Five tips to maintain your aluminium MacBook Pro

Getting a new Mac is a great experience; Apple have worked for many years to make the unboxing experience memorable and special. People talk about it, document it in photos or in video. But what happens when you’ve had it for a few weeks, months or years? It gets scratched, damaged or dirty. That “yummy new shiny machine” feeling disappears.

So why bother caring for your aluminium MacBook Pro? If you want to sell it after a year or two to upgrade to a newer model, having a clean and scratch-free laptop allows you to sell it for a bit more (money you can then put towards your new model!) Meanwhile, if you choose to keep it, you can show up to a meeting with a beautiful and fresh-looking computer.

These top tips to keep your Mac from showing age are guaranteed to work an awful lot better than anti-ageing creams!

1. Protect the case

macbookpro_with_stickersWhichever way you do it, protecting your metal case from scuffs and damage is a great way to keep it from looking rough in the future.

I originally covered mine in stickers to differentiate it from all the other MacBook Pros in the office, using stickers I was given from Digg, Lolcode, Soma FM, Laughing Squid and many more.

Do the same to show some personality or, if you want to be more graceful, you can use one of the many amazing skins now available online:

Alternatively, at least be sensible enough to use a laptop sleeve like the Black LaRobe sleeve to keep it protected when you’re carrying it around.

2. Fix your mistakes

Put tons of stickers on your aluminium MacBook Pro case and changed your mind about them?

In my case, I had to hand the laptop back at work. Everyone sniggered it would look like hell after I destickered it. But fear not, you can very easily remove stickers from the aluminium laptop case with a small dose of WD-40 and a bit of patience.

First, peel off the vinyl stickers that come off in a single piece; they’re the ones that feel rubbery and shiny. Then peel off what you can of the top layer of the paper stickers. These will leave a white paper layer or at least some sticky glue on the laptop. That’s when you get the WD-40 out; close the laptop lid first, spray WD-40 lightly on a white kitchen roll. Rub it in gently onto the paper or sticker glue area and let it “soak” slightly. Once the WD-40 works its magic, it should be very easy to rub off the sticker glue off. Buff the laptop cover gently with a soft cloth when you’re done to bring it back to its original shine!

[If you’re worried that you might do damage, start with a small area of the laptop on the underside of it to check that it won’t stain or discolour it. This tip worked wonders for me, but comes with no guarantee. If you’ve done weird stuff to your laptop beforehand, don’t hold me responsible!]

3. Take care of your screen

Aside from the obvious care tips like not stabbing your screen with pens and dirty fingers, the best way to keep your screen, glossy or matte, in good condition is to give it a light clean every so often.

As much as possible, I try to use the cloth that came with my latest pair of glasses and warm breath, but to remove oily marks, the best product (and afaik only one endorsed by Apple) is the iKlear screen cleaning spray.

Follow the instructions and be gentle. You need to stare at that screen for days on end, so best take care of it!

4. Don’t squeeze me too tight

I’ve recently noticed a rising number of people who treat their laptops like they’re made out of steel armour plating. It’s still a fairly fragile construction, even the fancy latest unibody machines, so throwing it into a backpack or piling books on top of it can quite easily damage the screen!

5. Get AppleCare

This one is a question of personal preference, but ever since I’ve started buying Macs for myself, I’ve insisted on having AppleCare – Apple’s own protection plan, which covers you for much of the likely problems

It doesn’t replace being careful (eg. dropping your laptop or spilling beer into it won’t get it replaced) but will cover you for most hardware issues. As far as I’m concerned, if your computer ever leaves your desk, it’s worth having insurance on it.

Just be smart!

If you want to have a throw-into-a-bag-and-go laptop, get an ASUS Eee PC or similar netbook, Hackintosh it if you must. Or use the tips above to keep your aluminium MacBook Pro in the best condition possible to resell later!

7 thoughts on “Five tips to maintain your aluminium MacBook Pro

  1. Gregg

    Hi Mac users

    I bought my mac back in august. I love it and I think its the best 2000usd I spend. I have a concerning issue. I noticed when I use games and second life the computer really gets hot. it gets hot on the left speaker and where i connect the power cable to. I thought it was the graphic card or the electricity. But when I decided to take off the Battery for a while I see that its not getting hot like it use to. Can it be the battery is bad or is it another tech. problem. thanks


    1. Elena

      The graphics card is most likely shot. This happened to my macbook pro as well. My laptop stopped functioning and I had to bring it into the repair shop. Luckily I got it fixed for a good discount. So yes, you should invest in applecare.

  2. Harley

    When the power adaptor is connected it immediatly starts charging the battery, and when it is full and the power adaptor is still connected it uses it for power, not the battery, that why it would get so hot, it seems very powerful, im not sure what its called but when its charging put the white box things (its on the power cord) against your ear (careful it gets hot) and you can hear the electricity running through, its crazy lol

  3. Cartman

    I think it is a brilliant idea using stickers to protect
    from scratches. I just bought an aluminium MacBook
    and I wear a metal watch and was concerned it would
    scratch the case and I don’t really want to take
    my watch off every time I use my computer. I’m going to put a sticker
    where my left hand rests. However even better
    might be to use an iPhone screen protector
    since they are designed to protect from scratches
    and use static not adhesive. However probably
    won’t stick to matter aluminium surface. Anyway
    thanks for the great idea!

  4. KR

    Used WD40 on a cloth to clean off sticker residue from my 15″ Space Gray Macbook Pro – worked like a charm and didn’t stain or damage the case at all. Was worried it might lead to discoloration. So for others who are considering it, WD40 is a go.

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