Apple patents MacBook with deployable feet for cooling

Macbook Feet
Macbook Feet (Image credit: iMore / USPTO)

What you need to know

  • Apple has patented a Macbook with a brand new feature.
  • A new patent reveals legs that could be used to improve cooling.

A new Apple patent has revealed how a future MacBook might use legs to improve cooling.

Noted by Patently Apple the patent is titled 'Deployable feet for display articulation and thermals performance' and states:

An electronic device can include a base portion, a display portion rotatably mounted to the base portion, and a deployable feature. The deployable feature can be deployed from a surface of the base portion by an actuation component coupled to the deployable feature. The deployable feature can support the electronic device, increase clearance above a support surface for one or more portions of the electronic device, and/or allow additional functionality for the electronic device.

The patent notes how on a support surface, most electronic devices don't get sufficient clearance and can often get warm as a result. The new Apple patent features several different scenarios in which feet could be used to improve the cooling of a device without the need to change up the computer's internal.

Not only that, the patent reveals how this could all be done automatically, drawing on readings from your MacBook's software to determine whether the fans in the device have reached a certain speed, or the components a certain temperature before deploying the feet.

For instance, a fan can operate at full power when the deployable feature 305 is in a deployed state, allowing for maximum ventilation. In some examples, the position of the deployable feature 305 can depend on the speed of the fan, or vice versa. For instance, as the fan speed increases, indicating an increased need for cooling, the deployable feature 305 can extend to allow increased airflow to enter the vent 311 and the internal volume. In some examples, the deployable feature 305 can extend in response to a temperature of the electronic device 300. For instance, a threshold temperature, above which it may not be desirable to continuously operate the electronic device 300, can be determined. Thus, if the temperature of the electronic device 300 is approaching or has exceeded the predetermined threshold temperature, a determined by system sensors, the deployable feature 305 can be deployed to lower the operating temperature of the electronic device 300.

Many third-party accessory makers offer solutions for laptop cooling that use stands and extra fans, this patent reveals Apple might one day cut out the middle man and just include them in the design.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9