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This guide will explain how to set up the aluminum Apple keyboard with Gentoo Linux.


The Keyboard


The keyboard automatically powers down when you’re not using it and turns on instantly as soon as you start typing. This intelligent power management means you’ll get up to nine months of battery life based on average usage patterns. It also has an on/off switch for when you’re away from your computer for a long time.

It takes 3 'AA' batteries.

To turn it on you just need to press the power button on the right hand side once. To turn it off press and hold the power button until the light goes off.

When the keyboard is off the green light is off, when the keyboard is on the green light is off. When the keyboard is ready to be connected, paired or used for the first time since being turned on and connected, the green light flashes.

Use flags

Make sure you have 'INPUT_DEVICES="keyboard mouse evdev"' in your '/etc/make.conf':

File: /etc/make.conf


INPUT_DEVICES="keyboard mouse evdev"


Installing BlueZ

I am assuming you already have a Linux compatible Bluetooth dongle. You first need to install BlueZ this provides Linux with the core Bluetooth layers and protocols.

# emerge net-wireless/bluez-libs
# emerge net-wireless/bluez-utils

Then you need to start BlueZ and tell it to start on boot:

# /etc/init.d/bluetooth start
# rc-update add bluetooth default
Note: This guide is only for BlueZ libs and utils v2.25-r1. Versions after that do not have the 'hidd' and 'bluepin' tools as they work differently (but no one seems to know how!) If you have to use a later version you could try emerging it with the 'old-daemons' flag.

Configuring BlueZ

Turn your keyboard on, the green light should be flashing, then scan for it and note down its hardware address:

$ hcitool scan

You should get an output like this (where 'xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx' is your keyboards hardware address):

Scanning ...
xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx Apple Wireless Keyboard

There are three configuration files you need to edit;


Open '/etc/bluetooth/pin' with your favorite editor and enter 4 random numbers eg.

# nano /etc/bluetooth/pin
File: /etc/bluetooth/pin


Note: I'm not sure if editing this first file is necessary, you will need to enter a pin to pair with your keyboard later but I think it is independent of this file - perhaps someone could clarify?.

Open '/etc/bluetooth/hcid.conf' in your favorite editor and add the options specifically for your keyboard by adding the following stanza:

# nano /etc/bluetooth/hcid.conf
File: /etc/bluetooth/hcid.conf

device xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx {
    name "Apple Wireless Keyboard";
    auth enable;
    encrypt enable;

Open '/etc/conf.d/bluetooth' in your favorite editor and make sure it contains these entries:

# nano /etc/conf.d/bluetooth
File: /etc/conf.d/bluetooth

# Start of hcid (allowed values are "true" and "false")


# Start hidd (allowed values are "true" and "false")

# Arguments to hidd
HIDD_OPTIONS="--connect xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx"


That's it! Give BlueZ a restart and you should be ready to pair and use your shiny silver keyboard...

# /etc/init.d/bluetooth restart


Restart the keyboard using the switch on the side (power off and on) to make it discoverable. Do not hit any keys on your Apple Keyboard unless this guide says so. It might cause all sorts of strange trouble during the pairing procedure. Right after restarting the keyboard, run the following command:

# hidd --connect xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx

hidd will now try to connect to the keyboard. Enter a 4 digit PIN and hit the enter key (both on your Apple Keyboard). Right after hitting enter, you will be asked by 'bluepin' for the PIN you just entered. Enter it (on your old keyboard). "hidd" should finish without further outputs. You should now be set up.

Using your keyboard

Turning the keyboard on before it has connected will cause the green light to flash. So if you turn it on as your computer is booting, this is normal. I find it will continue to flash until I use it for the first time (say on the login screen). However, if the keyboard stays in this state for too long you will need to restart it again before you can use it. Once it has been used there seems to be no problem with it coming in and out of sleep mode.


Note: If you have problems configuring X11 (xorg.conf), this forum thread may help:

Check to see if evdev is working with your keyboard and note its event no.

$ cat /proc/bus/input/devices
I: Bus=0005 Vendor=05ac Product=022d Version=0136
P: Phys=xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx
S: Sysfs=/class/input/input5
U: Uniq=xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx
H: Handlers=kbd event5
B: EV=12001b
B: KEY=10000 0 0 1 1007b00010007 ff9f217ac14057ff febeffdfffefffff fffffffffffffffe
B: ABS=10000000000
B: MSC=10
B: LED=1f

You now need to amend you '/etc/X11/xorg.conf' file, use below as an example"

File: /etc/X11/xorg.conf

Section "ServerLayout"
	InputDevice		"Apple Inc. Keyboard"	"SendCoreEvents"


Section "InputDevice"
        Identifier      "Apple Inc. Keyboard"
	Driver          "evdev"
	#Option          "Device"        	"/dev/input/event7"		 # (cat /proc/bus/input/devices)
	Option          "Name"          	"Apple Inc. Keyboard"		# (cat /proc/bus/input/devices)
	Option		"Phys"			"xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx"		# (cat /proc/bus/input/devices)
	Option 		"XkbRules"		"xorg"
      	Option          "XkbModel"      	"macintosh"
        Option          "XkbLayout"     	"gb"
	Option 		"XkbVariant"		"mac"


Note: You will notice the "Device" option is commented out, it is not recommended you use this option but if you're having problems try using it instead of the "Name" or "Phys" options. It is really only needed if you are not using HAL.

Number pad

Problem: your number pad isn't working.

Symptoms: enabling numlock doesn't enable the number pad, but converts the right half of the standard keys into a number pad.

This is a heavy-handed solution. It will enable the number pad unless you turn numlock on. Edit ~/.xmodmap as follows:

File: $HOME/.xmodmap

keycode 157 = KP_Equal
keycode 79 = KP_7
keycode 80 = KP_8
keycode 81 = KP_9
keycode 82 = KP_Subtract
keycode 83 = KP_4
keycode 84 = KP_5
keycode 85 = KP_6
keycode 86 = KP_Add
keycode 87 = KP_1
keycode 88 = KP_2
keycode 89 = KP_3
keycode 90 = KP_0
keycode 91 = KP_Decimal

This may not be necessary as of kernel version 2.6.27. Also, this was only tested with the wired version of the Apple aluminum keyboard; check xev if you're not sure about the keycodes.



Note: I would only recommend doing this after you have got your keyboard working with BlueZ.

To give you a graphical representation of what your Bluetooth connections are up to you can install and run 'KDEBluetooth';

# emerge net-wireless/kdebluetooth
$ kbluetoothd

When it is running you should see a Bluetooth icon in your panel. To finish configuring, right click and go to 'configuration' > 'Paired devices' > 'File location setup' and set the 'Link key file to '/var/lib/bluetooth/YOUR DONGLE'S HW ADDRESS/linkkeys'

Keyboard Layout

To setup the correct keyboard layout just load up the KDE control center, go to 'Regional & Accessibility' > 'Keyboard Layout'.

To set up the correct keyboard shortcuts just load up the KDE control center, go to 'Regional & Accessibility' > 'Keyboard shortcuts'.

Volume buttons

Play/track buttons


I found it would only connect when my USB dongle was in a specific USB port, even of the same chipset. My only guess is that it is a power issue.

Anyway, if strange things happen when you have connected, like repeated keys, or you can't connect. Try a different USB port and restart Bluetooth.

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Last modified: Thu, 31 Jul 2008 21:13:00 +0000 Hits: 4,464