At least with mine…
I’ll say right up front that I think my case may be the exception, rather than the rule with the Magic Keyboard. However, that doesn’t change the fact that it is taking a major toll on my iPad Pro’s battery life right now. You can see a good example highlighted in the chart above, which shows me dropping a massive 50% of battery life with only 2.5 hours of screen time on Thursday. That time was split between working on an article and marking up some PDFs for work. That is downright terrible performance that I don’t even see during gaming or watching movies.
I mentioned noticing diminished battery life in my previous installment in this series, but the more data I get, the worse things look. For instance, the night that I posted that article, I dropped 50% of battery life during the course of my writing. I was careful not to overstate the role of the Magic Keyboard in that post, but the data I have since clearly points to it being the primary culprit. The question now is why.
So what is the problem? Right now I assume that the Magic Keyboard’s backlight is playing a leading role, but I am getting into testing that out in more detail now. Backlit keys have an impact on any battery, laptop or tablet. However, what I am seeing isn’t normal in comparison with any iPad Pro keyboard case that I’ve ever used. That includes the Logitech Create and the Logitech Slim Combo, both of which have backlit keys and use the iPad Pro’s Smart Connector.
I have manually turned the backlight on the Magic Keyboard all the down today to see if performance improves. Hopefully it will, because backlighting isn’t something I need all the time. I use my work laptop without the keyboard backlight on unless I need it. I have no issue using the MK without it on in good light if it will improve my battery performance.
I am going to start mixing in using the Smart Keyboard Folio and the Brydge Pro to see how iPad Pro battery life compares directly while them. My new Brydge Pro+ will also be arriving either today or Monday and I will be using it for review as soon as I get it. Hopefully they will help me definitively establish that the MK is the cause of these problems.
If you are reading this as a review of the Magic Keyboard, I would caution against that. This is just me documenting my personal experiences with this new accessory. While people have complained about battery usage, I am not seeing anyone reporting on the Magic Keyboard who is having the same level of issues that I am. That makes me suspicious that something else is contributing to these extreme periods of battery drain. Maybe my Magic Keyboard is defective. That seems strange since it works in all other respects, but it is a brand new product. Stranger things have happened. It could also be battery wear affecting my iPad Pro, but I think I would see that show up more in use without the MK.
So I will be making an effort to do more testing without the Magic Keyboard over the course of the next week to confirm what’s going on. If there is a problem with the MK, I need to figure that out now, as I would prefer to send it back to Apple during the 14 day return period than deal with warranty replacement. If it’s my Pro, then I’m not so sure what I will do about that. I had decided there was no reason to upgrade to the 2020 12.9″ iPad Pro, but maybe that will change if my 2018 model is starting to struggle.
Is anyone else out there having battery drain issues while using the Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro? If so, have you found any solutions or workarounds other than turning the backlight off? If so, let me know in the Comments section below or on Twitter @iPadInsightBlog.