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Tuesday, June 06, 2006, 07:50 am PT (10:50 am ET)

Apple blunder blamed for MacBook heat issues

In a new article on its support Web site this week, Apple acknowledges that some 13-inch MacBooks may run warmer than normal due to a small oversight where some of the notebooks shipped with a plastic strip blocking the rear exhaust vent.

"Some MacBook computers may appear to be running too warm, with the fan running consistently and heat emanating from the top and/or the bottom of the computer," Apple said. "If this happens with your MacBook, check the rear vent of the MacBook to make sure it's not blocked."

The company admits that "some MacBooks may have left the factory with a thin piece of clear plastic covering the rear vent." MacBook owners who find this plastic film covering their notebook's rear vent (where the screen and keyboard almost meet) should "simply remove and discard it."

Apple applies this material during manufacturing to prevent dust from getting into the computer.

Several bloggers last week brought attention to the issue when they discovered the thin piece of plastic was the cause of their unusually warm MacBooks. After removing it, they noticed the notebooks ran much cooler.

Still, some users will find that their MacBooks run fairly warm (or hot) even without any obstructions. Apple says this is typical due to the extremely powerful processors installed in notebook PCs these days.

"The bottom surface and some areas between the keyboard and LCD hinge of your Apple notebook computer can become hot after extended periods of use. This is normal operating behavior," the company explains in an article on notebook operating temperatures. "With processor and bus speeds in portable computers often matching, if not exceeding, those of desktop systems, increased operating temperatures in portable computing products are common throughout the industry."

"MacBook

Simply remove and discard the thin plastic film.


For prolonged use of an iBook, PowerBook, MacBook or MacBook Pro, Apple recommends placing the notebooks on a flat stable surface. "Do not leave the bottom of the computer in contact with your lap or any surface of your body for extended periods," the company says. "Prolonged contact with your body could cause discomfort and potentially a burn."