M2 MacBook Air ‘scratchgate’ could be the next controversy to hit Apple

Apple MacBook Air (M2, 2022) on a white desk in a studio
(Image credit: Future)

Update: Don't look now – well, actually, do look – because our US Editor in Chief has just tweeted some pics of a rather prominent mark on the chassis of a silver MacBook Air. Is it possible that concerns around scuffing could extend beyond the midnight finish? We'll be keeping a close eye on how this develops, for sure.

Original story follows below...

The M2 MacBook Air has a fresh issue, following concerns about its cooling system, with complaints now being aired regarding one particular color of Apple’s new laptop.

This pertains to the midnight paint job which it seems is more prone to showing up fingerprints and, far more worryingly, scratches.

As flagged up by 9to5Mac and a number of YouTubers including Marques BrownleeZone of Tech and iCaveDave, the midnight finish is purportedly easily scratched.

Scratches are being observed mainly on the edges of USB-C ports and around the perimeter of the trackpad, the latter being 9to5Mac’s own finding, and it’s a touch more of a worrying looking scrape (see the image below).

What’s going on here? This is basically a hazard of having an aluminum chassis, and something that has been observed previously with MacBooks. However, with a silver or grey MacBook – the most common color schemes used and plumped for – such nicks and scuffs don’t really show up noticeably.

The problem comes because the all-new midnight color is obviously very dark paint, and so a scratch that exposes the silver of the aluminum beneath is such a contrast, it’s far more visible.

MacBook Air M2 midnight scratch on trackpad

(Image credit: 9to5Mac)

Analysis: Paint it anything but black?

Perhaps this is the reason why MacBooks have traditionally stuck to silver and grey or similar color schemes in general. Whatever the case in that regard, having opted to offer a midnight color with the M2 MacBook Air, you’d assume Apple would’ve thoroughly tested any such scratch-related issues, and ensured the finish on top of the aluminum was up to a good standard for wear-and-tear.

True enough, the photographic and video evidence of the scratching supplied online indicates relatively minor flaws, particularly for the ports (less so for the trackpad, maybe). But the problem is, this is after having the shiny new MacBook Air for a very short period of time indeed. What might the cumulative effect of all these little scuffs be after months, or indeed years? We simply don’t know.

While the Air does benefit from a MagSafe port, which should be less troublesome, scratch-wise, than the USB-C ports for the not-so-steady-handed out there, even it could suffer from some chipping longer-term. Moreover, YouTuber iCaveDave anticipates possible problems with the indent in front of the trackpad, where you lift the lid to open the laptop, which has some sharp points at either end – and these might be subject to wearing that shows the aluminum underneath.

Right now, this remains more a case of feedback from reviewers rather than owners, and we shall have to see how the situation develops; but by the sound of things, we’re expecting to hear more about this given that there are a number of YouTubers discussing this already. Some commenters on 9to5Mac have already flagged up issues, including one person who claims their midnight MacBook Air came ‘pre-scratched’ with a chip at the top-right of the keyboard.

If you’re concerned by this, you could always get a sleeve for your M2 MacBook Air – not that any are out there just yet, and of course this won’t help when it comes to plugging and unplugging things from ports, or opening the lid, and so forth.

Via Tom’s Guide

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).