Saturday, July 13, 2024

Clicks Gives Your iPhone a Physical Keyboard with Shortcuts, Backlighting, and More « iOS & iPhone :: Gadget Hacks

When Steve Jobs introduced the first iPhone, he pointed out that the biggest problem with physical keyboards on mobile phones is that they’re always there, whether you need them or not. Now, 17 years later, a new company is bringing us full circle, giving us the best of both worlds: a physical keyboard for iPhone that can disappear whenever you want.

It’s called Clicks, and it’s the perfect companion for you and your iPhone if you need a break from touchscreen keyboards. And it’s not just an external keyboard — it’s also a protective case you can take off whenever you want to return to the touchscreen keys. Even better, Clicks gives you access to keyboard shortcuts similar to those on your Mac or PC.

Clicks comes from the minds of Clicks Technology co-founders Michael Fisher, Kevin Michaluk, Adrian Li Mow Ching, Liangchen Chen, and Johnathan Young. You may know Fisher as MrMobile, a popular YouTube tech reviewer, and Michaluk as CrackBerry Kevin, CrackBerry founder and tech influencer.

Image via Clicks Technology

The Features That Makes Clicks Worth It

  • It’s powered by your iPhone. Like past attempts at external phone keyboards, Clicks doesn’t have a battery but draws power from the iPhone itself, connected via the Lightning or USB-C port. Omitting a battery means the keyboard is thin and lightweight, doesn’t require Bluetooth, and uses minimal power to not affect your iPhone’s overall performance.
  • You can charge your iPhone at the same time. There’s a pass-through port on the bottom of Clicks, so you can keep it on your iPhone and still plug in a Lightning or USB-C cable to charge your iPhone’s battery. For iPhone models with Lightning ports, you can also transfer data.
  • It’s easy to slide on and off. Like any other silicone case, Clicks is easy to slide on and off your iPhone.
Image via Clicks Technology
  • It has a built-in backlight. A backlight ensures you can still see all the keys on Clicks at night or in dim lighting. That way, you aren’t forced to take Clicks off when you’re in the dark.
  • It uses the QWERTY layout. Clicks has 36 polycarbonate buttons embedded in its silicone membrane, offering tactile feedback reminiscent of physical QWERTY keyboards.
  • You see more of your iPhone’s screen. One of the main advantages of using Clicks is that you’ll no longer have a virtual keyboard taking up nearly half your iPhone’s screen real estate. So you can edit a table, write a long message, draft a new Instagram story, and perform other typing tasks without obstructions.
Image via Clicks Technology
  • You get a number row and special characters. When you hit the 123 button on your iPhone’s virtual keyboard, you get a number row at the top and some commonly used special characters below it. Clicks is similar: Press the 123 button to turn the top row into number keys or input special characters using the remaining letter keys. You can even press the 123 key to lock it, something you can’t do on Apple’s virtual keyboard.
Image via Clicks Technology
Images via Clicks Technology
  • You can still access your on-screen keyboards. Just press %+= to show or hide the virtual keyboard for emoji, other symbols, stickers, etc. You can also press the globe key to cycle through all your virtual keyboards.
  • MagSafe should still work. The silicone Clicks uses is thin enough, so your iPhone will still work with most MagSafe mounts and wireless chargers.
  • It’s vegan. The keyboard’s backside features a vegan leather grip plate in a contrasting color, providing both style and functionality.
  • It’s easier to type without looking at the keys. Clicks aims to deliver a sensational typing experience, combining tactile feedback with advanced technology to create a more engaging and responsive interaction. Not only can you type without looking at your phone, like in the old days, but you’ll also enjoy the satisfying sensation of clicking nicely designed buttons instead of tapping on your screen.
Image via Clicks Technology
  • There’s an iOS app to customize your experience. You can use the app to adjust the backlight, Shift lock, and 123 lock preferences, with more customizations to come.

Concerns and Limitations

Clicks sounds great, but there are some concerns to consider before you decide if the keyboard is right for you:

  • It makes your iPhone bigger. Adding Clicks to your iPhone will obviously make your device bigger, and that may not be something you want. It’s easy to put on and take off when necessary, but you may eventually get used to it.
  • It takes getting used to. Typing on Clicks is definitely different than tapping on the touchscreen keyboard, so expect that you’ll need a few days to get used to it. However, it should start to feel natural and smooth within a few days.
  • It’s not available yet for all iPhone models. Right now, you can only get Clicks for iPhone 14 Pro, 15 Pro, and 15 Pro Max. Other iPhone 14 and 15 series models will be available later this year.
  • Data transfers won’t work on USB-C iPhone models. If you have an iPhone 15 series model, you can still charge your device via USB-C while using Clicks, but you won’t be able to transfer any data.
  • Not all MagSafe accessories will work. While it’s possible to use a MagSafe mount or wireless charger, other MagSafe accessories may not work since Clicks is not a Made for MagSafe keyboard. However, one is being considered.
  • There’s limited language support. Clicks is currently only available in English QWERTY, but you can access your virtual keyboards easily enough.
  • It’s iPhone only. Clicks has been developed specifically for iPhone and currently doesn’t offer Android-compatible options. This may change in the future.

Pricing and Availability

Clicks for iPhone is priced at $139 for the iPhone 14 Pro, with shipping commencing by Feb. 1. You can preorder the iPhone 15 Pro version for $139, which ships in mid-March, and reserve the iPhone 15 Pro Max version ($159) with a $30 deposit, with shipping expected in spring. The keyboard is currently offered in BumbleBee yellow and London Sky gray/blue. You can order directly from Clicks.

Image via Clicks Technology

Exclusive Early Customer Offer

Early adopters of Clicks for iPhone will receive the Founders Edition, individually numbered. In addition, customers gain access to VIP support membership, a private Discord channel, and other exclusive perks.

Just updated your iPhone? See everything that’s new with Apple’s latest iOS update:

Cover photo via Clicks Technology


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