Reader George writes:

I am an admin at a small college and I am going to deploy some Mac Minis in an unattended lab. What is the best way people have found to tie the minis down so they don't get legs and walk off?

Well, George. I think we have the perfect solution for you. See that little notch on the top right side of the back of the Mac mini? Well that isn't just some random hole, it is actually the universal locking mechanism that is commonly used on laptops. There are a ton of devices out there to keep laptops and Mac minis alike secure. All you need to do is attach the device and wrap the durable cable around the desk to prevent the Mac mini from walking off. Hit the jump for some more safety-fying tips and a review of Kensington's MicroSaver Combination Notebook Lock that was recently released.

This image was lost some time after publication, but you can still view it here.

This is my first experience with a notebook lock and maybe I just don't have enough experience with these, because it took me a while to figure out how to set the combination, but that is my lone complaint about this device. It required a coin to twist an extremely difficult-to-turn notch to set the combination. After I got the combination down it was time for a true durability test.


The sharp object test was in favor of Kensington. Both scissors and a small knife were not able to cut through the metal cable. Unfortunately with a sharp enough of a weapon or enough time, any kind of metal cable will be able to be severed. The only durability conflict that may occur is breaking the lock out of the Mac mini. The plastic back paneling of the mini would break before these durable cables snap from forceful pulling.

Kensington also has this lock available with the key-locks rather than combination. It just depends on the preference of the user. For a lab environment such as the one George is putting together it would be a tossup. If more than one admin knows the combination, there could be security concerns and key locks may be the better way to go. But for individual uses, the combination lock should be sufficient. Kensington has a variety of locks available with prices beginning at $40 each, maybe less with a bulk purchase, George.

For other security concerns, George, we suggest tying together the cables coming out of the Mac mini to help prevent any kind of peripheral theft. Zip tie all of the cables together immediately coming out of the mini. Now this isn't a full-proof 100-percent theft prevention method, it will at least help and not allow someone to easily unplug the mouse or keyboard and take it for their own.

Hope we were able to help, George. And good luck with your new Mac mini lab.

Kensington Lock Product Page [Kensington]