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This underutilized laptop accessory gave my device the ultimate super power

Worried about busybodies peeking at your screen in public places? I found just the accessory you need.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

No more snooping!

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

ZDNET's key takeaways

  • This is the StarTech.com MacBook Pro Privacy Screen, Gold Filter with Enhanced Privacy, and is available from Amazon for $59.
  • Easy to apply, and a perfect way to add extra privacy to your laptop.
  • Not suitable for photo/video editors who need to be able to see accurate color and brightness.

I spend quite a bit of time with my laptop out and about, at places where there are other people. And no matter where I go, I can't help but notice other people trying to sneak a peek at my screen. I can hardly blame them; after all, we've become so conditioned to looking at screens.

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Short of typing "stop looking at my screen" in a huge font size, a less passive-aggressive alternative is to add a privacy screen, and I've finally found a privacy screen that I'm happy with – the StarTech.com MacBook Pro double-sided gold privacy filter with enhanced privacy

View at Amazon

StarTech.com MacBook Pro Privacy Screen features

  • Available for 14- and 16-inch 2021 and 2023 MacBook Pros.
  • Microlouver technology obscures the view outside a 60-degree viewing angle.
  • Precision fit ensures the filter will not interfere with top-mounted webcams or sensors, or when closing the lid.
  • Blocks up to 51% of blue light.
  • Allows 60% light transmission for better screen readability.
  • Anti-glare matte side has a scratch- and fingerprint-resistant coating.
  • Microfiber cloth and transparent, residue-free adhesive strips included.

I get a bit apprehensive before installing any kind of screen protector or filter, as I've had so many bad experiences -- from getting adhesive stuck to my hand, to trapping huge chunks of debris between the screen and the film I'm applying.

This kit is easy to install and comes with everything you need. There's a microfiber cloth for cleaning the screen, and transparent, residue-free adhesive strips for affixing the filter to the screen. Oh, and there's the filter itself. 

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Cleaning the screen before applying the adhesive strips for the filter.

Cleaning the screen before applying the adhesive strips for the filter.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

The installation took only a few minutes, and I'm pleased with how easy it was and how well it fits. Even the cutout for the camera and sensors at the top of the display are perfect.

Applying the adhesive strips to the filter

Applying the adhesive strips to the filter.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

I'm thrilled with the added privacy this screen offers.

While sitting in front of the screen, I don't notice it. (I have had to set the display a little brighter than normal.) But when I shift to the side, the screen goes from bright to dark. Even sitting in a seat right next to the laptop, it's hard to see what's being displayed.

It really works!

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Note that this filter does alter the brightness and color calibration of your display. Therefore, if you're engaged in tasks like photo and video editing, this isn't suitable for you. However, if you're day consists of primarily working on emails, word processor documents, or spreadsheets, and you wish to prevent casual snooping of what's on your screen, this is an ideal solution. 

ZDNET's buying advice

If you're worried about people snooping on what's on your screen when you're out and about, the StarTech.com MacBook Pro Privacy Screen is a great way to boost privacy without adding eyestrain. 

If you don't have a new MacBook Pro, fear not: StarTech makes a range of privacy screens for other displays.  

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This is one of the best privacy filters I've used, and I love the reflective gold finish on the filter when viewed off-angle. It's also very well made, precision cut so it fits perfectly, and resists fingerprints when you -- or others -- touch your screen with dirty fingers. 

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