New TSA rules will require airline travelers to remove Apple iPads, MacBooks from bags

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In the coming weeks and months, travelers will no longer be able to keep iPads or small MacBook models in their bag when passing through security screenings, and will instead have to place them in a separate bin to be X-rayed, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration announced on Wednesday.




The TSA says the new rules apply to "all electronics larger than a cell phone." Previously, Apple's ultra-thin iPad, as well as the MacBook Air and 12-inch MacBook, were given approval to stay in a bag when being scanned.

The administration pilot tested its new electronics policy at 10 airports, and says the trial run was successful. As a result, the rules will expand to all U.S. airports in the weeks to come.

The new security requirements are a result of what the TSA characterized as "an increased threat to aviation security."




As has been the standard practice with larger laptops for some time, iPads and smaller MacBooks will need to be removed from a carry-on bag and placed in a bit with nothing on top or below. This helps TSA scanners get a proper view of the insides of the laptop when passing through an X-ray machine.

TSA has also warned that passengers may experience more bag checks because of extensive testing.

"Whether you're flying to, from, or within the United States, TSA is committed to raising the baseline for aviation security by strengthening the overall security of our commercial aviation network to keep flying as a safe option for everyone," said TSA Acting Administrator Huban A. Gowadia.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 33
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 19,049member
    These strictures are so random, change all the time, and vary so much from airport to airport (even within the US) that I automatically take my iPad and computer out and put them in a tray, just to save time... even though I have TSA Pre-check!
    cornchip
  • Reply 2 of 33
    aplnubaplnub Posts: 2,584member
    I have only been allowed to keep my iPad or MB in my bag when I accidentally forgot to remove it and that was years ago. Over the past three years, they make it all come out and if you forget to remove it, heaven help you, it goes back through and you get the body search.
    potatoleeksoup
  • Reply 3 of 33
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,449member
    What about TSA Pre people?
  • Reply 5 of 33
    singularitysingularity Posts: 1,329member
    That's been standard for a while in Europe. Brussels, dusseldorf, Dresden and Heathrow have all asked that you do that to any electronic items to be put in a tray for x-ray examination.
    rotateleftbyte
  • Reply 6 of 33
    jd_in_sbjd_in_sb Posts: 1,483member
    Taking computer out has been required for years, in my experience. 
  • Reply 7 of 33
    anton zuykovanton zuykov Posts: 1,031member
    These strictures are so random, change all the time, and vary so much from airport to airport (even within the US) that I automatically take my iPad and computer out and put them in a tray, just to save time... even though I have TSA Pre-check!
    That is the whole point... You wanna make it less predictable and harder for terrorists to blow your airplane up by bypassing those security checks. And when that environment that you are trying to bypass, is constantly changing, that makes that task of finding a large enough security hole - extremely hard.
    Yes, yes, you do lose freedom AND time when this things are in place, but I would rather have that, than arriving in a black bag in pieces.


    mike1
  • Reply 8 of 33
    longpathlongpath Posts: 217member
    More security theatre in response to their dismal failure during detection testing.... Why am I not surprised?
    potatoleeksoup
  • Reply 9 of 33
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 19,049member
    These strictures are so random, change all the time, and vary so much from airport to airport (even within the US) that I automatically take my iPad and computer out and put them in a tray, just to save time... even though I have TSA Pre-check!
    That is the whole point... You wanna make it less predictable and harder for terrorists to blow your airplane up by bypassing those security checks. And when that environment that you are trying to bypass, is constantly changing, that makes that task of finding a large enough security hole - extremely hard.
    Yes, yes, you do lose freedom AND time when this things are in place, but I would rather have that, than arriving in a black bag in pieces.


    I had nothing as lofty as "not losing freedom" implied in my post. In fact, as I said, I preemptively take out my stuff to save time, even though I am TSA Pre-checked.

    As to making things "...less predictable and harder for terrorists..", c'mon. Most of the time it's responding to the last known threat, not necessarily the next new one. I agree with the folks who note that it's just a form of security theater. Some feel-good nonsense for the most part. I just find it to be a minor annoyance, but something that I've factored in during the process of travel.
    edited July 2017 longpathStrangeDays
  • Reply 10 of 33
    cpsro said:
    What about TSA Pre people?

    TSA Pre lets you keep your laptop in the bag, so presumably nothing changes there.  The new rule appears to be "tablets and small laptops are treated just like laptops" (which seems reasonable to me).
    mike1
  • Reply 11 of 33
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,496member
    I think AI's heading is hugely misleading as it is implying that iPads and MacBooks are being specifically targeted instead of just electronics in general that's "larger than a cell phone".

    So basically, nothing new to read here.  I travel out of SFO (San Francisco) often and TSA always has people pulling out laptops and tablets in general.  

    *yawn*
  • Reply 12 of 33
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,496member

    These strictures are so random, change all the time, and vary so much from airport to airport (even within the US) that I automatically take my iPad and computer out and put them in a tray, just to save time... even though I have TSA Pre-check!
    That is the whole point... You wanna make it less predictable and harder for terrorists to blow your airplane up by bypassing those security checks. And when that environment that you are trying to bypass, is constantly changing, that makes that task of finding a large enough security hole - extremely hard.
    Yes, yes, you do lose freedom AND time when this things are in place, but I would rather have that, than arriving in a black bag in pieces.


    I'm not sure that having to screen my iPad and/or MacBook separately constitutes as my "losing freedom".  I'm free to travel using other methods that don't require security screenings like my car, train, boat, etc.. If I choose to fly by plane, that's the price of admission.

    I agree with you though that it's a small price to pay to arrive at my destination whole and functional than in pieces at the bottom of the ocean. I'll pre-roll my eyes if anyone brings up the tired Benjamin Franklin quote as if it really applies here.
  • Reply 13 of 33
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    They just got rid of this in ’08. As long as it was the only thing in the bag/case, it could be left in there. I remember this because I took a flight on the day the regulation changed. Utter nonsense.
    longpathcornchip
  • Reply 14 of 33
    mike1mike1 Posts: 1,848member
    Depending on the day and the airport, it's either belts on or off too. Whatever. I'll have to take my iPad out now because they only let one device in the the TSA "checkpoint friendly" part of my computer bag.
    longpath
  • Reply 15 of 33
    Eric_WVGGEric_WVGG Posts: 541member
    jd_in_sb said:
    Taking computer out has been required for years, in my experience. 
    There was some sort of exception for iPads and Macbook Airs. I once asked a TSA agent about it, he replied that it's because they're so uniform that it's very easy for them to identify (unlike the many and inconsistently designed PCs). I think also the lack of a hard drive (novel at the time) had something to do with it. 
    potatoleeksoup
  • Reply 16 of 33
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 421member
    Eric_WVGG said:
    jd_in_sb said:
    Taking computer out has been required for years, in my experience. 
    There was some sort of exception for iPads and Macbook Airs. I once asked a TSA agent about it, he replied that it's because they're so uniform that it's very easy for them to identify (unlike the many and inconsistently designed PCs). I think also the lack of a hard drive (novel at the time) had something to do with it. 
    My iPad stayed in the backpack twice last week. No problems, same as always. Taking it out will be a new feature for me.
  • Reply 17 of 33
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 421member
    Of course, one could surmise that the change in procedures is itself actually the security measure.  If you are someone with nefarious intent, it's all about careful observation, practice and planning in order to exploit weaknesses in the system. Simply changing, from time to time, what goes where or how different things get screened could actually do more to thwart various schemes than the screening itself.
  • Reply 18 of 33
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 7,090member
    AppleZulu said:
    Of course, one could surmise that the change in procedures is itself actually the security measure.  If you are someone with nefarious intent, it's all about careful observation, practice and planning in order to exploit weaknesses in the system. Simply changing, from time to time, what goes where or how different things get screened could actually do more to thwart various schemes than the screening itself.
    No. Explosive-sniffing dogs and armed soldiers does more to thwart schemes than pretend security theater of the sort you're suggesting. See Israel. 
  • Reply 19 of 33
    anton zuykovanton zuykov Posts: 1,031member
    These strictures are so random, change all the time, and vary so much from airport to airport (even within the US) that I automatically take my iPad and computer out and put them in a tray, just to save time... even though I have TSA Pre-check!
    That is the whole point... You wanna make it less predictable and harder for terrorists to blow your airplane up by bypassing those security checks. And when that environment that you are trying to bypass, is constantly changing, that makes that task of finding a large enough security hole - extremely hard.
    Yes, yes, you do lose freedom AND time when this things are in place, but I would rather have that, than arriving in a black bag in pieces.


    Most of the time it's responding to the last known threat, not necessarily the next new one
    You always respond to known (including predicted and expected) threats. You do not respond to unknown unknowns, that is.
    Now, lets have a look at the e-device ban, that does not allow to carry laptops and tablets into the cabin. Why? No airplane was blown by those types of attack recently. But I bet some agency somewhere got information that such an attack is being planned, and responded with a ban, preemptively.
  • Reply 20 of 33
    drowdrow Posts: 121member
    enjoy the show, everyone.
    tallest skil
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