scorecardApple warns that closing your MacBook while the camera is covered can damage its screen
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Apple warns that closing your MacBook while the camera is covered can damage its screen

Lisa Eadicicco   

Apple warns that closing your MacBook while the camera is covered can damage its screen
Tech2 min read
  • Apple has published a support page warning MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and MacBook owners to remove any camera coverings before closing their laptop.
  • Closing an Apple laptop while the camera is covered could damage the display or prevent features like True Tone from working properly, the website says.
  • Apple instead advises users to rely on the Mac's green indicator light to see when the camera is in use, or to use a camera cover that's no thicker than a piece of paper.
  • The warning comes after some MacBook Pro owners have reported in online forums that they've broken their screens after using camera covers.

If you regularly cover your laptop's camera when it's not in use, you might want to think twice before closing your laptop without removing the cover, Apple warns. A failure to do so could damage your laptop's display.

Apple recently published a support page that advises customers not to leave their camera cover on when closing their MacBook, MacBook Air, or MacBook Pro, as MacRumors first noticed. Doing so could damage the display or prevent features like automatic brightness and True Tone from working correctly since it may interfere with laptop's ambient light sensor.

Apple laptops may be prone to damage if closed with while the camera is covered because "the clearance between the display and the keyboard is designed to very tight tolerances," the website says.

The company advises users to instead rely on the green indicator light that appears when an app is using the camera on a Mac.

"The camera is engineered so that it can't activate without the camera indicator light also turning on," Apple says.

However, if your job requires that you cover the webcam at all times, Apple advises that you use a cover that isn't thicker than the average piece of paper (0.1 mm), avoid using a cover that leaves residue, and remove the camera cover before closing it if you're using one that's thicker than 0.1 mm.

Threads on Reddit and a MacRumors forum have indicated that owners of the 16-inch MacBook Pro in particular have experienced this firsthand. The 16-inch model has a noticeably thinner bezel framing its display compared to other Apple laptops, and an Apple repair technician told ZDNet that "anything that gets in-between the screen and the body can break the display in a heartbeat."

Apple has published its warning against closing your MacBook while its camera is covered as people have been working from home and relying on video chat services because of the coronavirus pandemic.

And for some, working from home may be the new norm even when offices are allowed to reopen. Several companies such as Twitter, Slack, and Shopify have said they'll allow employees to work from home indefinitely if they choose. A 451 Research survey from late June indicates that two-thirds of companies may adopt work-from-home policies permanently.

The Apple technician who spoke to ZDNet said they see customers bring in MacBooks with all sorts of unofficial camera coverings — Band-Aids, stickers, and even glued plastic — adding they've been told that the usage of camera covers has increased as people have begun working from home. That could be why Apple is only now issuing official guidance through its support page on how to properly use laptop camera coverings without damaging the display.