April 24, 2016

The basic idea with using a MacBook is the ultimate convenience of mobility - you don’t have work tied to your workstation. The uninhibited flexibility of working anywhere at a time of your choosing is something that you could get used to.

Of course, we don’t recommend all work and no play - that would indeed make you a dull boy! Neither we recommend you pull out your laptop when traveling in the underground - that’s rude. Don’t be that guy!

MacBook Air Safety

But there are times when you have to carry your work - which pretty much means carrying around your trusty MacBook around with you - it becomes a necessity.

At such times, it is easy to forget that your workhorse MacBook is a machine - although an extremely well-built one - that may get hurt and damaged in commuting. There are a bunch of good practices and tips that you can follow to keep your MacBook safe when commuting.

A bit of tender loving care in carrying your MacBook may go a long way in keeping away the pain that comes with losing your hard work - not to mention that you may save some money in servicing and replacing parts.

Let us looks at some of the tips for commuting safely with MacBook - or any other laptop for that matter:

Invest in Some Great Quality MacBook/Laptop Gear

A good quality laptop or MacBook carry bag is an absolute must if you want to carry around your device with convenience.

While some laptops or notebooks may come with a free bag - or your dealer may throw in one for you at a nominal cost - I have found that such bags usually don’t offer the best protection. It makes sense to invest in a good quality laptop bag.

Your choice of a carry bag will also depend on the way you commute. For example, if you travel to office on your bike, you may want to invest in a set of decent panniers.

Similarly, those using the public transport find the messenger bag styles and backpacks quite convenient - they leave your hands free to do other tasks - like holding the rails or using your iPhone.

Those who want to commute in style, however, may look for more premium options - like these premium leather Macbook briefcases from ullu. Indeed, ullu offers a range of handmade leather briefcases for MacBooks in all sizes - you can explore them here.

Power it Down

Powering down your laptop or MacBook before you shove it inside the carry bag is always a good practice.

While the issue of spinning hard disks and disk orientation may not be valid for the latest crop of notebooks that use the SSD, it may be an issue with the older versions.

However, the bigger and the more important issue is heating of the machine - which is aggravated when carrying it in a confined space - like inside a bag or a briefcase. Please remember that putting your notebook to sleep still generates some heat - it is not the same as powering off.

Keep an Eye on It

Laptop Theft Safety

Not even the best laptop carry bags and backpacks will work if you don't pay attention to your machine when carrying it around.

Snatching and running away is a common mode of laptop theft - so messenger style bags, backpacks, or briefcase with good quality shoulder straps are a good antidote to that.

There are also good quality ‘theft-proof’ backpacks available in the market that are specially designed to dissuade legerdemain experts that can clean a laptop from right inside your backpack.

And don’t for a minute assume that traveling in your own car while keeping your laptop bag on the passenger seat is any safer - your still need to exercise caution.


Display Your Contact Information

All laptop losses are not theft - sometimes you may forget it in a cab or leave it on the table in the restaurant that you were dining in.

Chances are, your notebook and bag may be noticed by a good samaritan, and they may want it to return to its rightful owner - that is you.

Make it easy for the good guys. Put a sticker on the machine, and one inside your bag at some visible place, and write your basic contact information on it - just your name and phone number should do. In fact, avoid writing your home and office address.

Another piece of information that you should have with you is the laptop serial number and model number. It makes it easy to report the theft, and claim it back in case the machine is eventually found.

Encrypt/Protect Your Data

Encrypting the data inside your machine is the second line of defence - and a very critical one at that. Even if a thief gets access to your machine - at least you have the consolation of keeping the data safe. The only thing worse than losing a laptop is losing a laptop WITH all the data on it - it doesn’t have to be that way if you have encrypted all your files and folders.

Most of the laptop thieves may not be very technically savvy, so even a good system password can frustrate them.

Another good idea would be keep as many files as possible in the cloud - it is easy, and it is cheap. That way you can resume from where you left - once you get back your laptop, or get a new one.

Buy Insurance

As inconvenient as it is to lose you notebook and the data on it - buying insurance can cover you from the financial loss. It also makes it easier to buy a new one.

Laptop Theft Insurance

You can buy such policies from the dealer, or you can buy them separately online. And yes, please remember that any extended warranty that you purchase with a new machine is NOT an insurance policy.

If your MacBook is office provided, your company may have a policy that provides for insurance - as your IT manage about it. In fact, it may be already provided as a standard operating procedure when handing out laptops to employees.

Don’t Carry Your Laptop

The number one reason for laptop loss or theft during commuting is, well, commuting with laptop!

If you are not carrying the laptop during commuting or traveling, that will keep you pretty safe from theft. If you totally need to work on something while commuting, use an older laptop or any other machine that you can afford to lose. Of course, you will need to work on a network or over the cloud.

If the only reason that you carry your laptop around is the data inside the machine, use storage devices - CDs, DVD, USB drives or portable drives.

Image Attribution: Image 2/CC-BY-NC-2.0, Image 3/CC-BY-NC-2.0

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