9 Ways to Care for your MacBook’s LCD Display

The most expensive component of a MacBook/Pro or iMac is the display. It’s also the part that you’ll pay most attention to as your stare at it all day. If you break one, even on an older model – it still costs more than the laptop is worth. If you damage it, you’ll have to look at that damage for hours at a time. So let’s look at 9 ways to take care of that display.

1. Do not clean your LCD with any sort of glass cleaner.

Your laptop’s screen is not made of glass. It’s actually made of specialized plastics. Plastics that get eaten away by glass cleaner. One of the fastest ways to ruin your display and leave a giant splotch mark is to spray it with glass cleaner. That nice anti-glare coating will be eaten away and over time your display won’t look the same anymore.

Note: iMac displays are covered by a glass covering but that doesn’t mean you should use glass cleaner either. They too have special coatings.

2. Avoid screen-savers and shut the display off.

With LCD displays, screen savers are pointless. Burn-In is a thing of the past and they light up quickly. Using them just gets you closer to the unit’s mean time before failure. They also waste electricity by powering the display and running the processor and graphics cards. On a laptop, this drains your battery.

You don’t need to have your Mac sleeping, just adjust the Energy Settings to turn off the display after a reasonable amount of time – 10 minutes.

3. Stay away from temperature extremes.

LCD displays won’t brighten up properly in a cold environment. Radical moves from hot to cold can also cause condensation issues which can cause corrosion, damaging the display. Keep your display away from a/c blowers. Also, be conscious of how much trunk time your laptop gets during the hot days of summer and cold days in winter.

Above all, never put your laptop in your checked baggage when flying. If you’re lucky enough to not have it stolen, the temperature, pressure and handling extremes are likely to destroy the LCD.

4. Do not use paper towels to clean the screen.

Paper towels are like sandpaper to an LCD display. The wood particles in paper towels act as abrasives and will scratch and wear down your LCD’s coatings. It may not make a difference to you, but over time your display won’t be as nice.

5. Stop pointing and poking at the screen.

Your LCD is not a touch screen. Don’t poke at it. For one, your screen will become disgustingly dirty from all the fingerprints. Second, there’s always the chance you’ll damage it with a good firm point. Especially if you get in the habit of pointing at it with a pencil, pen or any other object. If you need to show someone something on your screen, circle the mouse around it like a pointer.

6. Keep the backlight at a reasonable level.

Keeping the backlight at a reasonable level for the environment you’re in is always a good idea. As your LCD is used, the backlight’s lifetime will go down as you increase brightness. The brighter you keep the display, the faster it’s intensity will drop over the years. Basically, over time your display won’t be as bright as it used to be and the brighter you keep it, the faster this will happen.

On a laptop, this will also save battery life as powering the display is a large portion of your MacBook’s energy needs.

7. Be careful of dust and liquids.

Dusty and moist environments are bad for LCDs. The particles can get inside the display, causing condensation and/or corrosion. Liquids are the worst. Never spray anything directly onto an LCD display. If any sort of liquid gets between it’s layers, you’ll have a nice permanent reminder of why this isn’t a good idea.

8. Use the cloth that came with your MacBook, iMac, LCD Display.

The best thing to use to clean LCD displays is that nice little black microfiber cloth than Apple gives you when you buy a MacBook, iMac, MacBook Pro or Cinema Display. If you lost or don’t have one, any microfiber cloth designed for plastic eyeglass lenses, LCD TVs or monitors is what you’ll need. Remember, LCDs aren’t glass – they’re plastic. So you’ll need one specifically designed to clean plastic surfaces.

9. Be gentle with the laptops screen.

As always, being gentle with your MacBook’s screen is important. Don’t hold your laptop by the display, and careful not to flex or bend it. LCDs have many different layers which can be cracked, causing strange discolorations on your screen.

Don’t pile books or heavy objects on top of your laptop and don’t leave it somewhere that it can be sat on. Make sure it’s also not left somewhere that a young child or pet can chew, claw, bite, push, drop or step on.

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