Above: Here’s the small metal locking hole that attaches to the bottom of your Retina MacBook Pro. 

Since this is supposed to be only a 90-second review of MacLocks “MacBook Pro Security Bracket,” I’ll cut to the chase (and then give you the back story if you’re so inclined).

Pros: It’s super-easy to attach (took all of two-minutes and a child could do it). It’s so sleek and slim you don’t even notice it’s there, which is a big step forward. In fact, it actually looks good. The included lock is cleverly designed and the whole thing feels solid and well-built. The install instructions are simple, visual and clear (the locking instructions themselves aren’t quite as good, but not horrible).

Cons: I still hate having to use a key for the lock (rather than a combination lock). If I lose the key, my laptop is staying at the stadium. They have good reasons for using a key for some IT situations, but I would love it if they would offer a combination lock as an option.

Plus, as before (with the older version) the achilles heel of the whole system is that it can be defeated if a potential thief has a very tiny screwdriver — they can just remove the plate altogether and walk off with the laptop (of course, they could just cut the cable with an industrial grade wire/cable cutter, too, right?), but it’s unlikely that either would be the case in the situations where you’d need to lock it down temporarily. So, while it’s not a perfect system, I think it’s as close as we’re going to get at this point.

Bottomline: This is the laptop lock I’ve been waiting for. They totally nailed it! A big leap up from their original clear plastic locking system, which I had been using until now (I wrote a review back in Nov 2012 – here’s the link). It’s not bulky and clear plastic like the old one; it’s lightweight, it’s not obtrusive, it looks and feels much stronger; the lock is better, and it’s faster/easier to attach. Big improvement over the old model, and it’s what I’ll be using from here on out.

Above: Here’s the bottom of the Retina MacBook Pro so you can see the full assembly attached to the top. By the way, these stunning review photos were taken with my iPhone, so be kind. LOL! ;-)

Above: Here’s a close-up of the lock attached to the security bracket. The bracket has little round rubber feet that cover Apple’s existing rubber feet. The whole thing is pretty unobtrusive, especially compared to the earlier model.

Overall Rating
If I actually had a five-star rating-system, with 5 being best, I would give it 4-1/2 stars, knocking off the half star because they don’t offer a combination lock option (only a key lock).

Price: $69.95 (though it appears to be on-sale for $59.95 right now)
Works on: 13″ and 15″ Retina MacBook Pros
Available from: MacLocks.com
Red stars with 2-pixel back stroke: Done in Photoshop

That’s it in 90-seconds. If you want more detail, see below.

————

OK, why do we even need a security bracket like this?
The Retina MacBook Pros are so thin Apple wound up having to leave off something that was a staple of most previous MacBook Pros: the specially designed security locking hole. You inserted the lock directly into the chassis of your laptop. That was sweet, but now they’re gone.

That left me leaving my MacBook Pro unlocked in an un-attended photography work room at stadiums where I was shooting games, until I came across the original MacLocks solution (in November of 2012), which which used a hard, clear plastic case that you screwed into the bottom of your MacBook Pro and it had a hard plastic nub with a hole sticking out the back corner where you could insert their custom lock and lock your computer down. It actually worked pretty well (and protected my laptop until now), but there were two issues on that old model:

(1) The plastic case was a bit bulky and added weight
It covered the entire bottom of the laptop, and that added to its thickness and weight (which stinks because one of the best features of the MacBook Pro was its light weight and thin size). It didn’t bother me at first, but as time went on, it became kind of a pain (and the plastic edge sometimes snagged the sides of my laptop bag. In fact, it finally cracked the clear plastic case on one side).

(2) The clear plastic case kind of looked like you could break it off without too much trouble.
I don’t think it would be easy, but just looking at at, it looked like it might be, and if someone actually did try, they would pretty much trash your laptop. So, even though they might not actually take your laptop, they could trash it to where you wouldn’t want it when they were done trying. It’s a win/lose proposition.

That why this new solution is so much better. You don’t even really notice it, so it doesn’t draw unwanted attention, and it doesn’t look like clear easily breakable plastic.

Hope you found this helpful. :)

Cheers,

-Scott

About The Author

Scott is the President of KelbyOne, an online educational community for Photographers, Photoshop and Lightroom users. He's editor and publisher of Photoshop User Magazine, Conference Technical Chair for the Photoshop World Conference & Expo, and the author of a string of bestselling Photoshop, Lightroom, and photography books.

29 Comments

  1. Did you look at the PNY locking system? It uses a clever way to insert a metal shim through the opening between the top and body and also uses a combination lock. Cost is about $30. http://www3.pny.com/Portable-MacBook-Locking-System-P3226C541.aspx

  2. You can always put a “tiny screwdriver” in your camera kit, and another in your car, just in case you lose the keys.

  3. If you don’t have a screwdriver, it’s also possible to defeat those keylocks with a piece of thin cardboard to make your own key. The combination locks really are much more secure.

    • Not accurate, the whole point with the Maclocks Wedge lock is it’s unique mechanism, it is actually cannot be opened due to its unique design, it is not spring-loaded so you can’t just put a cardboard expecting the lock to retract. Once in the slot the unique trapezoid design of the locking head is firmly locked.

  4. Thanks. Good solution!

    BTW, as a sports photo guy, you will appreciate this: http://thechive.com/2013/07/11/sports-caught-at-just-the-right-moment-39-photos/

  5. Do you suppose these will be on the expo floor at PSW? I’d like to “try it” before I buy it. I actually had my own solution for a locking system, but as usual never got around to getting it to market. While it would require closing the laptop, it would be Kensington compatible for all of us that already have that system. I’ll also check out Chip’s PNY idea. thanks

  6. Well I just purchased my new 13″ Macbook Pro with Retina Display and wanted to buy this Maclocks.com wedge lock . . . . HOWEVER, due to the fact I live in the state of Illinois where Democrats and Liberals have screwed over the taxpayer for decades and turned this fine Midwestern state into a dumpster fire of debt and corruption I CANNOT purchase the item.

    Maclocks notified me right as I was about to purchase the item that due to “legal issues” they cannot register the product to residents of Illinois. That means they cannot sell to Illinois residents.

    I really dislike this state more and more everyday.

  7. Your discussion of the lock for the MacBook Pro retina is interesting. I have also been looking for a lock. Two questions on this lock. It looks like the laptop would now be on an angle when you put it on a flat surface. Second, it also looks like it might not fit into some of the tight laptop cases. I would appreciate your comments on this.

    • Hi Dan:
      It does put it at a slight angle (its so slight, I’m not aware of it at all when working on it). I have a pretty tight laptop case and it fits no problem. It’s very thin and attaches as if its a part of the actual body, so that hasn’t been a problem either. Hope that helps.

      • Scott, what case are you using with the Maclock wedge? I was considering they’re ‘wedge security bundle’ but it seems that is a case + lock, where the lock actually just attaches to the case – and this one actually attaches to the body. You’re saying you can still use a separate case + this maclocks wedge lock?

  8. On possibility someone from Apple reads these comments there are other ways to secure a Macbook or like laptop using a Clicksafe or a Master keyed or combination padlock.

  9. Have you tried this solution?
    http://www.snakechicago.com

    I recently ordered this lock for my daughter’s MBA through Amazon before seeing your review. Would be interested in any comments and comparisons.

    One obvious down side of Snake is loss of ports when installed. Clearly it’s best suited to slap on only when you need to step away from laptop. The nice part is it can then be completely removed when not in use. Thoughts?

  10. I bought this wedge, but I don’t recommend it for two reasons. Firstly, unlike the classic Kensington-style lock, you don’t need the key to lock it. This is a problem waiting to happen… one day soon, I’ll be travelling abroad, and my Mac will be locked to a desk somewhere … my keys will be at home in my drawer

    Secondly, once this bracket lock gets popular, thieves will start carrying the mini-screwdriver and start looking for Mac’s locked with this device. I calculate it will take them 10 second to undo the 4 screws.

  11. I feel like the keylock instead of combination is a dealbreaker. BUT if you want to defend against crooks with screwdrivers, just paint the keylock with crazyglue.

  12. Can a Kensington lock be used in the slot of the MacLocks bracket?

    • Had the same question as well. In fact that was the first question that sprung to mind as I started reading the article. I have a Kensington lock that I want to use with this, but I don’t know if it’ll fit, and this review didn’t help me. :(

      • Okay, I know someone who bought one of these, and have found out that Kensington locks DO NOT work with this system. You have to use the funky included lock that comes with the bracket.

        Bummer, since I already have a nice combination Kensington lock.

  13. It works great until things get hot. I was in Vancouver on vacation and toted around my 15″ MacBook Pro retina. At some point I noticed that the rubber feet on the bottom of the MacLock device were no longer in the right spot! One was missing and the other one was in the middle of the bottom of the laptop! Not very good engineering by MacLock. The Apple feet stayed put as expected. Apple builds quality products. While the device is a good solution for locking a MBP, the quality of the glue holding the rubber feet on is well below par. Not impressed. I emailed them to see if they would take care of me, but they said they cannot help me. They didn’t even acknowledge the product defect and did not say they would address it in the future. Shame.

  14. I first bought this MacLOck for my college bound son’s laptop. Although the lock seemed flimsy, we kept it because there were no other lock options for the MacBook Pro with retina. Then my son lost one of the keys and I started trying to get a replacement key for him. MACLOCKs will NOT provide Replacement keys (even though the keys do have tracking numbers on them). After various phone calls to their answering service and a unanswered email, the Cust service rep offered me 50% off a replacement lock (not a replacement key). I gave up, started looking elsewhere and found the Snake lock! Works very well! Very easy to lock and unlock, yet strong and clearly doing the job it was intended for. The macLock key had to be jiggled and seemed flimsy.

    Because MacLocks won’t provide replacement keys (and terrible customer service!) I had to look elsewhere- im glad I did!

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