Beware of MacBook Boxes

I just received my brand-new Retina MacBook Pro, and I couldn’t be happier. The insanely crisp screen, speedy SSD, and hours of battery life make my old 2007 MacBook look positively ancient.

Having never ordered a laptop online before, I was sure to check the box for any signs of rough handling when it arrived. I examined both the brown external box and the internal white one for any scuffs, dents, and scrapes and was satisfied with their condition. But then I became so absorbed in transferring my data and playing with the new hardware that I neglected to give the entire laptop a detailed once-over. It wasn’t until the next morning that I noticed a problem: the Apple power adaptor had pressed a nice square dent pattern into the MacBook Pro’s bottom case during shipping.

​Four dents in a perfect square – a dead giveaway.

​If you aren’t familiar with Apple’s laptop boxes​, here’s a photo:

The white power brick is held directly under the laptop’s back corner.​

​Thankfully, the Genius ​Bar replaced the bottom case for free, but it’s a little disconcerting to see how far Apple’s trend of minimizing their shipping boxes has gone. There shouldn’t be any way to apply that much pressure to the MacBook during shipping, but the tiny box can’t provide enough protection. I’m curious to know if this is a common issue; both the Genius and Applecare technician claimed they’d never heard of it before. So if you have a Retina Macbook Pro, or possibly a MacBook Air or older Pro, check the bottom! While I can’t be sure, it’s possible that the aluminum bottom case of the Retina MacBook Pro is thinner than the older models.

​Interestingly, the Genius did hear of something similar happening to Mac Pros a few years ago. Apparently many customers were coming in with scratches all over one side panel of the Mac Pro, claiming it arrived that way in the box. Upon investigation, the factory worker who lifted the Pros into their boxes wore a large metal belt buckle that scraped against the computers.

Maybe this time a wayward employee in China is sitting on laptop boxes?

9 Comments on “Beware of MacBook Boxes”

  1. Sam says:

    I have the EXACT same issue — I’m so glad you posted this online — I will be taking mine back to the apple store to get the bottom fixed, too!

  2. -Randy says:

    I just got TWO brand new 2012 (October 25th) MacBook Airs from Amazon, and both had dented bottoms in four spots exactly where the power supply corners go under when shipping. As excited as we are with our new Macbook Air, and after so much thought and attention to detail Apple puts into the units, it’s disappointing to have such negligence in the packaging. Will be going into the Apple store tomorrow. Wish me luck!

  3. Ryan Thomas says:

    I just got mine today and the same thing! Aaaarrrggghhhh! Good to know they can fix the bottom, I’ve heard this machine is pretty tough to repair with many parts glued together. Thanks for the post.

    • Evan Brus says:

      It’s lucky that this keeps happening to the bottom case at least. That’s literally the only part that can be easily replaced on the whole machine.

      • Randy says:

        Just had the bottoms replaced at the Apple store under warranty. It took them about 15 minutes and I was out if there quickly. Just make sure you make an appointment with Genius Bar first. I had to go back a 2nd time because there were other people with appointments ahead of me (understandable), not to mention they didn’t have the part anyway so they had to order it (which took 2 days). Good luck.

      • Evan Brus says:

        Yes, I had to wait a couple days for the part to arrive too, which suggests to me that it isn’t a very common issue (or at least one that isn’t too noticeable). The only problem is that my replacement bottom has never fit quite as well as the original one. I suspect the Genius never screwed it in completely, but I can’t fix that without a fancy pentalobe screwdriver.

  4. Ngoan Nguyen says:

    I’m on the phone with Amazon right now. My wife saw this dent a day after we received the laptop!

  5. Taylor says:

    THANK YOU i just got a new macbook pro with retina display for christmas and found it with the exact same issue. I am so happy, i thought for a second i had done sometime to it but clearly not. Thanks again!!!

  6. Thilak Rao says:

    Exact same issue with Mid-2015 Macbook Pro. Noticed it immediately after unboxing it.

    I hope Apple would help me fix this. Their service absolutely sucks in India.

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