Mysterious MacBook coins might have simple explanation

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Some MacBook users have reported finding coins when taking apart their machines.
Some MacBook users have reported finding coins when taking apart their machines.
Photo: Greg Kilpatrick/YouTube

You love your MacBook Pro and think it can do just about anything, even make change.

That is literally true for some MacBook users, who have been reporting on tech forums of the odd placement of a random quarter or penny in their machine’s SuperDrive, discovered when the bottom plate was removed.

The likely explanation comes from the stowing of a MacBook in a backpack or messenger bag with loose change that, from the jostling of the daily carry, migrates to the SuperDrive through the slot on the right side of the keyboard.

However, public tech forums and even some tech writers, reporting with tongue in cheek, are having fun discussing the various two-bit conspiracy theories, ranging from Witchcraft to a cheap solution to prevent the drive from warping from heat.

Reports of mystery MacBook money go back as far as 2010.

Some commenters to a recent Gizmodo story or a MacBook Pro forum hosted by MacRumors wondered if Chinese factory workers were occasionally slipping in random coins during assembly, though a follow-up thread quickly questioned where they would get American or Canadian coins.

Some are skeptical that a penny or quarter would wind up in the exact same place, below the optical drive encased in plastic that seems sealed on all ends.

Commenting on the Gizmodo piece, PracticalBatman saw how coins could get behind the sealed plastic

“When the drive grabs a disk, that hub depressed downward,” he wrote. “IF a coin falls inside the optical drive slot while the hub is depressed (disk installed), it can slide through the round hole that the hub retracts into when there is no disk installed.”

That makes sense, or “makes cents,” according to biglittlemike, providing one of the many puns to accompany the discussions.

“MacBooks are the new penny loafers,” read another comment.

Jonas, who claims to be a former Apple Store Genius Bar worker, said he and his fellow technicians often found random items inside MacBooks and “90 (percent) of the time, it was the result of kids shoving things in the Optical Drive. We’d find coins, paperclips, SD cards, you name it. If it was slim enough to fit the slot, we’d find it in there.”

Kyle Wiens, the founder of iFixit, which provides parts and tools to repair professionals, told Cult of Mac, he concurs with the former Genius Bar tech.

But even with the mystery solved, the conspiracy theories and the snark they attract, are fun to read.

Akinetopsia said the coins are a new feature from Apple. To fully appreciate his comment, imagine it being read to you by commercial voice artist or even the modulated British accent of Apple design chief Jony Ive:

“We, here at Apple like to call the feature Thunder Coin. Out elite engineers worked with dedication for years, finally overturning the rule of physics itself with this simple, yet elegant solution: Thunder Coin allows for great dissipation of heat within the motherboard, brings better WiFi reception by isolating against external radio interference, stabilizes the overall flow of electrons when subjected to vibrations and increases your Hipster Personal Brand awareness and recognition. Built from the highest quality mind and materials, our locally minted MacBook Pro is a marvel of engineering, worthy of your status and lifestyle.”

Below are two YouTube videos, including one from 2011 from a user finding a quarter while upgrading the memory on his MacBook Pro. The video has been viewed more than 100,000 times. The other comes from British news channel showing various pictures of coins stuck in MacBooks.

Source: Gizmodo and iDROPNEWS

  • Jaca Paladium

    It’s a conspiracy involving US government, Apple and Illuminatis.

  • NoNonsense74

    could be class action lawsuit money back??

  • Peter Moore

    if you have kids then you’ll find things in DVD players, VHS video players (if you still have one) etc etc….
    Nothing unusual really.

  • charlene.sturgis

    Read through following report to understand how an individual mother was able to acquire $89,844/year in her spare time on her computer or laptop without selling anything>>> FL-Y.COM/3m17

  • fran_lfc

    well if you paid $200… that’s your change for the $199,99 retail price.

  • shayneo

    I still remember back in the days of the 5 1/4 inch drives, my uncle being somewhat impressed that his todler daughter had managed to stuff an entire sandwich into the drive. How she managed to fit it in there remains a mystery, but once we pulled that drive apart, pretty much every square inch of that drive was smushed with sandwich. His daughter told him the computer was hungry.

    edit: Oh, and my father still hasnt entirely forgiven me for feeding his brand new, ridiculously expensive, HP-35 scientific calculator to the fish tank , somewhere in the mid 1970s. Apparently I claimed I wanted to teach the fish maths.