Beware of Airport Security

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Murray M, May 1, 2010.

  1. Murray M macrumors regular

    Murray M

    Apr 19, 2010
    I lost a hd in a MBP right after going through airport security last year. I was suspicious, but thought I was just being paranoid: surely MBP's can sleep through an airport xray machine.

    Well, in the last month THE SAME THING JUST HAPPENED TO TWO OTHER MBP's. Perhaps Greece has stronger than usual X-rays. Not only did the hd's get taken out in both machines, BUT I LOST THE MOTHERBOARD IN BOTH MACHINES AS WELL.

    Or you know, it could be European power. I've always felt a mild electrical shock running through MBP cases (US machines I was running in EU). This has consistently happened on 4 machines.

    I guess what I'm saying is:

    1) Consider shutting your MBP's down for security
    2) When working in EU, bring a backup hd
    3) For the love of God, buy Applecare
  2. EstrlM3 macrumors 6502

    Apr 16, 2010
    so you had the computers running while they went through the machine?

    thanks for the heads up. Im paranoid going through with my EOS T1i.
  3. m85476585 macrumors 65816

    Feb 26, 2008
    I always get a static shock when I pick up my MBP from the xray machine. Maybe it's walking around in socks, or the rubber conveyor belt picking up a charge, or the X-ray machine charging the MBP. It hasn't hurt it yet, and I always have it in sleep mode.
  4. EstrlM3 macrumors 6502

    Apr 16, 2010
  5. hypermog macrumors regular

    Nov 17, 2009
    Anyone else have problems taking MBPs through security in the US? I am going to be flying later this month...
  6. youssefm macrumors 6502

    Oct 7, 2008
    I travel a lot and my mbp is either sleeping or shut down, and I've never experience anything from the above. I've flown through JFK, multiple airports in Europe, and Cairo airport in Egypt. I always place my stuff in the plastic bins, and never ran into any issues.
  7. Dextor143 macrumors 6502

    Oct 28, 2008
    same here, I fly all the time with my MBP and never had any problem. Although, I always had it shutdown, that is may be the reason...
  8. scaredpoet macrumors 604


    Apr 6, 2007
    I've flown with my MBP and a Canon T1i through US cities several times. They've survived the X-Ray machines at US airports. Never taken them abroad though.
  9. sjinsjca macrumors 68020


    Oct 30, 2008
    Ditto. Never a problem. Never a "shock," either.
  10. lizardking macrumors newbie


    Oct 7, 2007
    Iowa City, Iowa
    I took my MBP through security (US) just last week both while it was sleeping and shut down; it's fine.
  11. Jaro65 macrumors 68040


    Mar 27, 2009
    Seattle, WA
    I took my MBP on many trips within the US and also to/within Europe. I haven't experienced any issues thus far.
  12. flat five macrumors 603

    flat five

    Feb 6, 2007
    I've flown with a 7yr old PowerBook at least 200 times in the states and abroad. I never shut it down. It still has its original HD in there and it works fine.
  13. xjames macrumors regular

    Feb 12, 2008
    thought US and Brazil airports I never had an issue with the MPB sleeping.

    However, thanks for the warning. No reason not to be careful. I'll shut down from now on.
  14. JoshGlzBrk macrumors 6502a


    Aug 27, 2009
  15. hslightnin macrumors newbie

    Apr 26, 2010
    as an airline pilot in the us, my MBP went through those machines in sleep mode 4-5 times a week. no problems ever.
  16. Inside_line macrumors regular

    Jun 21, 2005
    The conveyor belt machines use different x-rays than the machine you walk through... the machine you walk through is definitely bad and will wipe the drive. If possible, keep away from the walk-through metal detector.
  17. Mirabella macrumors regular

    Apr 27, 2010
    I've been through airport security with a MBP many times. Usually with the computer in sleep mode, not shut down. I've never had any problems from this, whatsoever.
  18. leesweet macrumors 65816


    Feb 1, 2009
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Why is this written like the metal detector uses x-rays? Good grief... Anyway, the magnetic fields in the metal detectors are there for a reason, to detect metal. Why would you carry any laptop through a metal detector?

    As for the original question, my MBP has gone through the US X-ray machines several times in the last week while asleep (normal running, cover closed), no problems at all.
  19. Inside_line macrumors regular

    Jun 21, 2005
    Good grief... the point is to stay away from metal detectors. Sometimes they are in very close proximity to the x-ray machines and people don't think about stuff like this!
  20. m85476585 macrumors 65816

    Feb 26, 2008
    It takes an extremely strong magnetic field to wipe a hard drive. A metal detector only needs to create a small field, and it senses the changes that metal in that field causes. A MRI machine would probably wipe a hard drive, but a metal detector won't.
  21. Inside_line macrumors regular

    Jun 21, 2005
    An MRI machine probably would? MRI is 5 Tesla magnet... generating approximately 30,000x the force of gravity.

    Why argue this point? Much easier to just steer clear of the metal detectors (walk through machines and the wand).

    Now I know why I don't usually post on this forum... good grief!
  22. iketeru macrumors member

    Jul 31, 2007
    I'd be really surprised if x-ray machines ran at high enough energies to affect electronics. airports would have a lot of angry customers...more than usual that is!

    sending a MBP floating into space where it gets bombarded by cosmic rays, now THAT would be a problem ;)
  23. romeo26 macrumors member

    Mar 14, 2010
    as a radiology student. the machines will not have enough power, especially considering the size. the xray machine in the airport is more like a ct machine actually. but even though its like a ct machine it still would be a minimal amount. at the hospitals they have really expensive equipment right next to the xray tubes, ct machines and also the mri machines, they all still work great.

    in order to penetrate through the items at the airport it probably is no more then a finger technique is used!

    the metal detector is another animal, but dont know how they work so cant comment. also the shock you give the mbp when picking it up, can be a factor, but then iam not an electrical engineer!
  24. m85476585 macrumors 65816

    Feb 26, 2008
    Actually, an MRI machine is close to what it takes.
    Of course, they are probably using a significantly stronger field than the minimum that would cause data corruption, but even if the threshold is a factor of 10 below the strength of magnets they are using, that's still a huge field.

    Another source:
    According to this it takes about 2000 Oersteds to affect the data on a hard drive. 1 Oe = 1 Gauss in vacuum (air is close enough) = 10^-4 Tesla. So it takes ~.2T to affect the data on a hard drive. That's close to my estimate of .5T, or 1/10 the strength of a MRI machine (~5T). All these numbers are highly approximate, but since the fields are so strong, it doesn't even matter.

    If a metal detector was anywhere near the strength of an MRI machine, they would have to warn anyone who walks through. Some people have metal implants or piercings that could be affected by a strong field. They don't even let you walk around it if you have some kind of metal on your body, they still make you walk through, then they check you with a wand or pat-down on the other side. I can't find anything on the field strength or power of a metal detector, but there is no reason for it to be high. I did find this video that claims a calculator and AM radio is enough to make one
    I haven't tried it, but it looks plausible. Maybe I'll try it tomorrow.
  25. IntelliUser macrumors 6502

    Nov 1, 2009
    Why does it matter?
    Greece's going through a crisis, they have to cut down the costs somehow.

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