Cherry is one of the oldest & best brands in the world of mechanical keyboards…
But do Cherry keyboards work with Mac computers?
Yes, all Cherry keyboards will function on Mac, even those that aren’t listed as “for Mac.” However, You might have to change a few keyboard settings in macOS System Preferences (swapping the modifier keys) in order to set up the keyboard correctly. Additionally, there are other ways to customize your Cherry mouse, etc, for Mac!
Below I’ll dive into the details of two things:
- Exactly what you need to know to get your Cherry keyboard to function on Mac, and
- Which of the Cherry keyboards work right out of the box, and require about 5 minutes of changing settings!
Let’s go ⌨️
Do Cherry Keyboards Work With Mac Devices?
Yes, they do. This applies to every Cherry keyboard (whether it specifically says “for Mac” or not)
- Cherry KC 6000 for Mac (slim scissor keys similar to Apple keyboards)
- Cherry MX keyboards (mechanical!)
- Cherry Stream
- Thin Design - Keyboard in chiclet design with Mac layout. Quick access to 12 frequently used Mac functions.(such as screen lock, screen brightness, mission control and media control)
- Precise Scissor Mechanism Typing - Durable key lettering with Numeric keypad for convenient number input. Rubber feet for height adjustment for ergonomic writing
- Stable - Built-in metal plate keeps the keyboard stable and non-slip on your desk. If you prefer a steeper angle when typing, the angle of inclination of the iMac compatible keyboard can be adjusted...
And while the Cherry KC is specifically designed for macOS and has all the usual Apple keyboard keys–all of Cherry’s keyboards will work on Mac!
However, it’s worth noting that Cherry keyboards (and most mechanical keyboards, for that matter) are technically set up for Windows keys by default.
Here’s the main difference between Mac and Windows computers:
- The Modifier keys: These are your Control, Option, Windows, and Command keys. The modifier keys on a Windows keyboard are in a different order than on a Mac.
- The Keycaps: This won’t affect functionality, but Cherry keyboards come with keycaps showing the Windows logo (and generally don’t come with a “Command” logo keycap
- Various Functions: On some Apple keyboards, you might have access to the Launchpad, Mission Control, or Siri features. These don’t come on Cherry keyboards
And depending on which keyboard you have, there might be some Windows-related keys (scroll lock, pause break, etc) that don’t work on macOS out of the box (but see below!)
All that said, there are a few simple tweaks that can make ANY Cherry keyboard get 90% functionality on any macOS device.
Let’s get into it.
How to Setup Your Cherry for Mac Computers:
NOTE: Several Cherry keyboards (like the KC 6000) are specifically set up for Mac right out of the box! You shouldn’t need to do the following steps for those.
Here are the steps:
- Plug your keyboard into your Mac
- Open System Preferences → Keyboard
- Under the “Modifier Keys…” dropdown, switch the Option and Command keys. This will put your modifier keys in the correct order for a Mac
That’s it! You should now have a functioning Cherry keyboard on your Mac.
And if functional modifier keys aren’t enough, there are a few other ways to further customize any keyboard on Mac–see below.
Related Post: Cherry MX Switches: A Complete Guide & Comparison (2023)
Troubleshooting tips if you experience any problems connecting or using Cherry
If you’re having trouble connecting your Cherry to a Mac, or if some keys aren’t working correctly, here are a few troubleshooting tips:
Reset your external keyboard for your Mac
When you first connect your Cherry to your machine, you should see a popup assistant asking you to press a few keys to determine the layout, etc.
But you can also delete your keyboard preferences file to start from scratch.
Here’s what you do:
- Disconnect the keyboard
- Head to Finder and click the hard drive icon (under Devices)
- Head to the Library folder, and then the Preferences folder
- Click on the file named com.apple.keyboardtype.plist and drag that into the trash!
- Empty your trash
- Reconnect the keyboard via USB
You should see the setup assistant again! Follow the instructions and you should be good to go.
Reach out to Cherry support or post on Reddit
If you’re still having issues connecting the Cherry to your Mac, you might either…
- Head to Cherry’s website and contact their support team. They have a few different contacts–depending on which country you’re in.
- Post on the r/mk subreddit with your issue (be detailed)
Do Cherry keyboards have software?
No, Cherry doesn’t specifically make customization software for their keyboards.
That said, you can use several third party software to customize key binds, create macros, etc! These will differ from Windows PCs to Mac.
Also, you can check Cherry’s downloads page for any driver update software or product manuals.
Additional Mechanical Keyboard Tips for Mac Users
There are a few other tips and tricks to making the most out of your mechanical keyboard on a Mac:
- Via (only for Via-supported keyboards)
- Keyboard Maestro: A SLICK hotkey & macro tool that’s cheap and flexible!
- Karabiner for Mac
Sadly, Cherry keyboards do not support Via or QMK–so the only way to change keybinds or other custom programming is to use Cherry Engine on Mac, or Keyboard Maestro.
Keyboard Maestro for Cherry Keyboards
Keyboard Maestro is a GAME-CHANGER for any Mac user, especially keyboards that don’t support Via (like Cherry).
It does cost about $30-40 (one time, not a subscription), but it’s totally worth it.
You can use Keyboard Maestro to…
- Set up custom keybinds for ANY key on your keyboard
- Create custom macros
- Change modifier keys
- SO much more
It’s an insanely powerful tool. We highly recommend it (then check out some tutorial videos on YouTube, or here’s a great setup guide).
Karabiner for Mac
Karabiner is a simple tool for customizing SEVERAL things in MacOs, including…
- Mapping one key to another
- Changing modifier keys
- Enabling extra keys on PC keyboards that are not recognized by default in MacOS
It’s also easy to install and setup, and it’s free!
Here’s their documentation that walks you through the setup process, etc.
Other Mac-friendly keyboards
Though we love everything that Cherry puts out, there are several other keyboards that work great for Macs too!
- Keychron Keyboards (can’t go wrong with the 75% K2, or the low-profile K7)
- Anne Pro 2
- Any Das Keyboard mechanical keyboard (setup guide)
- Any Razer keyboard (setup guide)
Want to see our full list? Read this post: The 7 Best Mechanical Keyboards for Mac.
If you’re still shopping for your mech, you can also gauge more of our setup guides here:
- Does the GMMK Pro work with Mac?
- Does Redragon work with Mac?
- Do Corsair Keyboards work on Mac?
- Can Mechanical Keyboards Be Used on Mac?
- Do HyperX keyboards work on Mac?
Happy clacking, Mac friends!
Mac Keyboards F.A.Q.s
Does the Cherry Stream work on Mac?
Yes. Even though the Cherry Stream keyboard doesn’t specifically say “for Mac,” it will absolutely function properly on a Mac computer. You may have to go into System Preferences in order to switch the modifier keys.
Do Cherry switches work on Mac?
Yes. Mechanical keyboards switches are not specific to any operating system. The keyboards themselves, however, generally contain firmware specific to either Mac or Windows, but the keyboard settings can be updated to function on Windows, Mac, or Linux.
Do all mechanical keyboards work with Mac?
Absolutely! Just about any keyboard (mechanical or membrane) will work on a Mac, but you might have to tweak a few settings first (including the modifier keys). This process will be different depending on your specific keyboard, but you can start by changing the modifier keys (Command & Option, specifically) in the macOS System Preferences. With that done, your gaming keyboard should be compatible with most Mac activities.