MacBook Pro M3 in black giving you fingerprint worries? Apple has apparently cracked this case

MacBook Pro 2023 in Space Black
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple just revealed new MacBook Pros, as it doubtless won’t have escaped your attention, and they arrived with a new color scheme – Space Black – with the Mac maker apparently having tackled a big problem pertaining to that finish.

As MacRumors points out in a new report, there have been multiple tech outlets saying that the danger of fingerprint smudges – a commonly complained about issue with dark finishes on Apple’s laptops – is seemingly a thing of the past (more or less).

Apple pointed out at launch that the black finish benefits from what it calls a “breakthrough chemistry that forms an anodization seal to greatly reduce fingerprints.”

And as our very own Lance Ulanoff, US editor-in-chief, commented: “I can report that, no matter how hard I tried, I could not leave my fingerprints on the finish.”

As MacRumors highlights, many others have come to the same conclusion, albeit with caveats in some cases.

MobileSyrup’s Patrick O’Rourke noted: “I have very greasy fingers and spent several minutes in the hands-on area trying to smudge the ‘Space Black’ color – I couldn’t.”

The Verge (Dan Seifert) observed that in 30 seconds of handling the Space Black MacBook Pro, there were “fewer fingerprints on it, but we’ll really have to see how it holds up in the real world.”

Jason Snell of Six Colors said the finish is “generally more resistant to fingerprints and other smudges,” but cautioned not to expect miracles.

MacBook Pro 16-inch M3

(Image credit: Apple)

Analysis: Back in black, but how black exactly?

Other observations from – admittedly rather limited – initial hands-on experiences with the new MacBook Pro broadly agree, so it does appear that Apple has cracked the case when it comes to reducing fingerprint marks.

However, a note of caution must be observed as outlined above, because we need to see hours (or days) of real-world testing to be sure of the anti-smudge capabilities on offer here.

It seems clear enough that there’s an improvement here, though, which is good news.

Smudging isn’t the only doubt hanging over the new Space Black color, though. Some are commenting on how it’s not quite black enough, perhaps – and more of a dark gray, though that may depend on lighting to some extent (and your perception will also factor in here, which is subjective by nature, of course). In short, don’t expect some deep or tar-like rich black color.

The other point of worry we’ve seen aired is around past concerns that darker finishes on Apple laptops bring in the potential for chips and scratches in the finish to show up more obviously (if they happen when plugging devices in ports, for example, and missing slightly, catching edges).

Time will tell – it’s obviously too early to dive deeply into speculative territory with the new finish. Note that you can’t get Space Black on a base M3 model of the MacBook Pro, only with those that use the faster M3 Pro and Max chips.

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Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).