Like many MacBook accessories, keyboard covers are a bit of an unknown: they seem like a good idea, but for less than $10, how good can they really be? Will they make your computer more useful, or just make typing terrible?
There are a lot of questions you might have about these covers, so we’ve done some research in an effort to answer them.
What Good is a Keyboard Cover?
There are a few obvious benefits to keyboard covers; for example, they help keep your MacBook’s case clean, and prevent dust and other contaminants from getting in under your keys, saving you the hassle of cleaning your laptop’s keyboard. Keyboard covers can easily be cleaned with soap and water.
They can also give you limited protection against spills on your MacBook, as they’ll keep any liquids from getting into your computer through the small spaces between the keys and the case. Of course, there are other entry points where liquids could cause problems, but a keyboard cover is an easy way to limit potential damage.
Beyond protecting your computer, keyboard covers can have a wide variety of useful markings, like this one that displays the keyboard shortcuts for Final Cut Pro X:
There are similar keyboard covers for a variety of programs, including Photoshop, Illustrator, Logic Pro X, Lightroom, and Pro Tools. If you’re looking for Excel keyboard shortcuts, you can get those on a keyboard cover, too. You can even get a cover that displays the shortcuts for your operating system.
Of course, not all of the keyboard covers out there are designed to help you accomplish something. A lot of them simply let you customize the look of your laptop. Apple’s design is great, but it does lack a sense of individuality — the silver-and-black color scheme, while extremely sleek, isn’t exactly exciting.
That’s why keyboard covers come in a huge array of colors, from simple colors to rainbows to fades, from galaxies to Disney villains.
What’s It Like to Use One?
Because I’d never used one before, I bought a keyboard cover to test out for a while. I got the #1 seller in Amazon’s “Computer Keyboard Skins” category, the Kuzy Silicone Skin for MacBook Pro. It was only $8, so it seemed worth a try.
I have to say, the first thing I noticed is that it does certainly make my computer stand out. I chose the sky blue color, and I absolutely love how it looks. It sits perfectly over the keys, and doesn’t cause any noticeable change in shape. My MacBook still closes fine, because the silicone is very thin.
The biggest difference that the cover has made is in the feel of the keyboard. I generally use a pretty light touch to hit the keys on my laptop, but I’ve had to put significantly more pressure on the keys to get a consistent hit. I’ve been using it for about a week now, and I’ve gotten used to it, although my hands are notably tired after a day’s worth of typing. If I use a lighter touch, some of the keys don’t register, and I end up having to delete and retype words.
The feel of the silicone is nice, though: it’s a little tacky, and I feel like every press is a solid one. I’ve heard things about keyboard covers yellowing with age, and I can imagine that the feel changes over time, but I haven’t seen any signs of wear yet. Even so, at $8, it would be easy to replace if it the feel changed enough that it was unpleasant.
I’m not likely to keep the keyboard cover on much longer, as it tires out my hands. If you generally have a heavier touch on your keyboard, though, you might not notice a difference in fatigue, and the light sound dampening might be of use to you.
Some people have voiced concerns that a keyboard cover would make it more difficult for the computer to manage heat, but I haven’t seen this happening, and there are very few reports of it being an issue. If your computer runs really hot, or you do a lot of very resource-intensive work all the time, it could have an effect, but I wouldn’t list it as a major concern.
Some Highly Rated MacBook Keyboard Covers
If you’ve decided to invest in a keyboard cover, there are a few big names that you should probably know. The Kuzy keyboard cover that I have comes in over 20 colors, including a number of pretty cool fades and a rainbow design, all in the $7–8 range:
These are for MacBook Pros in various sizes.
A company called All-inside makes a rather interesting series of flag keyboard covers, so you can show your national pride right on your computer for $7:
Again, this particular model will fit MacBook Pros with or without Retina screens, as well as the 13″ MacBook Air.
DHZ offers the Chinese flag and a number of camo, wave, checkerboard, and fade patterns for around $7:
With over 30 different designs, you’ll be sure to find something you like. Ever wanted Spider-Man to break through your keyboard? DHZ has you covered:
If you’re looking for something a bit more useful, the XSKN OS X shortcuts keyboard cover ($17) will help you manage your operating system more efficiently:
If you’re into photo editing or digital graphics, HRH’s Photoshop keyboard shortcuts cover ($6) will be helpful:
If you’re not looking for Photoshop shortcuts, but Illustrator ones, the GMYLE Illustrator cover ($10) is one you might like:
As I mentioned, there’s a huge variety of useful keyboard covers out there. If there’s a specific app that you use and need some help on shortcuts with, just run a search for “MacBook keyboard cover [your app]” and you’ll almost certainly come up with something.
One note on buying keyboard covers, though: the exact keyboard sizes on various types of MacBooks differ, so make sure that the cover you order will fit your computer. Every keyboard cover on Amazon says in the description which computer it’s meant for, so it’s easy to find out. Just make sure to double check.
Do You Use a Keyboard Cover?
Now we want to hear from you. I wasn’t a huge fan of the keyboard cover that I tried out, but how do you feel about them? Do you use one on a regular basis? Does it help you operate an app, or just protect your keyboard and look cool? How do you find the typing experience?
Would you recommend a MacBook keyboard cover others? Share your thoughts and experiences below!