Skip to main content

Why are people ripping the screens off MacBooks?

There’s a bizarre new tech trend gaining traction, and it involves ripping the screens off MacBooks. Well, “ripping” might be a strong word, but people are removing the displays from their MacBooks.

So, why on earth would you remove the display from your laptop? After all, the display is essential to what makes a laptop what it is. But with the guts of the computer in the bottom half, these headless MacBooks have become a cost effective way to make use of an old Mac.

Just do it

— Nicolas Sampré (@nsampre) March 7, 2022

MacBooks can be expensive, so people are saving money by purchasing MacBooks with broken displays but have otherwise sound internal components. You can find an M1 MacBook Air with a broken display on eBay for around $400, and older models are even cheaper. Then you just pop off the screen and connect a display, and suddenly you have a new home Mac setup.

There are drawbacks, though. For one, you will void any kind of warranty by doing work like this, so you will want to either have some experience tinkering like this or carefully follow a guide. You also won’t be able to access recover mode since it only displays on the laptop display on MacBooks. Setting up a wireless display through AirPlay is also a pain, since you will have to connect it to an external display via cable to set it up anyway.

However, the final effect definitely has its appeal. If someone walks into your home office and sees a laptop with no display, they’ll probably take notice. There’s just a certain amount of cool factor to using a MacBook in a way it was never meant to be used. But mostly, it’s a cheap way to get a decent Mac computer — as long as you can supply the display yourself.

Editors' Recommendations

Caleb Clark
Caleb Clark is a full-time writer that primarily covers consumer tech and gaming. He also writes frequently on Medium about…
There are two sizes of MacBook Pros. Here’s the one you should buy
MacBook Pro laptops.

MacBooks are among the best laptops you can buy, but there are some critical differences between Apple's two MacBook Pro models.

The 14-inch MacBook Pro is a relatively new arrival on the market, with a bigger screen size than the now-discontinued 13-inch model. The 16-inch model was a refresh of the existing MacBook Pro, but there were enough changes to call it a new laptop entirely. Both of them are worthy of being listed among the best MacBooks out there, and our review of the new M3 Max MacBook Pro 14 just confirms how great the laptops really are. The question is, which model is right for you?

Read more
Steve Jobs killed this MacBook feature 15 years ago. Now it might be back
Someone using a MacBook Pro on a table in front of a scenic background.

In 2008, Steve Jobs claimed that Apple had explored adding some sort of 3G connectivity to its MacBooks, but abandoned the plans because the required chips would take up too much space inside the laptop’s case.

If Apple can integrate a wireless modem into its Apple silicon chips by 2028, however, that problem could be fixed -- 20 years after Jobs admitted defeat.
20 years in the making
In the future, your MacBook could come with wireless connectivity, allowing you to access the internet even without a Wi-Fi link. That would be perfect for any time you head out onto the road with your MacBook and struggle to connect to the internet, and would bring it on par with the iPhone and Apple Watch.

Read more
The easy way to decide between the MacBook Air 15 and MacBook Pro 14

Picking out a new MacBook isn't as easy as it used to be. While Apple finally dropped the 13-inch MacBook Pro that didn't match the line's modern design, it introduced a new 14-inch MacBook Pro with an entry-level M3 processor. If you prefer a larger screen or more performance, you might be left considering two compelling options: the 15-inch MacBook Air and the 14-inch MacBook Pro.

Having reviewed and used both laptops extensively, I'm here to lay it all out for you. Here's the difference between the two machines and how to easily determine which is right for you.
The easy way to know which to buy

Read more