Apple warns that closing your MacBook with a camera cover could damage the display

Shawn Knight

Posts: 12,376   +121
Staff member
Editor's take: Apple isn't wrong in its recommendation to avoid using an overly thick camera cover on its MacBooks as doing so could indeed damage the display when you close the lid. But to put your full trust in Apple's camera activity indicator is a big ask. To think that a hacker couldn’t figure out how to turn on the webcam without activating the LED is a bit naive. IMO, in this day and age, you have to operate under the assumption that someone is always watching or listening.

Apple is advising MacBook users not to close their computer lids with a camera cover in place as doing so might damage the screen.

Privacy advocates have long been suspicious of devices like webcams that can theoretically be used to transmit video without a user’s consent or knowledge. The best line of defense that paranoid users had, it seemed, was to simply obscure the camera’s view with something like a piece of tape.

The extra layer of protection didn’t really gain mainstream traction until mid-2016 when a photo of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg appeared to show tape over the webcam on his laptop. Even the former director of the FBI, James Comey, admitted to doing the same thing after seeing someone “smarter than I am” do it.

Sales of aftermarket webcam covers have no doubt surged over the past few years but their usage doesn’t come without some risk. As Apple correctly highlights, the clearance between the display and keyboard is very low and if your camera cover is too thick, it could damage the display when you close the lid.

Apple in a recently updated support document notes that the webcams on its MacBook, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro feature a camera indicator light that serves as a visual indicator of when the camera is on. “The camera is engineered so that it can’t activate without the camera indicator light also turning on,” Apple said.

Using an aftermarket camera cover might also interfere with a laptop’s ambient light sensor, thus preventing features like automatic brightness and True Tone from working correctly.

In the event your work environment requires a camera cover or you simply insist on it, Apple urges you to make sure it isn’t any thicker than an average piece of printer paper. You may also want to avoid a cover that will leave an adhesive residue behind.

Masthead credit: Mike_shots

Permalink to story.

 

Squid Surprise

Posts: 3,216   +2,104
I'm all for covering your webcam while your laptop is OPEN.... but there's no point having the camera covered if the laptop is CLOSED!!!

Oh no... a spy can see my keyboard without any ambient light...

Now, is there a way to cover your microphone...
 

m4a4

Posts: 1,862   +1,593
TechSpot Elite
I'm all for covering your webcam while your laptop is OPEN.... but there's no point having the camera covered if the laptop is CLOSED!!!

Oh no... a spy can see my keyboard without any ambient light...

Now, is there a way to cover your microphone...
...And what? Rip the tape off every time you close the lid? lol

There's no way people are making a chore out of replacing the cover every time they open the lid.
 

Squid Surprise

Posts: 3,216   +2,104
...And what? Rip the tape off every time you close the lid? lol

There's no way people are making a chore out of replacing the cover every time they open the lid.
lol... this isn't about tape!! Tape is fine to close your laptop with... this is about those ridiculous after-market webcam covers that people actually PAY for.... and they're breaking the displays...

Like this idi0tic one from Amazon:

$30 for a magnetic POS that can easily be replicated by a piece of tape :)

Oh... and you still need to take it off when you actually want to USE the camera...
 
  • Like
Reactions: trgz and yRaz

Adhmuz

Posts: 2,019   +812
lol... this isn't about tape!! Tape is fine to close your laptop with... this is about those ridiculous after-market webcam covers that people actually PAY for.... and they're breaking the displays...

Like this idi0tic one from Amazon:

$30 for a magnetic POS that can easily be replicated by a piece of tape :)

Oh... and you still need to take it off when you actually want to USE the camera...
I actually face palmed when I saw that, I couldn't believe you, $30?

What's more disturbing is it has 370 comments, so people have bought it, however upon further investigation the first comment states they bought it for £4.99, so in true nature this is just Amazon.ca gouging by the seller because Canadians have to pay more for everything.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Squid Surprise

Squid Surprise

Posts: 3,216   +2,104
I actually face palmed when I saw that, I couldn't believe you, $30?

What's more disturbing is it has 370 comments, so people have bought it, however upon further investigation the first comment states they bought it for £4.99, so in true nature this is just Amazon.ca gouging by the seller because Canadians have to pay more for everything.
That's still £4.99 too much.... but yeah, people are complete fools...