Why the MacBook Pro (Retina) Doesn’t Have a Security Slot

| John Martellaro's Blog

The new MacBook Pro with Retina Display (MBPr) doesn’t have a security slot for a locking cable. I wondered why, and so I visited my local Apple retail store for an explanation.

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I should also note that neither does the MacBook Air have a security slot. The side of the MacBook Air is very, very thin, and one can understand why there’s no room for the slot. The MacBook Pro Retina, however is just a little thicker, and it looks like there is indeed room for a slot. But the normal size of that slot is misleading.

The issue, it turns out, is not the size of the security slot in the vertical dimension (case depth). An Apple salesperson explained to me that, rather, it’s the depth of the case with respect to the size of the locking key when it’s inserted and turned 90 degrees. (That’s because of the T design of the tip.) The case isn’t thick enough for the tip of the lock when it turns. In fact, as the salesperson showed me, even the MagSafe connector had to be redesigned to be thinner. In contrast, the regular MacBook Pro is thick enough, and does have a conventional security slot.

I surmised that not only does there need to be room to turn the key 90 degrees, but there must also be enough metal surrounding the key for a solid, secure fit.

Here’s a look at an older MacBook case. As you can see, there’s plenty of room for the lock to turn 90 degrees.

Older MacBook

ImageCredit: Amit Bhawani Tech Blog *

On the other hand, here’s the edge of the MacBook Pro Retina at its thickest point. There’s quite a difference.

MacBook Ori Retina

Image Credit: Scott Kelby

How then does Apple secure these computers in the store? For a long time, Apple has used a different system. It’s an electronic device, a small cylinder, on a cable that’s stuck to the Mac with an adhesive. It’s a secure but not permanent bond, and it can be broken off with enough force. However, if it does come off, an alarm goes off in the store.

Apple cable

A Solution

These MacBooks are beautiful, expensive items, and sometimes it’s necessary to secure them, say, in the office, a news room or a computer show. I asked the Apple salesman if Apple offers an alternative solution, some accessory, for securing a MacBook, and he wasn’t aware of one.

Fortunately, TMO’s Jim Tanous knew about a company called Maclocks.com that has a solution now for MacBook Airs — and soon for the MacBook Pro with Retina. It’s called a Security Skin.

Maclocks describes the MBPr solution “Maclocks security cover (patent pending) is a simple, yet clever solution which incorporates a security slot into the actual MacBook Pro cover (Only adds 0.35 lbs when using the lower skin and 0.7 lbs when using it as a shell). A similar solution is offered for the MacBook Air.”

Maclocks

Image Credit: MacLocks.com

Engineering these MacBooks always involves trade-offs. In this case, it’s size, weight and convenience versus security. It’s nice to see a company like Maclocks offer an innovative solution that can help with that trade-off.

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* Reader Ben Rosenthal identified that Mac as 12-inch PowerBook.

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Comments

PSMacintosh

Innovation in reverse!
This is another instance where Apple takes us a step backwards.
Not having a Security Hole of some sort just reduces the potential usages of the machine for many people. 
Just a simple tunnel going through the computer would have been sufficient.  (a user could run a cable through it.)
Apple is getting rid of so much functionality for us!  Thanks Apple.

RonMacGuy

Just a simple tunnel going through the computer would have been sufficient.? (a user could run a cable through it.

A tunnel?!?!?  A cable through the entire Mac?!?!?  Eww, how ugly!!

Just don’t leave the Mac alone!!  Hold it, love it!!

SlyRobber

I smell a Windbloes PC troll with nothing to offer. Move on, nothing of substance from these ogres.

Bruce

also, unlike other lesser laptops, I have “find my iphone"and Macpro, and I pad3

MaxHedrm

Except, from what I can tell, the MacLocks.com cover would add enough thickness that you might as well be carrying a non-retina MBP. & it’s ugly. & it likely inhibits cooling.

Of course this is mostly guesswork since they don’t seem to know how to show decent product photos on their site. They also say nothing about how the case attaches to the MacBook.

Maconvert1970

Do NOT buy this laptop until Apple solves a serious problem with it! Have you heard of the image retention problem that’s plaguing many early adopters of the Macbook Pro with Retina display (including myself). Do a Google search for “Apple - Please Recall Retina Macbook Pros with LG Displays” for more info. This problem is real. Check out the photos we’ve taken of our screens. If you’re a professional who needs the images on their screen to be accurate, please wait to buy until they’ve fixed this issue.

Lisa

I figured it out* awhile back.
Apple wants our Apple products stolen so we are forced to buy another which means more profit for them. 

* My MacBook Pro was stolen but I have a record of its SN#, MAC address..etc.
A month later I went to a Mac store and asked if they can find any of my UID’s on their update servers.  Their update servers must have some record of it since it has to ID and validate the hardware to install the correct firmware and drivers.  If we can get a source address and location I can notify the police since I filed a report. The guy looked excited and agreed to find out.  30 minutes later he came back and his enthusiasm was down and said “No” they don’t do anything like that.  I asked details like how much information did you find and he avoided the question as if he was hiding something he knows.  At that point I know they don’t care or love the fact that Apple products are getting stolen which equals more profit.  Go figure.

Walter

It also means that companies like IBM, for example, who pays for some employees equipment BUT requires a security lock won’t be accepting a Mac Book Pro as said emplyee’s laptop. So the “troll” who mentioned not having a security hole was right. I believe there are many other companies who requires your laptop to be locked.

deadofnight

Make no sense to design something as expensive as a MBPro(R) and not have any type of lock. They built this wonderful machine but couldn’t design a lock to work with it? I would have to agree with comments above, they don’t care if your Apple stuff gets stolen. That is terrible customer service. This was a very expensive computer, overpriced if you ask me by a lot. I had a Dell D600 that could do the same resolution 5+ years ago, granted it didn’t look as clean as my MBPro(R), but it is not like it is some huge revolution of a laptop. I am really disappointed that my lock options are pretty much nil. Way to blow it Apple. Now I remember why I stopped buying your products Apple.

Dr.Buttons

I’ve been enjoying the Apple Kool-Aid for a long time, and I have to say this is wack! Just discovered it on my MBP. Have to present at an open workshop sort of thing, and even though I will likely just be there with my comp., others may be using it and I could be distracted. No way I’m I letting it be out there without a tether. Yeah, so there’s some product that I don’t fully understand that might help. Nope, not even gonna look. It is probably $30 or more, and I already have spent money for locks or could use one provided by my job. Nope. Fuck that.

My solution though—I’ll post here and in some of those other forums where it was asked. There is enough room for a small wire to fit in the crease at the sides of the hinge when it is opened. So I will fit that wire in there, splice or knot/wrap it on itself to make a loop that is too small to easily slip off, and secure it with a locking cable. In my case I will just pass the usual Kensig.-style lock through this loop to another computer. This is just enough to make someone decide against trying and or get slowed down enough to be stopped.

jameskatt

There are many options for locking the MacBook Pro Pro Retina down.

These all make the MacBook Pro Retina thicker and heavier.  But that is the price you pay for security.

And if you don’t need security, then Apple did a good thing by leaving it out and creating a thinner, lighter computer.

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