I have loved having Touch ID on my Macs ever since it made it’s debut on the 2018 MacBook Air. My work laptop is a 2021 MacBook Pro. And with my work laptops I prefer to use a mechanical keyboard. When still going into an office, this preference used to annoy many of my coworkers, but now I only get to annoy them when I am simultaneously speak and type on Teams meetings (or in a webinar or two in the past).
My current work desk setup has my MacBook Pro open on a laptop stand, elevated on an arm above my desk. With its being open I do have access to the built-in Touch ID sensor, but it’s inconvenient to reach up there to touch it.
Now, you may think to yourself “i”Is this really such an inconvenience? How often do you have to reach up there?” I will grant the reader that it’s not a constant need, but one of my main uses for it is to unlock 1Password, especially since I make use of its new wonderful ssh agent feature. And, being a Linux admin, I use ssh a lot.
Several months ago I happened across this gist for extracting the TouchID sensor from an Apple keyboard. I loved the idea, but at that time there weren’t a lot of options for me to create a case to hold the sensor. A few months later I check back and I find a simple 3D printed case for it. I didn’t, at that time, own a 3D printer but I had been wanting a good excuse to buy one.
I finally purchased a Creality Ender 3 V2 Neo back in December. I immediately set to attempting to print that case. I was having no luck getting it printed to my satisfaction. I set that aside and printed some other random things (mainly some things my daughter requested once she found out I had a printer). Aside from a few glitches here and there everything else seemed to print fine.
For some reason I revisited the gist and scrolled to the bottom and found that someone else had designed a case that seemed much easier to print. I downloaded and printed that design and was convinced I was ready to proceed.
Of course the first thing I was going to need was a “donor” keyboard from which to remove the Touch ID sensor.
Following along with the instructions from the previously referenced gist, I began the disassembly and extraction of the sensor.
Once I was done with that operation, it was time to install the parts in the case. Sadly, at this point I was ready to be done, so I don’t have as many pictures of this part of the process. Here you can see the sensor in the case itself.
And here is the finished product, sitting on my desk within easy reach.