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I love this iPhone case's physical keyboard, but that isn't even its best feature

I love this iPhone case's physical keyboard, but that isn't even its best feature
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Matthew Miller/ZDNET

ZDNET’s key takeaways

  • The Clicks Keyboard for iPhone 15 Pro/Pro Max is available for $139/$159 in four colors.
  • The keyboard is well-designed and supports hundreds of shortcuts, has a backlight, and increases your iPhone’s display area.
  • However, it increases the overall size of your iPhone and is fairly pricey. 

Recently, I met up with two long-time friends in the mobile industry at CES 2024 to talk about their new company. It’s called Clicks, and it just released its first product, the Clicks Keyboard. It’s a physical keyboard that attaches to the bottom of your iPhone 15 Pro or Pro Max, but is much more than just that. 

We chatted about their long history of using phones with physical keyboards, their attention to detail in product development, and the hard work they put into this new keyboard accessory. As soon as pre-orders launched, I ordered my own Clicks keyboard in the “London Sky” color for my iPhone 15 Pro Max.

Also: The best phones of 2024

So far, I’ve been extremely pleased with the accessory. It has lived on my iPhone since it arrived two weeks ago, except while out running, biking, and in a few instances where I needed to pocket a smaller phone. One great feature of the keyboard is the ease of removing the device entirely should you need to.

View at Clicks

Clicks is a one piece accessory with a silicone body and rigid back panel. Raised buttons are present for the right side button, volume buttons, and action button. A rigid frame surrounds the back camera array while also offering some protection. There is also a textured vegan leather panel on the lower back part of the case. 

36 buttons are positioned at the bottom of the case, and trust me, a lot of attention went into the placement and design of these keys. The keyboard is powered by connecting to your phone, and even has a backlight for low light conditions. Pass-through charging and wireless charging are supported by the keyboard, but I discovered that my Viture Pro XR glasses do not work with the Clicks keyboard in place.

The ability for Clicks to seamlessly connect with iOS without any need for a third party application or keyboard is fantastic. There is a wide assortment of keys on the keyboard here, including a left shift button, 123 key to access numbers and symbols, CMD button to activate iOS native shortcuts, another button to show/hide the keyboard and emojis, and a microphone button that lets you enter speech-to-text. 

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Matthew Miller/ZDNET

Some of the native iOS shortcuts that you can use include:

  • CMD and H: Returns you to the Home screen
  • CMD and Spacebar: Launches iOS search
  • Spacebar in Safari/Chrome: Scrolls down web pages
  • Tap to wake: With Face ID, just tap on any button to wake your iPhone
  • CMD and N: In Messages, composes a new message
  • CMD and R: In Messages, creates a reply

These are just a few shortcuts; ultimately there is a lot to explore here, and some third-party apps may also support their own shortcuts. This tutorial on how to fully optimize your Click keyboard was instrumental for me to create my own shortcuts, which is what really transforms the Clicks keyboard into an efficient tool that goes beyond improved typing. 

Also: The best iPhone 15 screen protectors

Using the native iOS shortcuts and setting up custom ones in the Shortcuts is where the real power behind this accessory comes into play. It’s also refreshing to have the entire display of my iPhone 15 Pro Max visible, instead of having a pop-up keyboard that consumes a third of the screen. I also hate the default iPhone keyboard, and find third party keyboards to be mostly an exercise in frustration.

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Matthew Miller/ZDNET

My biggest challenge now is memorizing all the shortcuts I’ve created, but the ability to quick launch apps, repeat regular actions easily, and enjoy the full display of my iPhone is well worth the effort. 

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Clicks is available for the two iPhone 14 Pro models and all four models of the iPhone 15. Availability of the various colors varies, so check back on the website if you don’t see the one you want. I would love to hear which shortcuts you created and find the most useful, so leave a comment below.

ZDNET’s buying advice

The original iPhone launched when there were still phones with physical QWERTY keyboards, and now thanks to Clicks we are coming full circle with some well-designed analog functionality. Lots of lessons have been learned in the process, and the folks at Clicks truly brought their expertise and attention to detail with the design and build of the Clicks Keyboard. It is now an essential accessory for me, and I continue to figure out ways to make it better on a regular basis.

If you miss the physical keyboard on devices like the Blackberry, this accessory is well worth the cost. 

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