Are trackpad, palm rest and touch bar protectors recommended for the MBP 2019 15"?

hajime

macrumors 603
Original poster
Jul 23, 2007
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Hi, for MBP made about 15 years ago, we used palm rest and touch bar protectors because for some users, the sweat from the palms left ugly dark sports on the palm rest areas. For the MBP 2019 15" (aluminium silver color), is there any point to get protectors for the palm rest, trackpad and perhaps also the touch bar?
 

ApfelKuchen

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Aug 28, 2012
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Between the coasts
Some people will always recommend protectors, others consider them unnecessary in most situations. If you feel better using them, then do. If you're looking for votes, maybe you should create a poll.

For whatever it's worth, I don't recall seeing any discussions along the lines of, "You should use a protector for your MacBook Pro/MacBook Air" - if it was once a popular topic for discussion, it doesn't seem to be one over the past five years or so (the limits of my memory). These days, butterfly keyboard and the Touch Bar are the big discussion-drivers.

In some circumstances protectors are undoubtedly a good idea - environments where it's hard to keep hands or surfaces clean, etc.). In more typical situations... it's harder to know.

I don't use screen/surface protectors for any of my gear - iPhone, iPad, Watch, Macs (though I haven't had a laptop in many years). I'm concerned that protectors will have an impact on touch performance/sensitivity. Since I've never used protectors, I don't know if my concerns have any basis in fact. I've also yet to break or seriously scratch my screens, so nothing bad has happened that might encourage me to do something to prevent it from happening again. (I do have cases for my iPhone and iPad - I'm not totally care-free.)

Others, of course, have had bad things happen and may want to take extra steps to prevent those bad things from happening again.

The anodized aluminum surfaces of a Mac/iPhone/iPad are highly resistant to damage from routine handling. Any chemical substance that might harm the aluminum is far more likely to harm your skin. If the palm rest was regularly exposed to abrasive dust, then I can imagine your hands gradually polishing the aluminum. But in most home/office environments, dust is mostly soft - sloughed-off skin cells, lint from fabrics and paper, etc.

If oils build up, some gentle cleaning should remove them. While Apple's "How to Clean" article https://support.apple.com/HT204172 says to not "spray cleaners directly onto the item," and to not use aerosol sprays, solvents, or abrasives, overall I interpret that to mean that it's probably OK to lightly dampen a non-abrasive cleaning cloth with a mild cleaning solution if the grime can't be removed with a clean, dry cloth.

People also have differing attitudes about wear-and-tear. If I regularly use a tool, I expect it to show signs of that use. Others want their stuff to look brand-new until the day it is retired. In the end, do what will make you happy.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
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Boston
If you're older MBP didn't discolor with your usage, then I'd say its not needed.
 
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960design

macrumors 68030
Apr 17, 2012
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Destin, FL
I've never used one. Just clean up the trackpad and palm rests with a microfiber cloth that is very slightly damp.
The F and J keys seem to shine more than any other key after a couple of years.
 

hajime

macrumors 603
Original poster
Jul 23, 2007
5,383
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If I recall correctly, those black dots were developed due to strong acid concentration in the sweat of some users. I think people called it pitting?

By the way, do the surface of the keys of those butterfly keyboard get scratched by the fingernails easily? I remember that in some older MBP models, without a protector, thin scratch lines showed up on the keys easily.
 
Last edited:

ApfelKuchen

macrumors 68040
Aug 28, 2012
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Between the coasts
If I recall correctly, those black dots were developed due to strong acid concentration in the sweat of some users. I think people called it pitting?

By the way, do the surface of the keys of those butterfly keyboard get scratched by the fingernails easily? I remember that in some older MBP models, without a protector, thin scratch lines showed up on the keys easily.
If someone's sweat was that acidic, it would affect far more objects than the metal palm rest of their computer - their touch might bleach dyed fabrics, for example. Presumably, they'd know they had some sort of problem, and eventually learn to wash their hands more frequently, and clean surfaces after they've been touched. However, even the most acidic sweat would be very mild compared to something that can damage anodized aluminum.

Does bare aluminum darken when exposed to acids (like wine in an aluminum saucepan)? Yes. That's the reason for anodizing aluminum cookware. I think "acidic sweat" is a hypothesis, not a known cause. If the anodizing of the palm rest was defective/insufficiently durable, then perhaps discoloration of the exposed bare aluminum could occur, but "pitting" is probably overstating things.

What seems far more likely to me is a mixture of skin oils and dirt filling depressions in the textured surface of the metal, not unlike a "seasoned" iron frying pan or wok. This hypothesis requires fewer unusual conditions (i.e. unnaturally acid sweat + failure of anodizing), so it seems more likely to me. This, too, is a hypothesis, so take it or leave it.
 

Webster's Mac

macrumors regular
Dec 18, 2016
236
186
I wouldn't...usually those keyboard protectors make the typing experience terrible. You'd make an already subpar keyboard even worse...

Just wipe it down with a microfiber (slightly damp if needed) and if you're worrying about keyboard marks on the display, put a dry microfiber in between the keyboard and display when transporting.
 

TommyBoy5

macrumors regular
Dec 6, 2010
116
82
I just bought a new 15" 2019 MBP and researched it a bit. The issue is my AppleWatch. It scrapes on the left palm rest. It's actually uncomfortable to type while wearing a watch. I found kits on Amazon for $10. I only need the left side one.

No need for the keyboard protection in my opinion.
 

Donnation

macrumors 6502a
Nov 2, 2014
723
655
I just bought a new 15" 2019 MBP and researched it a bit. The issue is my AppleWatch. It scrapes on the left palm rest. It's actually uncomfortable to type while wearing a watch. I found kits on Amazon for $10. I only need the left side one.

No need for the keyboard protection in my opinion.
I have this exact same issue. I buy complete skins for any MacBook Pro I purchase. The palm rests are really easy to install, as well as if you want one on the trackpad (I always do it). The ones I purchase are from bestskinsever.com and they are awesome. I've never had to replace one and they don't ever get yellowy or peel off at the edges.

I will say this though, its a wet install. Its just a small amount of moisture and you need to take your time but if you are just wanting to do the palm rests it should take you about 10 minutes and you'll be done. I highly recommend it.
 
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TommyBoy5

macrumors regular
Dec 6, 2010
116
82
I have this exact same issue. I buy complete skins for any MacBook Pro I purchase. The palm rests are really easy to install, as well as if you want one on the trackpad (I always do it). The ones I purchase are from bestskinsever.com and they are awesome. I've never had to replace one and they don't ever get yellowy or peel off at the edges.

I will say this though, its a wet install. Its just a small amount of moisture and you need to take your time but if you are just wanting to do the palm rests it should take you about 10 minutes and you'll be done. I highly recommend it.
Excellent. I bought one for my Apple Watch Series 4. Wet install. Took maybe two minutes to install. I am shocked how great it is. I can't tell it's there. Protects my watch perfectly. It's been on for two months now with zero discoloration or peeling at the edges. Best part is they sent six of them for $8 so I have five more. I'll take your advice and get the ones above for my new MBP. Thanks!