The Story of the Upside Down, Right Side Up Apple Logo

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A former Apple engineer has offered up the inside story of how the Apple logos on our Mac laptops went from being upside down when they were open and in use, as seen in the image below, to right side up, as they are today. It’s long been known that the late Steve Jobs eventually put through the change, but Mr. Moreno’s story shows us how that process actually worked.

Sex in the City Upside Down Apple Logo

Sex in the City Screenshot, with an Upside Down Apple Logo

You can bet that the Apple Design Group had good reasons for both placements. User experience has always been a high priority for the company and especially for Steve Jobs when he was at the helm. Originally, the logo was placed so it was right side up when the lid was closed to help users figure out which end to open it from. 

According to Mr. Moreno, Steve Jobs placed a very high priority on this issue—with the logo upside down when the lid was open, users were given a higher design priority than bystanders. Of course, the result was that a lot of other people were seeing that logo upside down, and this was particularly true of most of the PowerBooks that were being frequently featured on TV shows and in movies.

Some company employees began questioning the whole thing, posting the question to Apple’s internal communications system called “Can We Talk?” That eventually led to Steve Jobs seeing things differently and making the change. It turned out that users were quickly able to adapt to opening the laptop lid from the “wrong side,” thereby allowing the logo to be right side up during the entire time it was in use.

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We knew this already.


Thanks, Julie.

I’m confident that I was not the only one, but I recall writing to Apple after my purchase of one of these PowerBooks, and pointing out that the Apple logo was akin to the company’s flag; and that an upside down flag is a distress signal.

Although Apple was still a company in distress at the time, the advertisement was likely inadvertent, but I too recommended their changing it.

Lee Dronick

If Steve was still around he would figure out a way to turn it as the lid opens and closes. Appe could put an iPhone sized display on the lid and do all sorts of things with the display.


Apple could put an iPhone sized display on the lid and do all sorts of things with the display.

Can’t quite see walking down the street holding a MacBook Air to my ear nattering away…. wink

Pankaj Dhingra

So..what did I say…!!

Pankaj Dhingra

So…what did I say..!!Aman..!!

Sanskar Tanmor

Actually Apple is so popular for user interface design. Then they should have not worried on logo direction and should have used Gravity Sensor technology, which would have added more value to their interface design. smile

John Rudkin

Funnily enough - I took this up with the designer himself, and I can tell you categorically that the response, in person was as reported. The priority was not advertising the Mac to bystanders.  I thought that a very telling reason at the time, and it educated me in the focus and application of Apple in all it does…...

Bert Visscher

We knew this already.

Oh my! Aren’t *we* smart! :p

Bert Visscher

We knew this already.

Oh my! Aren’t “we” smart! :p

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