Earlier this month, Apple released a support document warning MacBook owners to shut down their laptop with a camera case mounted. And just like with all the masks in the public debate, there are some people who don’t like to know what to do, even for their own good.
First off, some clarity.
Apple did not say, “do not use a camera case.” Apple clearly said, “Don’t close your MacBook, MacBook Air or MacBook Pro with a lid over the camera.”
Apple even went on to clarify the issue:
“Closing your Mac notebook with a camera cover installed can damage the screen because the distance between the screen and the keyboard is designed for very tight tolerances. Coverage of the built-in camera can also interfere with the ambient light sensor and prevent features like automatic brightness and True Tone from to work. “
I spoke with an Apple repair technician who, on anonymity terms, gave ZDNet an overview of the problem.
“What we have been told is that as people have started to work and study from home more, the use of camera housings has increased dramatically,”
Another reason is tighter tolerances.
“The new 16-inch MacBook Pro has the thinnest frame I’ve seen,” said the veteran tech, and they’ve been doing this job for years and have handled pretty much everything Apple has done during that time. “It’s almost non-existent, and everything that comes in between the screen and the body can break the screen in a heartbeat. They do it, they just go” pop “and the damage is done.”
“Only the other day I saw a screen that had been broken when someone has closed a coin on it. Left a nice print of the coin on the screen. The owner told me it only happened on his own … hmmm, OK”
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And it’s not just camera shells that are the problem.
“We see MacBooks come in with all kinds of junk stuck on the camera,” the technician told me, “from the gum stickers. In the very early days of the pandemic, I got a chap with a MacBook where he enthusiastically glued some plastic over the camera and wanted now that it would work because his boss would use Zoom more. It wasn’t going to go off, and it was cheaper for him to buy a webcam than to replace the screen. “
“Oh, and it was this other one,” they reminded. “It had a band aid on over the camera. And it looked used. Hmmm.”
Apple’s support document contains information for those who need to use camera housings, and it states that the camera casing must not be thicker than an average printer paper (0.1 mm) and must not leave any residue. Owners who use a camera case thicker than 0.1mm are urged to remove it before shutting down the laptop.
Something like a post-It note.
However, there is some good news in all this if you have busted your screen.
“Yes, AppleCare + covers this damage,” the technician confirmed. “Without it, a screen replacement is a seriously expensive repair job, especially on the new 16-inch MacBook Pro.”
Instead of using camera housings, Apple recommends keeping an eye on the camera’s indicator light. If it is green, the camera is on. If not, it is off. And Apple claims the camera is designed so that it cannot be activated without the indicator light on.