Don’t use a camera cover on your Macbook: you’ll break the screen

Apple has published a page on its online help in which it invites users not to use a camera cover in order not to damage the MacBook

The display of the new MacBook, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro from Apple has a tolerance of 0.1 mm and if between the screen and the body there is something with a greater thickness then the screen could shatter. It's not a perfectionist paranoia: Apple says so in a new document published on its online help.

Indirectly this means that you can't use any device to cover the MacBook's photo-camera, otherwise the computer becomes very fragile when closed. Camera covers have become popular in recent years because of privacy concerns: more and more viruses and spyware are getting access to the camera without the user's knowledge and, as a result, they can spy on the user without major problems.

Apple webcams: watch out for the green light

Apple says, however, that these camera "caps" are not really useful on its laptops because MacBooks come with a small LED indicator that lights up whenever the camera is active: "The camera has been engineered so that it can't activate without the indicator light also activating. From this you can tell if the camera is on".

The problem, though, is that it's not always easy to see that the green light is active: the spyware could be designed to activate the camera for a very short time, just to take a picture every few minutes, and the user might not notice the light which, in any case, is not easy to see even if it's on steady when we're outdoors and in bright sunlight.

What to do if we have to cover the camera

There are cases where, as a matter of corporate security policy, we are forced to cover the laptop's camera. In the case of MacBooks, in addition to the risk of screen breakage, using a camera cover will most likely also cover the sensors that regulate the operation of auto-brightness and True Tone.

Apple, in such cases, clearly says not to exceed the thickness of 0.1 millimeters, to remove it anyway before closing the computer and to absolutely avoid the use of duct tape that could leave traces of adhesive on the camera or on nearby sensors.