Apple comes clean on MacBook vent cover up

Apple comes clean on MacBook vent cover up

Summary: Two weeks ago I reported on an issue where some MacBooks were coming from the factory with a piece of clear plastic film covering the rear exit vent - which made the machine run (understandably) hot. Apple has released a note addressing the issue...

TOPICS: Laptops

macbook-film.jpgTwo weeks ago I reported on an issue where some MacBooks were coming from the factory with a piece of clear plastic film covering the rear exit vent - which made the machine run (understandably) hot.

Some would peg this "problem" squarely on the end user for not noticing it in the first place, but regardless of who you blame Apple has come clean about the plastic "cover up" with a spankin' new Knowledge Base article.

In "MacBook may run warm because rear vent is blocked" (Article ID: 303848) Apple explains the film issue:

Some MacBook computers may appear to be running too warm, with the fan running consistently and heat emanating from the top and/or the bottom of the computer.

If this happens with your MacBook, check the rear vent of the MacBook to make sure it's not blocked.

Some MacBooks may have left the factory with a thin piece of clear plastic covering the rear vent. This is used in the factory to prevent dust from getting into your computer. If your MacBook has the plastic still over the vent, simply remove and discard it.

If your MacBook does not have the thin piece of clear plastic over the vent but is running warm, see article 30612, "Apple Notebooks: Operating Temperature."

In that second article, Apple clearly ends the relationship between the laptop and the lap, saying that "placing (your portable computer) on a soft surface such as a towel or pillow (or lap) is not recommended because it does not allow air to flow under the computer." Going on to say that "prolonged contact with your body could cause discomfort and potentially a burn."

This is nothing new to an experienced user of a notebook computer but it's interesting that Apple (like all notebook OEMs) has clearly divorced themselves from using the term "laptop" ever again. From here on out they're called "portable computers" or "notebooks" folks.

What do you use to keep your "notebook" computer cool? Do you use it on your "lap?" 

Topic: Laptops

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • "Clear" film??? Definitely a manufacturer error.

    If a smart manufacturer wants someone to remove packing material from an item, especially some sort of film on a non-visual item such as a vent (as opposed to a keyboard), they would make it contrast with the cover color. Many manufacturers make their film a blue color to be instantly recognized by the end-user for removal. This is obviously a mistake on the part of the manufacturer.
    • The user, at least, has to share the blame.

      Electronics manufacturers have been using protective film for years on many parts of their products. I bought a Toshiba notebook a couple of years ago that was almost entirely covered with the stuff. After taking it out of the box, it's just common sense to look over the whole product for this kind of thing.

      I can't believe I just defended Apple! Now I know I'm goin' to h*ll.
    • Better idea

      Big red letters on the film saying "REMOVE THIS before using".
      Roger Ramjet
  • Apple will use this as a cover for other heat problems

    I can see Apple using this issue as a cover (scuse pun) for other
    heat related problems with the MB, such as the over application of
    thermal grease.
    • the suspected, but not proven...

      the suspected but not proven thermal grease issue, was 'found' on the MacBook Pro, not the MacBook.
  • I use a great laptop stand!

    Ii?m using the Cool laptop stand ( ) which both lets the notebook "breath" well, and raises the screen and gives me a flexible viewing angle.
  • Lapbottom

    I have been using a Labottom for years. It's light weight plastic,
    with a foam bottom, with room for air to circulate under the
    "Laptop". Can be found at
    lapbottom.html. Now on sale for $14.99. Definitely beats the heat.
    Allan Miller
  • Coolpad or MacFeet - very efficient, cheap, and plentiful

    mac feet.... very cool, but hard to work on your "lap", as they dig
    into your thights.

    I still use my PB on my lap when i'm on a train... but always on
    my desk it's on my coolpad. I have one at home too so i don't
    have to lug it around. On planes it's on the tray, and if i'm
    somewhere without a coolpad, I prop up the back with
    something to let it breathe, plus it's easier for me to type when
    it's on an angle instead of flat.
  • Interesting note

    Just an interesting observation... Apple didn't have probems like that that I'm aware of before moving to Intel processors. Please let me know if I'm wrong on that, and no, I'm not an anti-Intel person or anything like that. I don't even own an Apple product (unless you count my wife's Ipod).
  • iLap - this should be sent with any and every notebook

    I have been using the [b]iLap (by Raindesign)[/b] since I bought my
    Macbook Pro; its awesome - its light and keeps the laptop elevated
    at an angle to allow for better posture. It also keeps the laptop cool
    due to its all alluminum construction.

    Check it out at:
  • RE: Apple comes clean on MacBook vent cover up

    I wish I could keep my desktop turned
    on. Obviously a dust problem. How to