Hate the MacBook Pro notch? At least it won’t block your mouse cursor.

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MacBook Pro notch won’t hinder mouse cursor movement
Good news: the MacBook Pro notch doesn’t hinder cursor movement.
Photo: Apple

The recently announced MacBook Pro models are the first with a screen notch. This raised questions about how the cursor handles the cutout. Will the cursor get stuck on the notch? Or will it pass through? Or automatically flow around?

Wonder no more: We have an official answer from Apple.

MacBook Pro cursor acts like the notch isn’t there

Linda Dong, a design evangelist at Apple, answered the question. “The cursor moves underneath,” she said in a Twitter post.

She followed up with a clarification that the cursor doesn’t pass below the notch, but behind it.

This means it will be possible to put the cursor virtually behind the screen notch where it can‘t be seen. That said, the standard method for finding the cursor is moving the mouse/trackpad, which will make the cursor appear from behind the notch.

The MacBook notch won’t be ubiquitous

A highlight of the macOS UI is applications running in a variety of windows that can be positioned wherever the user wants. This means that users of a 2021 MacBook Pro will have a lot of control over whether the applications they’re using have to go under the screen notch.

Apps in full-screen mode do have to deal with it. Apple’s FaceTime shows the two options for developers. One is to include the notch in the layout (at left). The other is to leave a blank strip across the top of the screen with the notch in the middle of it (at right).

FaceTime on 2021 MacBook Pro
Full-screen macOS apps can flow around the MacBook Pro notch (at left) or avoid it completely (at right).
Photo: Apple

Apple’s macOS Human Interface Guidelines tell developers, “On some Macs, the camera housing occupies an area at the top-center of the screen. Using the system’s full-screen support automatically accounts for this area; if you use a custom full-screen experience, you need to account for this area as you position your content.“

Not a whim

Although it’s generated a certain amount of criticism, Apple didn’t add a screen cutout to the new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models because it loves the iPhone notch so much. Actually, both the handset and the notebook versions are there for the same reason. They allow Apple to reduce the devices’ screen bezels while still leaving room for a front-facing camera. On the 2021 MacBooks, the top bezel is 60% thinner.

Apple also upgraded the new laptops’ camera. It packs a 1080p resolution with a new four-elements lens and f/4.0 aperture. It’s intended to improve video conferencing.