Peculiar sensor on new 16-inch MacBook Pro elicits much speculation

Apple recently released its latest MacBook Pro, this time a 16-inch version of the popular laptop. It not only boasts a larger screen, but it also went back to the trusted scissor switch keyboard instead of the rather unpopular butterfly keyboard introduced in recent years.

There are also louder speakers and an improved microphone. The biggest surprise though is probably the lid angle sensor.

Most people might never have known about this had MacRumors not discovered a reference to such a sensor in a service document that Apple sent to its Authorised Service Providers network. The website subsequently informed iFixit about the sensor.

They investigated and discovered a small sensor inside the MacBook Pro. They also picked up that the hinge of the computer has a magnet inside it, with an arrow that shows its polarity.

Unfortunately, this is the only concrete information about the lid angle sensor that we currently have – the rest is speculation.

If one should make an informed guess based on available data, it would appear likely that the sensor is there to track the precise angle of the lid in some way.

iFixit has another theory about its purpose: it helps to keep track of how many times the screen has been adjusted.

This could be to assist Apple when having to diagnose possible ‘Flexgate’ type backlight problems that might show up on these laptops in future.

With Apple remaining silent about the purpose of the sensor, it’s difficult to be sure why exactly it was introduced.

While studying the service document, MacRumors found instructions that both the lid angle sensor and the laptop’s display must be calibrated before any repair job can be regarded as complete. This seems to indicate that Apple wants to ensure that the sensor is always handled correctly.

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