With data security becoming a more pressing issue, a lot of users have started adding physical shutters to their laptops’ webcams, to put a more tangible barrier between them and the prying eyes of the internet. But that might not be a great idea if you have a super-sleek, super-thin notebook. Apple said as much to MacBook owners last week.
MacRumors relayed a statement from Apple, collected from end users across its own forums and Reddit. Apple warns that the engineering tolerances between the MacBook’s aluminum body, LCD screen, and glass screen cover are so tight that adding a bit of plastic on top of it might crack the glass when the laptop is closed. Some users have also reported damage to the LCD panel itself. In both cases it’s a costly repair that may or may not be covered under warranty.
MacBooks, and most other modern laptops and webcams, include an LED indicator light that can show users when the camera is active. It’s possible to bypass this security light, though that generally requires a firmware-level hack that’s hard to accomplish by merely taking over a computer remotely. As an alternative to an add-on shutter, Apple recommends manually restricting which apps can access the laptop camera via the macOS settings menu.
It’s worth noting that some security-focused laptops, notably Lenovo’s ThinkPad series, include a physical shutter slider built into the hardware.