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Can Stickers Ruin The MacBook? (3-min Read!)

Creativity goes into customizing something personal to make it unique and visually appealing. When personalizing your MacBook with stickers, consider the consequences and how you might safely go about it without damaging your device or professional reputation.

Applying stickers to your MacBook will not ruin it initially, but it will leave an adhesive residue on the aluminum surface when you remove the stickers. Even if you can clean the glue from the MacBook, the area around the stickers might have faded over time, leaving you with permanent imprints.

Avoid these headaches by opting for 3M vinyl decals, a Snap-on case, or a laminate sheet covering your MacBook. These options will allow you to add stickers and remove them easily without potentially damaging the surface of your laptop. If your MacBook already adorns some decals, use appropriate methods and products to clean the surface back to its original state.

Is It Bad to Put Stickers on Your MacBook?

MacBook with stickers
Stickers on a MacBook

Stickers seem harmless initially, but the problem arises later when you want to remove them from your MacBook. Stickers can cause permanent sticker silhouettes and leave a stubborn residue that is tough to remove. If you clean it, you might end up scratching the surface, which can devalue or damage the laptop. The effects of stickers, rather than the stickers themselves, can thus ruin your MacBook.

Do Stickers Come Off MacBooks Easily?

The ease with which stickers come off your MacBook depends on the type of decal you use.

3M vinyl, for example, is a premium material that people use in the wrapping of luxury automobiles since it leaves no residue, making it equally suitable for decals. If you use 3M vinyl stickers or a 3M vinyl laptop skin, it will come off quickly and easily.

If you purchase a vinyl decal, make sure it is the actual 3M vinyl material and not a cheaper version. Regular stickers on your MacBook will leave a glue residue that is difficult to clean, but it is possible with the proper methods and products.

The Best Way to Remove Stickers Off Your MacBook

Suppose you proceeded to decorate your MacBook with stickers but want to remove it. Maybe you want to sell your MacBook, reinstate it to its original look, or change the existing decal to something different. The key is deciding which cleaning method and product will harm your device the least.

Heat

Using a hairdryer, you can apply heat to the sticker (and thus the glue) and then slowly peel it off the MacBook. Make sure to put the hairdryer on its lowest setting, and do not point the hairdryer directly on the surface of your laptop for longer than 30 seconds at a time.

This heat application is enough to get the stickers off since it allows you to remove them quickly and easily. However, the adhesive residue from the stickers will remain on the MacBook. It, therefore, seems more like the first step of many in the cleaning process.

Mild Abrasives

One technique includes adhesive tape (e.g., Scotch tape), which you must fold so that the sticky part shows outwards. You can then dab or gently rub the sticky tape onto the glue residue, creating a kind of friction. Even though both surfaces making contact are adhesives, it seems to counteract the stickiness, resulting in the gluey residue coming off the surface of the MacBook.

This method takes a bit of time since the tape loses its adhesion, and you must replace it. Although the tape helps with access residue, it does not always clean the surface of a MacBook entirely. The plastic of the actual Apple logo could also become scuffed if you dab over it multiple times with the tape.

Oil-based Solvents

You can use olive oil, petroleum jelly, lighter fluid, mineral spirits, or lotions to help you get stickers on your MacBook off easier. Put a little liquid on a clean cloth and work it into the stickers. The stickers will absorb the oily liquid and become more manageable. If you use a plastic card or dough cutter to remove them, the process will be even faster.

Another method is to use WD-40 and a paper towel. WD-40 is an oil-based liquid used as a lubricant, rust preventative, penetrant, and moisture displacer. After removing the stickers from your MacBook, spray some WD-40 onto the adhesive residue. Let the liquid sit for a minute, then rub the glue with a paper towel.

Products like WD-40 smell unpleasant, which might discourage people from using it as a cleaning agent. Oil-based liquids also work better if you have removed most of the gluey residue from your MacBook surface and then use the liquid to clean up what’s left. If you are using this product, it is also a good idea to wipe down the entire surface of your MacBook, not just targeted areas, to achieve an even finish.

Non-oil-based Solvents

Non-oil-based solvents that can help remove stickers from a MacBook include acetone, rubbing alcohol, vinegar, or plain water.

Dab around the edges of the stickers with a wet cloth. Wait for a few minutes, then remove the stickers and wipe the area with the same solvent to remove any remaining gluey residue. Be careful not to allow any solvent into the laptop’s seams since this can damage your MacBook. Lastly, wipe your laptop’s surface with a clean cloth to remove any remaining solvent.

Are Stickers On A Laptop Unprofessional?

Some custom stickers can be handy for a professional, for example, the user’s Twitter handle or company logo. These items can be a conversation starter, boost your network, or market a particular brand. Stickers are especially prevalent in creative roles and more progressive working environments, such as startups, marketing, and technology.

However, one should always consider what the stickers on your MacBook represent. The last thing you want is to put yourself or, for example, your employer in a bad light through the subtle (or not so subtle) messages you are showcasing through the stickers on your MacBook. Many employers have strict policies about putting the company in disgrace, so pay heed to the imagery you choose to use.

This kind of ‘advertising’ can be good or bad; seen as professionally savvy by some and unprofessional by others. Generally, it boils down to personal taste.

Conclusion

Some working professionals have clean MacBooks; others have their laptops completely covered in decals. Laptop stickers are a choice, like deciding what to wear daily or what tattoo to get on your body. It is about personal preference and creative expression. Still, before adding stickers to your MacBook, consider the damage it could do to your device and how to best avoid it.

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I started building and fixing PCs in high school. After a couple of years of offering consultancy to a PC repair shop, I became the goto guy for all my acquaintances for PC/Laptop related buying advice or troubleshooting.