Apple Warns Against Closing MacBooks With a Cover Over the Camera

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
49,114
10,456


Apple this month published a support document that warns customers against closing their Mac notebooks with a cover over the camera as it can lead to display damage.

Image via Reddit

Apple says that the clearance between the display and the keyboard is designed to very tight tolerances, which can be problematic. Covering the camera can also cause issues with automatic brightness and True Tone.
If you close your Mac notebook with a camera cover installed, you might damage your display because the clearance between the display and keyboard is designed to very tight tolerances. Covering the built-in camera might also interfere with the ambient light sensor and prevent features like automatic brightness and True Tone from working. As an alternative to a camera cover, use the camera indicator light to determine if your camera is active, and decide which apps can use your camera in System Preferences.
The warnings from Apple likely stem from complaints from MacBook Pro owners who have seen their displays crack after covering the camera, and there are multiple reports and warnings on sites that include MacRumors and Reddit. The issue appears to be especially bad with the new 16-inch MacBook Pro models that have thinner bezels.

Image via the MacRumors Forums

MacRumors forum member Dashwin, for example, put a webcam cover on his 16-inch MacBook Pro in April and the result was a crack in the display under where the camera is located.
The latest MBP 16 inch with the thin tiny bezels and display comes at a cost of breakage with the tiniest of forces with a webcam cover in place. The internal display no longer works and I've had to connect it to an external display. I've had one of the exact same webcam covers on my 2011 MBP with no issues whatsoever for many years.
Damage from applying a webcam cover to the camera is considered accidental and can be repaired under AppleCare+, but it's quite possible it's an issue that Apple won't fix for customers that don't have AppleCare+, and it's an expensive fix.

Apple says that customers concerned about illicit camera access should watch for the green light that comes on when the camera is activated. The camera is engineered so that it can't be accessed without the indicator light turning on.

MacBook owners can also control which apps have access to the built-in camera as users must grant permission for camera use on any operating system after macOS Mojave. For those who do need to cover the camera, Apple recommends a camera cover that's not thicker than the average piece of printer paper (0.1mm) and that does not leave adhesive residue.

Article Link: Apple Warns Against Closing MacBooks With a Cover Over the Camera
 
Last edited:

AmazinApple

macrumors newbie
Dec 2, 2019
13
77
New York, NY
Maybe Apple should include a privacy cover then? They claim to be privacy focused but ironically leave their cameras completely exposed.
As they said in the article the camera cannot be activated without the green indicator light being turned on and macOS gives you complete control over when and where your camera and microphones are used. So what's the point in that?
 

JM

macrumors 65816
Nov 23, 2014
1,048
1,109
Remember the photo collage of that laptop thief who sat in bed using the computer all the time? 😂

it's anti-theft to leave the camera cover off 😂
 
  • Haha
Reactions: JKAussieSkater

ugahairydawgs

macrumors 68030
Jun 10, 2010
2,734
1,431
So you're saying that if you take a piece of hard plastic and put it on a glass screen and close it between two metal case pieces that have been designed to be super thin that the end result is that the glass breaks?

The only real surprise with this is that this outcome surprises someone.
 

arn

macrumors god
Staff member
Apr 9, 2001
15,166
3,057
As they said in the article the camera cannot be activated without the green indicator light being turned on and macOS gives you complete control over when and where your camera and microphones are used. So what's the point in that?
In the past there's been hacks to bypass the light: https://jscholarship.library.jhu.edu/handle/1774.2/36569

We describe how to disable the LED on a class of Apple internal iSight webcams used in some versions of MacBook laptops and iMac desktops. This enables video to be captured without any visual indication to the user and can be accomplished entirely in user space by an unprivileged (non- root) application.
Apple fixed the design, but it's not like it was impossible in the past.

arn
 

CWallace

macrumors 604
Aug 17, 2007
7,550
3,752
Seattle, WA
I always thought the point of the little green LED next to the camera was so you could tell at a moment's notice whether or not the camera is being utilized.
That is correct. There is malware that can circumvent the light going on when the camera is active on Windows and macOS, but as I understand it on T2-equipped MacBook models, this is not possible because the webcam is controlled from the T2.
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.