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

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.


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.”


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.


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