The Drop ALT and the Drop CTRL are two PREMIUM mechanical keyboards that are wildly popular in the community.
But do Drop keyboards work with Mac computers?
Yes, Drop mechanical keyboards are fully compatible with Mac. However, you’ll probably need to open your System Preferences and tweak 1-2 settings (the keyboard modifiers). Additionally, the Drop CTRL and ALT are compatible with the customization software Via (customizing your keyboard through QMK), and this also works great on Macs!
But there’s ALSO a way to use the Massdrop Configurator on Macs as well.
Below I’ll break down the setup details!
Read on ⌨️
Can I use a Drop Keyboard on Mac?
Yes, you can!
- Drop ALT (60% compact size)
- Drop CTRL (80% TKL size)
- Drop SHIFT (100% full size)
All of these work on Macs (with 1-2 settings changes).
- A COMPACT LAYOUT: The ALT mechanical keyboard is a smaller take on Drop’s CTRL model. It features 67 keys instead of 87. Absent of function keys, it wastes no space—but it still has a full set of...
- A SOLID BUILD: Constructed with a solid aluminum frame with a built-in switch plate and magnetic legs, the ALT is rock-solid and ready for any setup.
- HALO CLEAR SWITCHES: This ALT model comes equipped with Halo Clear switches, which have a slight preload and a light-yet-sharp tactile bump. Primarily used for typing, Halo Clear switches gently...
However, it’s worth noting that Drop keyboards (and most mechanical keyboards, for that matter) are technically Windows keyboards by default.
Here’s the main difference between Mac and Windows computers:
- The Modifier keys: These are your Control, Option, Windows, and Command keys. On a Windows keyboard, the modifier keys are in a different order than they are on a Mac.
- The Keycaps: This won’t affect functionality, but Drop 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 Drop keyboards
All that said, there are a few simple tweaks that can make your Drop keyboard 90% functional on any MacOS device.
Let’s get into it.
How to Connect Drop Keyboards to a Mac Computer
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 should make your Drop reach about 90% functionality–and if you’d like to take it further with customization, see our tips below.
Troubleshooting tips if you experience any problems connecting or using Drop
If you’re having trouble connecting your Drop 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 Drop 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 Drop support or post on Reddit
If you’re still having issues connecting the Drop to your Mac, you might either…
Customizing Drop Keyboards (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
Luckily, Drop keyboards support QMK firmware customization (through the Via app OR the Drop keyboard configurator).
Via is easy to set up on Mac.
To get started, you can…
- Download and install the Via software (it’s free)
- Connect your Drop keyboard
- The software SHOULD automatically detect your keyboard, and you can start making changes immediately.
If that doesn’t work for any reason, you might head to your keyboard product page and download the specific JSON file (and then install it in Via).
You can create and assign macros, edit key assignments, create function layers, and more!
Can you use the Drop Keyboard Configurator on Mac?
Yes, you should be able to use the Drop Configurator to customize the key binds, macros, etc, on your Drop keyboard.
- First, head to their website and make your customization changes.
- Press the “download and compile” button to download the firmware changes
Next, you’ll need to “flash” your keyboard (i.e. reset it with the firmware changes).
- Download the Drop Configurator Mac version here.
- Launch the application
- Follow the flashing instructions to resert your keyboard firmware
Note: If you have to download Drop software anyways, I recommend downloading and using Via instead. It’s easier, and you could potentially use it with other mechanical keyboards in the future.
Using Keyboard Maestro
Keyboard Maestro is a GAME-CHANGER for any Mac user, really, but especially if you’re constantly switching mechanical keyboards, etc.
It works with any and all keyboards, period 🙂
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).
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.
More Mac-friendly keyboards
Though we love everything that Drop 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
- Budget Pick: RK84 (this has a Fn keybind to switch between macOS and Windows)
Want to see our full list? Read this post: The 7 Best Mechanical Keyboards for Mac.
Happy clacking, Mac friends! Enjoy your Drop keyboard!