Apple: Adding a webcam cover to the MacBook might cause some serious damage

If you’re using a laptop, there’s always a concern that your webcam could turn on without your knowledge. Some would probably to get one of those cheap camera covers as a quick fix. However, if you own a MacBook, Apple warns that installing a cover over the camera might damage the display when you close your device.

Built-in safety measures

According to Apple, there’s no need to cover the camera as MacBooks have a green camera indicator to let you know that the camera is turned on. On top of that, its macOS has built-in security measures that control which apps have access to the built-in camera.

It added that the camera is engineered so that it can’t work without turning the camera indicator light on. On macOS Mojave or later, all apps must be granted permission before it can use the webcam. To find out which apps have access to your camera, you can check with the following steps:

  1. Click on the Apple menu (on the top left corner) > select System Preference, click on Security and Privacy > Privacy.
  2. Select Camera
  3. You can view the list of apps that have access to the camera. From here, you can select or unselect apps that can use your camera.

What if you really need to use a webcam cover?

However, if you work in a sensitive environment and a camera cover is necessary, they would advise getting a cover that’s no thicker than an average piece of printer paper at 0.1mm. When we did a quick search, most covers are actually quite thick exceeding the 0.1mm thickness. If the camera cover is thicker than 0.1mm, Apple recommends that you take it off before closing your MacBook and to avoid using camera covers that leave adhesive residue.

Example of a webcam cover that’s thicker than 0.1mm. 0.03″ = 0.762mm. (Source: Shopee)

The area where the webcam is located also houses the ambient light sensor. With a camera cover installed, Apple warns that it might also interfere with other display-related features such as automatic brightness and True Tone.

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As pointed out by The Verge, someone has cracked their MacBook Pro 16 display due to the webcam cover. Without the AppleCare+ plan, the replacement would cost a whopping CAD 1,970 in Canada which is about RM6,182.


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Alexander Wong