Potential problems because of cover for MacBook Air?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by jadAce, Aug 25, 2013.

  1. jadAce macrumors regular

    jadAce

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2013
    #1
    I am using a cover for my MacBook Air, and it opens up like a book. It also has some suede material for palm-rests, and when I close the cover, the lid closes on the suede palm-rests (and then you can carry the MBA around in the cover).

    I heard Apple issued a warning about using a palm rest for the MBP, saying that it might leave a gap between the lid and the palm rest area, altering the hinge mechanism permanently so that the MBP doesn't close completely.

    My question is, for the MBA, do you think it would be safe for me to continue using the cover I have (and closing the lid on the palm rests), or should I get a different cover? Has anyone had this kind of an issue because of using a palm rest with the MacBook Air for long periods of time?
     
  2. Mr Rabbit macrumors 6502a

    Mr Rabbit

    Joined:
    May 13, 2013
    Location:
    'merica
    #2
    I would refrain from using those covers for the exact reasons you mentioned.

    [​IMG]
    These types of covers will eventually cause the hinge mechanism to weaken from the added weight. It doesn't seem like much but Apple doesn't factor in third party cases when designing it's counterweight hinge systems. Over time you'll notice the display is a little bit looser and may pop open slightly when sitting in a vertical position. Someone had a similar experience recently in this thread.

    I've never seen a specific problem as a result of the palm rest covers but I've always been unsure of them. The aluminum enclosures on the MacBook Airs & Pros help dissipate heat and as such I'm generally not a fan of blocking those areas unless absolutely necessary. A good portion of the battery resides under the palm rests of your MBAir, assuming I'm right (which is totally debatable!) a palm rest cover could prevent battery heat from escaping as designed, which could lead to shortened battery life or other issues.

    Simply put, aside from sleeves and bags I've never used a cover or palm rest cover on any of my Macs (couple PowerBooks, MacBook Pros, MacBook Air, etc) and have had no problems aside from very minor scratches here and there. Typically if you're a reasonably careful person you only run the risk of likely scratching your bottom case, which is a fairly cheap repair should you ever go to sell your Mac.
     
  3. jadAce thread starter macrumors regular

    jadAce

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2013
    #3
    Thank you very much for the great answer!

    1) The reason I want to use a cover (with built-in palm rests) is because my hands tend to sweat easily. I had this problem on all of the laptops I've used where the trackpad would get discoloration after a few months.
    In your experience, does sweat damage/discolor the aluminum finish of the palmrests for MacBook Air?

    2) If I plan on keeping the MacBook Air in the cover for 99% of the time (for the next 3 years or so), do you think the hinge alterations would be that much of an issue if I don't take it out??

    3) Do you think AppleCare would cover the repair for loose hinges?
     
  4. Mr Rabbit macrumors 6502a

    Mr Rabbit

    Joined:
    May 13, 2013
    Location:
    'merica
    #4

    1) In my experience you will sometimes see discoloration on the trackpad but since it's a glass surface it can typically be cleaned off pretty easily. I'd say as long as you're aware of it and clean it every few weeks/month you'd probably be fine.

    2) More than likely you would experience the display loosening up over time. If you don't move your Mac very often then you might not notice it but if you tend to pick it up and move it around you will notice that your display moves back and forth a bit without you tilting it.

    3) I can't imagine them turning you away. They could blame it on the third party product causing the failure but I would be pretty surprised if they went that route. Worst case you could argue that the case is (or is the same design) as the ones they sold in their stores.
     
  5. jadAce thread starter macrumors regular

    jadAce

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2013
    #5
    Thanks again for the great response. Really appreciate the help.

    Does anyone else think AppleCare would fix the MacBook Air if it would not close completely?
     
  6. ItHurtsWhenIP macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2013
    Location:
    'Merica!
    #6
    Any interest in something like the iCarbons skins for your MBA?

    I put one on the bottom and keyboard of mine to protect it from scratches and, though unlikely, discoloration from oils/sweat/etc..

    Looks pretty slick, too. :)
     
  7. DisplacedMic macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 1, 2009
    #7
    i think there's some over thinking going on. first off - the hinges will get loose over time with most laptops, including macbooks. i really don't believe that putting something like the moshi skin on it adds significant amount of weight.

    that reminds me of people freaking out about power cycling, battery usage and ssd w/rw. your computer will be "obsolete" before most of those issues come around. the battery maybe not withstanding, but i tossed it in that list because people worry about it WAY too much relative to the cost of replacement in my opinion.

    As for apple care- of course they would honor it. i think most apple stores would tighten your hinges for you for free even out of warranty. it's pretty simple.
     
  8. Mr Rabbit macrumors 6502a

    Mr Rabbit

    Joined:
    May 13, 2013
    Location:
    'merica
    #8
    You're correct in that the hard shell cases don't add a significant amount of weight, but it still stands that Apple doesn't factor third party cases into it's designs when building their counterbalanced clutch / hinge systems. Instead they only factor in the weight of the bare display at various angles when figuring out what amount of counterweight will be needed to maintain that position at a 90 degree angle. Honestly, if you rarely move your Mac around while it has one of these cases on it, or if you leave it open at a 90~ degree angle most of the time, then you probably won't see any issues. The added stress would only be a problem over time if the display is frequently open less than or past 90 degrees.

    Side note, it's not always possible to "just tighten the hinges" when they loosen up. The hinge itself in most Apple portables isn't truly adjustable, at least not easily for the majority of technicians, myself included. Instead it can be re-tightened down to the top/bottom case. This is needed if the display moves up/down vertically and is a little loose but still holds it's position when opened to 45 degrees or so. Hopefully the picture below, from iFixit's display replacement procedure, gives an idea of this. The two torx screws on either side of the MacBook Air display are what hold the display to the top case, if they loosen up (my theory is from picking your Mac up by it's display) over time then you will usually see the symptoms I just outlined. i.e. not really a loose hinge, but the display's mount to the top case has loosened.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. aaron5566 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2012
    #9
    I would refrain from using any covers for the MacBook Air. I used a Speck case, and it weaken my hinge. Thankfully I took it off before more damage was implied. My hinge feels slightly loose but nothing too severe. If you do insist of using something, maybe try a skin or InvisibleShield.
     
  10. jadAce thread starter macrumors regular

    jadAce

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2013
    #10
    Thank you for the input everyone.

    If hard shell covers can cause damage, then the one I want to use must be worse in terms of effects on the hinge. It's the CaseCrown Book Cover Clip On Case on Amazon. I'm guessing it's going to have the same problems.

    I talked to an Apple Tech through chat support, and she told me that Apple recommends hard shell cases to protect the MBA.
     

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