Hacking the iMac keyboard with black keys.

Discussion in 'iMac' started by ClayTheTurtle, Dec 17, 2011.

  1. ClayTheTurtle macrumors newbie

    Dec 17, 2011
    I'm a life-long PC user that just broke down and bought a mac. Loving it so far, but find the default white keys to not match the iMac's silver and black look. Just from a passing knowledge of the line, it SEEMS like the MacBook Pro's keys look fairly identical. Would it actually be possible to pop off all the white keys, replace them with black MacBook keys, all without seriously breaking something in the process?

    Thanks for any input! A good source for "replacement" MacBook keys would also be appreciated if this works.
  2. wrinkster22 macrumors 68030


    Jun 11, 2011
    Here is an easier solution: Get a black keyboard protector Like this one...
    I would not start with popping off keys.
  3. maril1111 macrumors 68000


    Mar 14, 2010
    i wouldn't do it, like wrinkster already mentioned it get a keyboard protector and save yourself the trouble.
  4. ClayTheTurtle thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 17, 2011
    I've tried silicone covers in the past, but I'm not a fan. Thanks for the link though. Hard to beat a buck!

    Still interested in experiences swapping keys, if anybody. Thanks!
  5. Benguitar Guest


    Jan 30, 2009
    I know the keys can be replaced, Although I wouldn't recommend doing it.

    I don't have a problem with the white iMac keys, And I think it is a bit of a waste of time trying to swap keys just because you don't think it looks right, and I'm sure if it really was an esthetic problem, Jony Ive would be well aware of it. ;)

    So, The fact that Jony isn't annoyed with it, (and he seems more obsessive about those things than any of us) I'm not too concerned with it.

    As the other members suggested, I think that a keyboard cover would be your safest bet, Or getting a new keyboard all together.
  6. David085 macrumors 6502a


    Nov 9, 2009
    This made me LOL funny comment ever (Popping out keys)
  7. doktordoris macrumors 6502a


    Mar 14, 2009
    Of course you can. The other way round (using mac KB keys on an MBP or MBA) wouldn't be such a good idea as you would lose the illuminated keys effect. But mac keyboard keys are all the same underneath.

    Just do me a favour, post a pic when you have done it. i would like to see what it looks like.
  8. Darth.Titan macrumors 68030


    Oct 31, 2007
    Austin, TX
    I have to think that if this was possible, somebody else would have done it long ago. Therefore, I have my doubt that the MacBook and keyboard keys are interchangeable.
  9. wrinkster22 macrumors 68030


    Jun 11, 2011
    If you dont like swapping keys you could give it a try- keep in mind it will be expensive, some of the keys may not have the same function (you may end of with backlit keyboard adjustment keys but there is no backlit), it may not work very well and it will be expensive.
    Here is one. it going to cost you $78 though

    This is much cheaper!!!

    Hope I helped.
  10. TjeuV macrumors 6502

    Dec 14, 2011
    I think it's possible to do but haven't got any experience with it.

    I'm very curious of how it looks so please, post a pic of the end-result!
  11. DesignerOnMac macrumors 6502a


    Jul 23, 2007
    I have swapped out a MacBook Pro keyboard keys. They can be removed, but you need to be careful as the 'locks' on the keys are plastic and can break. They are spring loaded. Once to take the old keys off, the new ones should snap back on. Not sure if laptop keys are the same size as your iMac Keyboard however.

    An earlier poster gave you a link on eBay for a cheap keyboard. I would probably try that and if it does not work, you haven't lost much money.

    I to wish Apple would offer a keyboard that had white keys and black keys! WOuld prefer black keys also. Backlit would be cool too!
  12. ClayTheTurtle thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 17, 2011
    The second link actually isn't cheaper. That's the price PER KEY. I know, fun, right?

    To all those balking at the idea...

    1) There is no question that you can remove the keys. There are a handful of examples of people changing their layout to follow DVORAK instead of QUERTY conventions, as well as swapping white with black keys between older generation MacBooks. The question was if the key sets were identical between the Bluetooth keyboard and the MacBook Pro.

    Random trivia, the QWERTY layout was designed to intentionally slow down typists. Originally keys were arranged alphabetically on typewriters, but the strikers that put the ink on the page would get consistently jammed. QWERTY alleviated that, and persisted into the computer age. DVORAK is an alternate, more efficient layout.

    2) What Ives, or anyone else, likes really has no bearing on what I like.

    Anyway, if I ever get brave enough, I'll surely post pictures. But $80 is a big purchase for a set of keys that may not even fit!

    As for the key illimination icons, that's not ideal, but not a dealbreaker for me.
  13. wrinkster22 macrumors 68030


    Jun 11, 2011
    Thanks for the info on DVORAK and the info on QWERT slowing down typists- I did not know that!
    I sent you a like for like a $5 one.
    You could also buy 1 or 2 keys and see if you like it and if you do proceed.
  14. 173080 macrumors 6502

    Aug 15, 2003
    The white "aluminum keyboard" keys and the black Macbook Pro keys are not interchangeable, at least not on the keyboards I have. The clips are slightly different, enough for the keys not to be held in place.
  15. jamisonbaines macrumors regular

    Dec 14, 2007
    I did this on my iBook G4, or planned to at least. I bought a keyboard from the "titanium" PowerBooks. The keys are the same from above but the clips proved to be different and the only ones capable of swapping were the function keys and direction arrows.

    The wireless keyboard and MacBook keys are the same size which is clear as a keyboard protector is easily transferred between them.

    Just buy the parts and try it. I have seen the black plastic MacBook keys in a white plastic MacBook but I haven't seen this done on any of the aluminum models or on the wireless keyboard.
    I would be equally interested to see the white keys in a unibody MBP.

    I would almost try it but my wireless keyboard is thoroughly used and my MBP is too new to mess with (aside from pulling optical drives and things like that.)
  16. bushman4 macrumors 68020

    Mar 22, 2011
    Might want to check out Logitech as they are making a couple wireless , black keyboards for Mac.
  17. Sonhascome macrumors 6502

    Feb 18, 2010
    I'd recommend looking into another keyboard maker rather than going through all that work. could always paint the keys? haha
  18. Mixpower macrumors member


    May 1, 2009
    The Netherlands
  19. seepel macrumors 6502


    Dec 22, 2009
    I don't think it was actually to slow hem down but rather a way so that typing two keys next to each other wouldn't happen very much (in English) I think this also why you see international keyboards that do the same for whatever language. Dvorak is designed with th vowels on the left so you end up alternating what hand types the next key. I've adopted it and type maybe a few words per minute faster than I used to. But my hands don't get fatigued as quickly as with QWERTY.

    I've switched around keys on a bunch of different apple products. If memory serves Th wired keyboard were the same as my 2009 MBP, but the wireless was not. And I'd you go ahead with this make sure to watch some videos of people doing it. I actually broke a wireless keyboard because I assumed it would work the same way as my MBP.
  20. ClayTheTurtle thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 17, 2011
    Thanks for all tips everyone! Color ware is interesting, if pricey. And yes, I figured the "typing slower" story may be an embellishment, but that's how I was originally told the tale, and it's pretty established it's not the most efficient keyboard arrangement!

    If I end up doing any of these things, I'll be sure to post with pics!

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