Should you buy a Keyboard Protector for your MacBook?

Keyboard protectors are a commonly bought accessory for laptops - especially among MacBook users, who are often keen to take measures to protect their expensive computers from both cosmetic and functional damage. This article will explain some of the pros and cons of buying a keyboard protector for your MacBook, provide links to some quality, affordable protectors, as well as set straight a common misconception about the rubber accessories.

What exactly are they for?  The main reason people buy keyboard protectors for their laptops is to protect the computer from spilled drinks and food.  In the case of MacBooks the keyboard is pretty much the only place on the top of the computer where liquid can get inside the machine and into the internal components, as well as being the main place where food can get stuck - once food or dirt gets into the gaps between and under the keys, getting it out can be a challenge.  A keyboard protector would therefore be a good investment if you frequently eat and drink over your Mac, work in a dirty environment, are a clumsy person or if young children use the computer.  It will ensure that your MacBook's keyboard stays spotless and that nothing gets inside the machine that could cause damage to components.  When the protector gets dirty all you need to do is take it off and clean it under a tap - since keyboard protectors are generally made out of rubber, you can clean them using water and then hang them out on the line to dry... Unlike your Mac's keyboard!  

The main downside to keyboard protectors is that the soft rubber isn't good in terms of tactile feedback.  By itself the MacBook keyboard is crisp and responsive, however with a keyboard protector covering it the keyboard responds more sluggishly to keystrokes, which can lead to mistakes and an overall poorer typing experience.  It is therefore important to buy a quality keyboard protector - one that is tight and fits your MacBook well (doing so will minimize the problem).  Depending on your personal preferences, you might also find a keyboard protector unsightly.  However you also might find it to be an attractive accessory, as they come in a range of colors and styles, from transparent to blue to pink to rainbow.

One common concern people having about keyboard protectors is that the raised rubber will leave marks on their MacBook's screen when the lid is closed.  Many keyboard protectors don't sit high enough to reach the screen, and for those that do it's still not really an issue, as any marks that it leaves on the screen can simply be wiped off like any other smudge. 

Another thing people worry about when it comes to keyboard protectors is ventilation - many people think that MacBooks vent heat via the keyboard (through gaps under the keys), and thus that using a keyboard protector will interfere with the flow of air and cause the computer to overheat.  Fortunately though MacBooks do not vent or intake air via the keyboard - no model ever has, and it is very doubtful that Apple will make one that will.  So where do MacBooks have vents?  In the hinge, with the exception of the Retina MacBook Pro, which also has vents on the sides (if your Mac is overheating or you wish to know more about this, click here).  Therefore you are safe to use a keyboard protector with any model of MacBook.

If you have decided to buy a keyboard protector, be sure to check out the Amazon listings below.  All of these keyboard protectors are affordable (under $10US) but are of a high quality and will not cause any of the problems listed above. These protectors will work with the keyboards of all unibody MacBook Pro models, the white poly-carbon MacBook, the 13" MacBook Air and the iMac's wireless keyboard. 

Note: When buying be sure to select the link (USA, UK or Canada) that corresponds with your country -- as you cannot buy a cooling pad from the Amazon USA site if you live in the UK, and vice versa.  If you live in neither the USA, the UK or Canada you cannot make a purchase, unfortunately.

Transparent Keyboard Protector

Black Keyboard Protector

Turquoise Keyboard Protector

Rainbow Keyboard Protector

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