bit.

Hi Zack, Thanks much for your info - I'm not familiar with the layout of a Mac keyboard but I guess this will be my opportunity to become familiar. I had not considered this as a factor and thank you for pointing it out to me. I do have a monitor and believe it will work with the Mini. I'll be sure to select a keyboard that features the Mac layout and thank you again.


Submitted by Justin on Saturday, July 15, 2017

I'd say get the apple whatever the new magic keyboard, or whatever it's called now. It's got the same layout as the new MacBook portable keyboards do. For instance, on the bottom row, you've got function/FN key, CTRL, option, cmd/command key, then spacebar. on the other side of the bar you've got the CMD and option keys followed by the arrow keys. Then everything should be where it needs to be like on a PC keyboard. Note: I am so used to the apple keyboards, that I don't really remember the PC layouts I haven't used windows keyboards in so long!

Submitted by David A on Sunday, July 16, 2017

In reply to by Justin

Hi Justin, Is it reasonable for me to expect to be able to set up my Mac Mini with a wireless keyboard instead of a wired keyboard? I do have the benefit of having a sighted wife, who is also very familiar with Mac products. I'm not well-versed in wireless peripherals. I do have an iPhone 6 that might be helpful in setting-up a wireless keyboard connection to my phone.

Thanks for your help and patience with my rookie questions!

Submitted by Justin on Sunday, July 16, 2017

I think the keyboard can either be used wireless or wired using the included USB lightning charging cable. It's like the one that comes with your iPhone. It's good that your wife is well versed in the mac line, so if ya have an issue, then you can have her help you! As far as I'm aware, you can set up the mac mini with a wireless keyboard, but I'm not sure, as I've never had a chance to use/look at a mac mini machine before.

Submitted by David A on Sunday, July 16, 2017

Hi Justin, Thanks for more helpful information. My wife reminded me last night we have a friend who set-up her boyfriend's Mini so I'll call her today and ask whether she thinks set-up with a wireless keyboard is feasible or not. If all else fails, I'll call the local Apple store and get their input and recommendations. Hoping to have a keyboard and the matter resolved in the next day or two. Thanks again!

Submitted by Chris on Sunday, July 16, 2017

You'll need a wired keyboard to set up the computer. Alternatively, you could have your wife go through the setup screens using a USB mouse and then pair the Bluetooth keyboard. You may be able to use one of those wireless keyboards that communicate with a USB adapter. Just plug the adapter into a USB port on the Mini. If the keboard works, you're good to go. Here are a few things to know:

If you're using a Windows keyboard, control is the control key, Windows is the Command key, and Alt is the option key. If you want to turn on VoiceOver, hold down Windows and press F5. To move between items, press and hold Control and Alt while pressing left or right arrow. To click on things, hold the same keys and press the space bar. This should get you through the setup screen. If you want to interact with things like the list of languages or wi-fi networks, press Control Alt Shift down arrow. To get out of an item, replace the down arrow in the previous command with up arrow. You may also be able to use the capslock key during setup. If so, just press capslock left and right arrow, capslock space, and capslock shift up and down arrow. I hope this helps you. If your keyboard has a numpad, press Control Option with the num lock key. This will enable the VoiceOver numpad commander which makes navigation a lot easier. Press 4 to move the the previous item, 6 for next item, 5 to click on something, 7 to stop interacting and 9 to start interacting.

Submitted by David A on Sunday, July 16, 2017

Hi Chris, Thanks for this helpful info! Wireless mouse and wireless keyboard should be here by Wednesday. Thanks for guidance re: how I can get the Mini going using corresponding keys on my PC keyboard. Now that I think of it, my wife has several Mac keyboards....although I don't know whether they'll work with the Mini - e.g. do they have the same connector plugs, etc? Guess we'll figure it all out at some point! Again, thanks to you and others for taking the time to pass along helpful info.


Submitted by Chris on Sunday, July 16, 2017

If the keyboard is USB, you should be able to plug it into a USB port on the computer and use it.

Submitted by david s on Monday, July 17, 2017


I would suggest getting a Mac Keyboard so you can avoid mapping or remapping.

What year is your mini?

I would suggest an Apple magic keyboard with a magic trackpad if you want one. Get the latest version of both if possible.

With the keyboardd and trackpad, you can use them as wired or wireless. If your mini has BT 4.0LE, the charge on each will last about a month if you use each one about 2 hours a day. You would charge them by plugging the lightning connection to the keyboard or trackpad then connecting the USB to the mini. When charged, you can either disconnect and put the cables away or leave it plugged in for a wired connection. Also, when you connect the KB or TP via the USB cable, it pairs it too.

You will also be able to use the KB with your IOS device. I also suggested the magic TP sso you can use some of the gestures on your mini like you would on your IOS device..

HTH and good luck.

Submitted by David A on Monday, July 17, 2017

In reply to by Chris

I wondered whether this would be the case - I'm quite out of the loop when it comes to changes in connection options for peripherals. I hope I'll be all set - my wife has Mac keyboards, I've got PC keyboards, and an Apple Magic keyboard will be coming in a day or two. Thanks again for your info on this topic - it's been most helpful.

Submitted by David A on Monday, July 17, 2017

In reply to by david s

Hi David Far as I know my Mini is as new as they come, although it's the basic frills. Didn't even know what a TrackPad is and have not bought one for the time being. I'm trying to start out as low cost as I'm able since my computer activity is quite limited to email and web surfing - old retired guy. The info you've provided is most helpful - Mini arrived Saturday,Apple Magic KB and mouse should be here tomorrow, so I should be able to have Mini set up by the weekend with the helpful info you and others have provided. Don't recall how I ever found Applevis but I'd be lost without it since getting my first iPhone 6+ months ago!

Submitted by david s on Tuesday, July 18, 2017


I only brought up the trackpad because you mentioned mouse on one of your post.

If you have usable vision, the mouse should work fine. But if you have no usable vision and can’t see the objects on the screen, a trackpad will work better. Is it necessary? Nope. Using your keyboard with VO is usually faster than having to move one of your hands between the KB and TP.

As a side note, most Mac users I know or have run into prefers the trackpad over a mouse, both sighted and non sighted users. Perhaps buy one for the wife and if she doesn’t like it, she’ll give it to you. Be aware she might like it and keep it for herself..

Submitted by David A on Wednesday, July 19, 2017

In reply to by david s

Well, the mouse was actually purchased by my sighted wife for her own use if and when she uses my computer; it is of no use to me and I'm assuming I won't even have it connected to the computer until she's ready to give it a try. Since I've always used Windows hardware and software, I'm comfortable accessing the computer entirely via the keyboard. I suppose a trackpad might be a future consideration but for the time being I'll content myself with learning how to use VO with KB alone. Thanks for your info and I'll tell my wife she might like using a trackpad! I don't even know whether she knows what such a thing is!