At the end of Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix Fudge says following:

'Now see here, Dumbledore!' said Fudge, as Dumbledore picked up the head and walked back to Harry carrying it. 'You haven't got authorisation for that Portkey! You can't do things like that right in front of the Minister for Magic, you - you - '

This means that the creation of Portkeys is controlled by the ministry and creating one is if not a crime, at least a violation of some rule.

On the other side apparition is free - practically every adult wizard is allowed (and is able) to do it. There seems to be no restrictions for it. While it is not part of the standard classes in Hogwarts, the ministry does not do anything else to discourage people from learning it.

Why is that? Apparition seems to have shorter range than Portkeys but one can just repeat it and achieve more or less the same effect (unless you have a huge body of water to cross).

  • 2
    I don't think you can apparate and then repeat to reach anywhere. You can run for a while, but it doesn't mean you can run across continent.
    – user931
    Commented Oct 30, 2015 at 17:35

6 Answers 6


Because they can be.

Apparition is actually restricted, and Goblet mentions people being fined for doing it without a license.

Enforcement though is more difficult, and laws against things that can't be prevented or monitored tend to either not be passed or not enforced in the real world, so we can expect this to be the case when it comes to this fiction.

Unenforceable laws aren't just pointless (they can have symbolic value, so they aren't entirely without value) but are contrary to the ruling powers' goals; if people realise they are continually breaking the law, they become less worried about breaking the law, and more inclined to disregard other laws.


Simply, because you could use Portkeys to forcibly take someone away from where they want to be.

We saw this with the Triwizard Tournament Cup, which took Harry and Cedric to the graveyard where Cedric died and Voldemort returned.

They also present dangers for Muggles, who not only have no defense against Portkeys, but no way to detect them or Apparate to safety after using one.

Apparition, on the other hand, requires the other person to physically touch you in order to take you away, as seen with Side-Along Apparition, and has a shorter range. You have a more reasonable means of defense, even if it's simple avoidance, which helps prevent your persons from being violated or you being kidnapped.

Apparition is also hard work, not without its dangers. A moment of inattention or distraction during Apparition can lead to Splinching, which can be lethal. This means it may be more difficult for a malicious use of Side-Along Apparition to take place, as the assailant would have to keep their concentration while their target is resisting (or incapacitate their target first).

As far as we know, there's a fairly easy defense against Apparition: the Anti-Apparition Charm and Anti-Disapparition Jinx. We see this in the enchantment around Hogwarts. We see no such mention of anti-Portkey magic.

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    Apparition: Requires someone to grab you, to take you with them. Portkeys: Requires you to grab onto it. The PK only worked as an abduction device because they were tricked into grabbing it, but you can be assured it is far easier to just run up to someone and grab them then to trick them into touching a PK.
    – Jonathon
    Commented Oct 30, 2015 at 19:34
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    @JonathonWisnoski I just turned your toilet into a Portkey, but didn't tell you. Have fun next time you sit on it. Side-Along Apparition apparently requires a firm grip to be done, and you can run away from someone running at you.
    – user31178
    Commented Oct 30, 2015 at 19:40
  • A good answer, I hadn't thought of these differences. Hermione also tries to lose Yaxley as he chases her into Apparition, so it would seem there is some defence possible against people who do grab on.
    – ThruGog
    Commented Oct 30, 2015 at 20:18
  • 1
    @StupidOne If you feel it's needed, you're welcome to add it. But, Portkeys are featured in the novel where that happens, and some of the details about Portkeys being so regulated occur after that happens, that I think it's reasonable for people this curious about Portkeys to already know what happened.
    – user31178
    Commented Oct 31, 2015 at 3:44
  • 2
    Also AFAWK Portkeys have no limit on distance, Apparition does. It's also not stated that Portkeys can be blocked like Apparition can. Commented Oct 31, 2015 at 13:31

There's no direct canon reason stated but:

  • Canonically, there were examples of Muggles touching portkeys, and subsequent Muggle exposure.

    One of the most major themes of MoM is hiding the Wizarding World from Muggles. Portkeys seem like a bad idea from that angle

    Accidents have occurred, however; two Muggle dog-walkers found themselves accidentally transported to a Celestina Warbeck concert in 2003 (Portkeys entry on Pottermore)

  • MoM generally controls all "teleport" technology, probably for same reason as above bullet. They control Floo as well. Another reason could simply be that the Ministry are control freaks, which seems to fit the characterizations from canon overall.

  • Portkeys are dangerous - and the risk is on unsuspecting innocent person.

    Also on W.O.M.B.A.T., it is possible that releasing a Portkey before arriving at one's destination may result in serious injury or death. (Wikia, I'm too lazy to find Wombat text to quote).

    Apparating requires one to WANT to apparate, so any risk is on the wizard doing it, their choice. Portkey can cause an unwary person who did NOT intend to get transported to be portkeyed AND as per above, risk death if Portkey is accidentally released (due to surprise) prematurely.

  • the Ministry are control freaks Aren't all Govern'ment agencies control freaks? They have power... and a self serving desire to keep and/or expand that power.
    – WernerCD
    Commented Oct 30, 2015 at 17:54
  • That WOMBAT answer didn't give any points so it's probably not true.
    – ibid
    Commented Jan 24, 2017 at 16:46

In addition to the Apparation licensing mentioned above, it would seem apparition can be regulated by charms that prevent apparating into or disapparating out of a select area. An example is in Deathly Hollows when the were trapped in the Malfoy's cellar.

Ron was now trying to Disapparate without a wand.

“There’s no way out, Ron,” said Luna, watching his fruitless efforts. “The cellar is completely escape-proof. I tried, at first. Mr. Ollivander has been here for a long time, he’s tried everything.”

So portkeys represent a persisting portal to anywhere the key-maker specifies, which can assumedly be closed only by destroying the portkey, while Apparition is an instantaneous portal that can only connect to a place the Apparator knows, and which can be blocked by a blanket spell.


There are several reasons for regulation of Portkeys:

  1. You can force or trick someone to touch a Portkey and kidnap him, while it is a lot harder to kidnap the same person using apparition
  2. Portkeys and apparition do not have same restrictions, as Portkeys can be used on Hogwarts grounds but Apparation can not. This basically means that you can protect your home from unwanted apparition by placing wards, doing same thing with Portkeys is more difficult
  3. Even if apparition is not as closely monitored by Ministry of Magic as Portkeys, people still work at he Department of Magical Transportation who keep an eye on Floo Network, apparition and broom control.
  4. It can be also that since it is a mass means of transportation it has to be regulated to arrive at certain points away from muggle eyes and that can be only achieved by Ministry regulation
  5. There is also possibility of earning money. Since Floo and Apparition is sometimes unstable, and broom travel takes large amount of time, it is possible that Ministry is using Portkeys as means of longer travel and receives payment by travelers for its services.

It might be because while Portkeys have an infinite range, Apparation does not.

Loved the movie. Burning Q from my wife though: How come Newt travels by boat to cross the Atlantic instead of apparating?

J.K. Rowling: There's a limit to how far you can Apparate. Inter-continental Apparition is very dangerous!

Why couldn't Newt have used a portkey? It can't have been difficult for him to register one since he works at the Ministry.

J.K. Rowling: Consider the effect on the contents of his case...


There are also many other restrictions on Apparation which other answers have pointed out.

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