Apple Researching 'Deployable Feet' to Enhance MacBook Pro Cooling

Apple is researching the use of "deployable feet" on the MacBook Pro to aid cooling, according to a newly-published patent application.

Apple new macbookpro wallpaper screen 11102020

The patent application, first spotted by Patently Apple, is titled "Deployable Feet for Display Articulation and Thermals Performance" and outlines how a MacBook Pro could feature feet that move to raise up the rear of the device. Apple's deployable feet are able to extend by at least 3.8 millimeters, thereby significantly increasing airflow underneath the machine.

The filing explains how, in one embodiment, the MacBook Pro's display hinge could be connected to the deployable feet, so that the feet deploy relative to the mechanical movement of the lid.

macbook pro deployable feet patent mechanical

In other embodiments, the feet could be deployed via a gear train, pneumatics, electro-mechanics, or simply flipped out manually by a user. The filing also suggests that the entire base of a MacBook Pro could expand, rather than individual feet.

macbook pro deployable feet patent raised base

The patent application explains that deployable feet can be an "efficient means of cooling the device" without taking up internal space with large components such as fans, ensuring that the MacBook remains "thin and lightweight while simultaneously including numerous features delivering high performance."

As the number and performance of internal components increases, so do thermal and other demands on the electronic device. Thus, there exists a demand for efficient usage of space within an electronic device, and efficient means of cooling the device. Accordingly, it can be desirable for an electronic device to include deployable features that can both increase clearance of the base portion and also improve the efficiency of the internal volume of the base portion, while maintaining a portable and sleek form factor.

In an embodiment where the deployable section is larger, the patent states that "the deployable feature can at least partially define a vent when deployed," potentially adding a dedicated vent as well as increasing natural airflow underneath the device.

macbook pro deployable feet patent wedge

In addition, Apple explains how the deployable feet tie into the Mac's software. When in a deployed position, the Mac's processor may be permitted to get hotter to deliver better performance, due to the increased airflow. In Macs that do feature a fan as well as deployable feet, the fan's speed would be "at least partially" determined based on the extent of the deployment.

The electronic device can include a sensor that detects at least one of a temperature or a processing speed of the electronic device, and provides the signal in response to the detection. The electronic device can further include a fan, wherein a speed of the fan is at least partially based on a state of the deployable feature.

The filing also addresses the potential waste of space within a MacBook that deployable feet could cause. It proposes that when in the deployed position, the internal space used to store the feet may be repurposed to be "usable by an antenna or a speaker."

macbook pro deployable feet patent empty space

The design has the added advantage of giving the display hinge more clearance to rotate, as well as improving the angle of the device for typing and raising the height of the display for greater comfort.

While Apple's patent applications cannot be taken as sure evidence of what the company is intending to add to its devices, there may be good reason to suggest that a feature such as deployable feet could be implemented on MacBooks at some point in the future.

Apple is demonstrably interested in passive cooling. The company has explored passively-cooled laptops starting with the 12-inch MacBook in 2015, and most recently with the latest MacBook Air, which features no fan or vents on its base for cooling. Moreover, as the internal components of MacBooks are becoming more compact with the advent of Apple silicon, alongside improved battery life, it is perhaps more likely that deployable feet could be justified within a future Mac laptop.

Apple is believed to be working on high-performance custom silicon processors for future MacBook Pro models. Unlike the M1 chip, which generally runs very cool and powers Apple's entry-level Macs, the next-generation Apple silicon expected to come to the MacBook Pro is likely to have much more demanding thermal requirements.

Deployable feet could be one way in which Apple is able to improve the thermals of its passively cooled MacBooks, as well as enable even higher-performance on its Pro machines with active cooling, at some time in the future.

Related Roundups: MacBook Pro 13", MacBook Pro 16"
Tag: patent

Top Rated Comments

xxray Avatar
2 weeks ago
This sounds like something designed for a MacBook with Intel processors, not the cool Apple Silicon chips.

Maybe Intel will work with Apple again! /s
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Maconplasma Avatar
2 weeks ago

LMFAO. THIS is their solution to improper thermals in their laptops? How about not making them so asininely thin they don't need a wind tunnel to cool them down for starters?
The M1’s don’t have a problem with Apple’s “asininely thin” notebooks. They remain very cool when pushing them very hard so your Apple trashing is displaced.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Naraxus Avatar
2 weeks ago
LMFAO. THIS is their solution to improper thermals in their laptops? How about not making them so asininely thin they don't need a wind tunnel to cool them down for starters?
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Cookie18 Avatar
2 weeks ago
That looks like the jankiest thing ever.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ejbrennan Avatar
2 weeks ago

I’m tired of having to say this in every post, but MacBooks aren’t specially thin, and definitely not “asininely thin”. And anyway, if the industry followed that thinking, we would never achieve paper-thin laptops (which I suppose all of us want in the long term).
I am not sure why paper-thin is even a goal, its certainly nothing I care about. My laptop is thin enough, and would prefer more (more power, more, memory, more storage, more gpu options) way before I would trade it for a couple of mm's less thickness.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Dwalls90 Avatar
2 weeks ago
Apple patents loads of things that never find their way into products. Maybe this will, but I'm thinking it won't.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

samsung experience 1

Samsung's 'iTest' Lets You Try a Galaxy Device on Your iPhone

Thursday April 8, 2021 12:42 pm PDT by
Samsung has launched "iTest," an interactive website experience that's designed to allow iPhone users to test out Android on a Galaxy device, or "sample the other side," as Samsung puts it. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. The iTest website is being advertised in New Zealand, according to a MacRumors reader who came across the feature. Visiting the iTest website on...
sonny 2021 ipad mini pro dummies

Leaked Dummy Units Show iPad Mini 6 With Thick Bezels and Home Button, New iPad Pro Models

Thursday April 8, 2021 2:11 am PDT by
Rumors suggest Apple will release refreshed versions of the iPad mini and iPad Pro models in the first half of this year, potentially as soon as this month, and a new leak today has provided us with a possible preview of what to expect in terms of the devices' overall design and camera prospects. Tech leaker and Apple blogger Sonny Dickson this morning shared images on Twitter showing dummy ...
iMessage Android featured

Apple's Rationale for Not Bringing iMessage to Android Revealed in Legal Documents

Friday April 9, 2021 2:22 am PDT by
It's no secret that Apple sees iMessage as a big enough selling point to keep the service exclusive to Apple devices, however new court filings submitted by Epic Games in its ongoing lawsuit with the company reveal just how Apple executives have rationalized their decision not to develop a version of iMessage for Android. Apple clearly recognizes the power that iMessage has to keep users...
fake airpods 3

Counterfeit 'AirPods 3' Hit the Market Prior to Official Announcement

Friday April 9, 2021 2:45 am PDT by
Apple is expected to launch the third iteration of AirPods in the third quarter of this year. Rumors and reports suggest the new AirPods will feature an updated design more in line with the AirPods Pro, but lacking in "Pro" features such as active noise cancellation. Despite AirPods 3 not yet being officially announced by Apple, counterfeit products of the unreleased earbuds have already hit ...
nba tracking prompt orange

Two-Thirds of iPhone Users Expected to Block Ad Tracking

Friday April 9, 2021 7:19 am PDT by
As many as 68 percent of iPhone users are expected to deny advertisers permission to track them thanks to Apple's App Tracking Transparency feature, in what is beginning to look like a significant blow to the advertising industry (via AdWeek). With the launch of iOS 14.5, apps will have to receive explicit user permission before accessing an iPhone's advertising identifier or IDFA, which is...
iPhone 13 Battery Life Feature

DigiTimes: iPhone 13 Pro Models to Feature 120Hz ProMotion Refresh Rate and 15-20% Less Power Consumption

Friday April 9, 2021 12:52 am PDT by
The two premium "Pro" models of the upcoming iPhone 13 lineup will be equipped with a low-power LTPO display, enabling the iPhones to have a 120Hz refresh rate, according to industry sources cited by Taiwanese publication DigiTimes. According to today's paywalled report, Apple suppliers Samsung and LG Display are in the process of converting parts of their production capacity to produce LTPO ...
ipad pro and macbook pro

iPad and MacBook Production Reportedly Delayed Due to Global Chip Shortage

Thursday April 8, 2021 2:31 am PDT by
Apple is facing a global shortage of certain components for some of its MacBook and iPad models, causing the Cupertino tech giant and its suppliers to postpone production of the products, according to a new report from Nikkei Asia. According to the report, MacBook production is being hindered due to the shortage of chips mounted onto the circuit board before final assembly, which is a key...
ehric

iPhone 12 Mini Missing From Top 5 Best Selling Smartphone List of January 2021

Friday April 9, 2021 4:58 am PDT by
According to market data compiled by Counterpoint Research, Apple's smallest iPhone since the 2016 iPhone SE, the iPhone 12 mini, struggled to obtain a spot in the top five list of best-selling smartphones in January of this year. According to the market data, the iPhone 12 mini came in eighth place for the best-selling smartphone worldwide in the first month of the year. However, the iPhone ...
tmobile 5g modem

T-Mobile Launches Unlimited 5G Home Internet for $60/Month

Wednesday April 7, 2021 2:18 pm PDT by
T-Mobile today hosted an Un-carrier event where the company announced the launch of a a new 5G home internet plan, which is priced at $60 per month and offers unlimited data. The service is available to more than 30 million Americans across much of the United States, including 10 million households in rural areas not typically able to access reliable broadband. Connectivity will be either 4G ...
apple find my network

Apple Announces Find My Network With Support for Third-Party Devices

Wednesday April 7, 2021 10:06 am PDT by
Apple today announced the launch of its Find My network accessory program, which is designed to allow third-party Bluetooth devices to be tracked in the Find My app right alongside your Apple devices. According to Apple, the first accessory companies to take advantage of the new Find My integration include Belkin, Chipolo, and VanMoof, with devices set to be available beginning next week. ...